In this era where climate change is one of our greatest threats, members of the design community can play a part in promoting sustainable interior and garden design, to reduce energy consumption, pollution and waste and to focus on the future of the planet by selecting products and materials which minimise a negative impact on our environment.
How can we reduce a negative impact on the environment with sustainable design?
Interior designers and architects are recommending energy from renewable sources and helping to reduce heat loss in the home by installing energy-efficient doors and windows, interlined curtains and blinds and promoting low-energy light sources.
Carpets with natural felt or eco-engineered plastic underlay provide thermal and sound insulation with reduction of up to 10% heat loss in rooms.
How can we avoid toxic materials in the home to protect our health?
Search out paints which emit low VOC (volatile organic compounds) or air pollutants.
If you are specifying wallpapers, use non-toxic wallpaper adhesives.
Natural plaster wall finishes, Venetian polished plaster, is made from fired limestone and water (lime plaster). This surface is antibacterial and fire-resistant and also provides additional insulation for walls.
Plants are natural air filters which are decorative additions to every room in the home.
Expose your home to natural light and fresh air throughout the seasons.
How can we shop sustainably?
Specify wood flooring and furniture made from timbers with an FSC label (Forest Stewardship Council) from sustainable sources, such as bamboo.
Natural stone, porcelain or ceramic tile, terrazzo, poured concrete and leather floor tiles are all sustainable choices for floor and wall finishes.
Invest in fabrics made from renewable materials for soft furnishings and window treatments; include those made from green plant fibres, natural organic cotton and linen, silk, wool, cashmere and alpaca.
Take a creative approach to interior design exemplified by Retrouvius, a company that provided the inspiration for innovative recycling, repurposing and upcycling products since 1993, promoting a ‘make do and mend’ ethos in interior design.
When shopping, think quality over quantity. Buy furnishings that are easy to clean and maintain, durable and classic in design – think long-term investment rather than short term trend. Introduce antiques and vintage design to contemporary schemes.
Consider the process of manufacturing involved in every item you buy from beginning to end. Hypnos Beds won the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development. Mattresses and beds are recyclable and made in 100% biodegradable, anti-allergenic natural products. Hypnos worked with Red Tractor’s assured farms to source completely traceable and certified British wool and the Better Cotton Initiative, which traces cotton supply and works to support sustainable sourcing of cotton. All Hypnos bed bases are made in FSC timbers.
The journey to sustainable interior and garden design begins with awareness; where and how items are sourced; the individual elements that become the finished product; the longevity of each item you select, denying a throw-away culture – a creative consciousness about how decorating your home has an impact on the future of the environment.