Making it Easier to be Green
Green design includes energy conservation, but that's not what it's all about. It's about having good air quality both indoors and outdoors, making the environments in which we work, live, study and play healthier and more comfortable and conserving all of our natural resources.
This site will provide a balanced, holistic view that includes advice about saving energy, water and other natural resources, improving indoor air quality, using environmentally responsible design and construction techniques and minimizing waste.

I will be focusing on interiors for three reasons:

  • We spend about 90% of our time indoors.
  • Buildings in the United States annually consume about 30% of our total energy and 75% of our electricity.
  • As a New York State Certified Interior Designer and a LEED Accredited Professional, I want to share my knowledge and expertise with you.
Sustainable design and construction can be done in many different styles and using a wide variety of materials. There are examples of healthy, sustainable, comfortable and inviting interiors for commercial, not-for-profit and residential clients on the web site for Interior Design Solutions.
You can use the labels on the sidebar to locate entries that you want to read. For instance, most people might want to look at the entries for "Green Homes," but "Green Finance" would be of more interest to professionals involved in the design, construction, management, financing and marketing of buildings.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Green Interior Design --- It's Nothing New

As one of relatively few interior designers who is also a LEED Accredited Professional, I regularly receive calls and emails from vendors claiming that their furniture is "green." Unfortunately, these claims are often only partially true, especially when it comes to home furnishings. For instance, a chest of drawers that is made of bamboo can contain added urea formaldehyde and glues and finishes that are relatively high in VOCs. While I am able to evaluate these claims, most people buying furniture (and, for that matter, most interior decorators) are not.

One of the best ways to "go green" with interior design is often overlooked. Design that stands the test of time eliminates the need to replace things, and even if the original owner's circumstances or desires change, classic furniture can always find another good home.

Antiques are particularly "green." since everything in them is being reused and they are very unlikely to off-gas harmful chemicals (glues, finishes, etc. only give off VOCs for a certain period of time, and even when antiques are refinished, the materials used are normally less toxic than the finishes in much new furniture). In the room above the bed and washstand are almost 200 years old, an old candlestick has been made into a lamp, and an antique silver creamer serves as a vase.

Although "organic" and "green" are not necessarily synonymous, natural materials often do have fewer harmful additives than artificial ones. The Wilton carpet in the room above is 100% wool, and while it might not be appropriate for someone with chemical sensitivities (since the fiber is dyed and probably moth-proofed), it is healthier for indoor air quality than synthetic carpet. The hand-embroidered sheets and pillow cases are made from very fine cotton, and with proper care could last for generations.

Furnishing our homes as prior generations did, with lovely things that can last more than one lifetime, can actually be more sustainable behavior than buying anything that claims to be "the latest and greatest in green design."


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