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.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Gradually Greener

Often people view green design as an all-or-nothing scenario, but I routinely make incremental improvements in sustainability at little or no additional cost in all of my design projects.  For instance, a prestigious medical school asked me to make the floor that houses the offices of admissions and other critical student services comfortable and welcoming while ensuring that it was durable and flexible enough to periodically  accommodate very large groups.  I was able to incorporate a number of sustainable features into the design for the lobby and hallways at no additional cost.

The furniture is Greenguard Certified, which means that it has passed rigorous tests for indoor air quality.  The wood is  FSC Certified, which means that it meets the Forest Stewardship Council's standards for ensuring the preservation of precious natural resources.

The carpet tiles are from Interface, a leader in sustainable manufacturing that provides a model for "Doing well by doing good." The company's closed-loop process uses less water and energy than standard production.  I opted for a glueless installation, which improves indoor air quality and facilitates future replacement of tiles. Because this is a very high-traffic area I chose a purposely random pattern so that any new tiles can seamlessly blend with old ones. 

One of the major changes to my design practice as I became increasingly focused on the potential health impacts of certain materials has been to avoid using vinyl whenever possible. Suitably durable wallcovering alternatives are more expensive, so I only installed them on two relatively short walls where they would make the most impact (visually and for maintenance) and specified low-VOC paint everywhere else.

The client chose not to undertake lighting redesign at this point, but all of the fixtures were replaced with more efficient ones.

Below is a "Before" photograph of the same area.