As the importance of sustainable practices becomes more clear, “green” or eco friendly interior design has become more popular and critical than ever before. Many people are finally looking into what it means to welcome green living into their homes and every day lives. Over-use of practical building materials and deforestation have had devastating effects on our natural resources and prospective future. Currently, conventional building methods account for 72% of consumed electricity, 39% of overall energy use, 38% of all CO2 emissions, and 40% of all raw material use according to the Green Building Council.
It is so important to address how we can contribute to a cleaner environment in every aspect of our lives, be that in the way we eat, recycle our trash, or decorate our homes. Thanks to organizations like the Green Building Council and their creation of LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, action is being taken to ensure that not only residential but commercial design become more environmentally conscious.
Eco friendly interior design is all about creating a home or work environment that saves energy and resources, creates less waste, and supports better human health. Using recyclable, non toxic, and reusable materials make this practice possible. The end product is a purified, healthy space that is stylish as well as energy and cost efficient. Even better, demand for sustainable building materials are driving cost down and increasing availability!
Sustainable Materials & Furnishings
When it comes to the interior of a home, selecting non toxic, organic, sustainably sourced materials is what matters. Paints and furniture can contain chemical compounds and toxins that are detrimental to our health. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in paint include dangerous carcinogens. Make sure you’re purchasing paint that is VOC free and furniture that is reclaimed or made with responsibly sourced wood. Organic linen, cotton, and other natural fabrics are stylish and earth friendly. Flooring such as bamboo, jute, or recycled timber are better choices than carpet or expensive hardwoods. Investing in Energy Star standard appliances and water heaters guarantees that they have met EPA standards for efficiency and quality.
Small Things Count!
Now, if you can’t necessarily replace your flooring or repaint your walls right away (understandable!), there are some simple ways you can make your home more eco friendly and energy efficient. Probably the most simple and fun way to naturally purify the air in your home and reduce toxins is to add a few plants to each room! Aloe Vera, Peace Lily, certain types of Ivy, Snake Plants, and many more types of greenery are great natural air filters and can improve air quality.
Purchasing curtains or drapes for your windows can drastically improve energy efficiency in your home or office, and there are even thermal liners you can add to your existing curtains to improve insulation. They’re also a stylish way to soften and add character to a room!
One of the most drastic and easy ways to improve the sustainability of your home is to switch out your light bulbs! Trade those old, incandescent bulbs for LEDs when possible, which contain no mercury and use the least energy. LEDs also produce a softer lighting, creating a more peaceful atmosphere. They can also last for up to six years! Because they contain copper and zinc, it is important to recycle these bulbs. CFL bulbs are also a sustainable option.
Trying your best to use recyclable and durable home products and furnishings may seem like a small contribution, but you are helping so much by reducing the amount of waste created by everyday living!
As we move forward, it is critical that we care for the earth and begin to apply sustainable practices to all aspects of life. Conventional building and interior design methods are contributing to deforestation and overuse of our precious resources. However, creating gorgeous, earth friendly interiors is gaining momentum and preference. Consider making some small (or large!) changes to your home today to improve your quality of life and help the planet!