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Green Interior Design and Sustainable Interior Design: key principles


Green Interior Design and Sustainable Interior Design: key principles

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When it comes to green interior design, making socially responsible, environmentally friendly modifications to our lives can have a substantial impact on our environment, however  making these choices can also be a lot of work! This is why people often tend to look to experts with comprehensive training and access to all the latest information. An interior designer can help their customer create interiors that reduce the impact of space on the environment whilst taking better care of their wellbeing, and cutting their energy consumption and carbon footprint.

What is green interior design?

There are three fundamental principles to “green” interior design: energy efficiency, resource conservation, and health. When designing or remodeling  any interior, optimising its energy efficiency reduces pollution and saves resources for its entire lifetime. While maximizing energy efficiency is sometimes more expensive initially, in the long term, reducing energy consumption saves money and pays for itself.

Designing with resource conservation in mind requires the mindful use of limited resources. Designing interiors with a long, adaptable lifetime, or with eventual reuse in mind also conserves resources in the long term by reducing the need for remodels, or reducing waste in future remodels. Additionally, green interior design protects the health of users by designing for well-being  and the prevention of indoor air pollution. “Green” interior design is forward-thinking, enhancing the lives of people  today and in the future, while protecting the environment for years to come.

Is Green the same as Sustainable?

The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they both have slightly different connotations. In The Green Studio Handbook, Alison G Kwok and Walter Grondzik state their preference for green, whose definition is established through its use in rating systems such as LEED (the most widely used green building rating system in the world) whose UK equivalent is BREEAM The guidelines for these rating systems are rigorous and tell us exactly what qualifies as “green” and what does not, giving us a practical working definition to follow. As environmentally conscious practices become mainstream, what is considered “green” changes.

It is harder to determine whether or not something meets the definition of sustainable, as it is more of an aspirational mindset than a technical standard. The World Congress of Architects’ definition of sustainability is: “meeting or satisfying the needs of the current generation without diminishing or compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” As this definition is based on ideals rather than practical considerations for what is considered possible today, it remains constant over time. Something truly sustainable today will continue to be considered sustainable in the future.

A couple of examples of sustainable interior design.

Avoiding the use of organic compounds. Respiratory health is very important, and volatile organic compounds can be of serious concern when it comes to carpets and paints. A designer who seeks to create a more sustainable interior should try to avoid these compounds by making sure the products and materials they use are no or low VOC to preserve the air quality of the space they create.

The life cycle of materials should always be considered. Ideally, a product is environmentally responsible from cradle (harvest or manufacture) to cradle (eventual recycling and reuse), but the life cycle of materials is very complex. A product may be energy efficient and long-lasting, but impossible to recycle or repurpose at the end of its life. A product may also be easily repurposed, but its harvesting or manufacturing process might involve some environmental degradation. Several third-party certifications analyse the life-cycle assessment of products. These include Cradle to Cradle, Environmentally Preferable Product, Environmental Product Declaration and SMaRT Certified.

To work in the field of interior design with a specific focus on sustainability, it is important to seek an education that can equip you to work in this field, and stay up to date with its many changes.

Interior Design at Istituto Marangoni.

At Istituto Marangoni, our design course provides a creative and complex mix of the latest trends, industry developments, accurate project management, functionality, and contemporary aesthetics. Depending on their chosen level of study, students work on projects that span residential, commercial or leisure sites, working on the design, or renovation, of the space in question. As well as coordinating furnishings, fixings, lighting and colour, participants are shown how to skilfully mix atmosphere, culture, and a creative vision, and consider new global issues in design wellbeing, the user experience, and sustainability. Client expectations and the study of brand identity add to the creative design mix, assisting in the creation of an emotional response through space. Pathways offer additional study options to further specialise in Interior Design.

We also offer a series of short courses, such as Interior Design, Product design and Digital graphic design, the details of which can be found by clicking on the above link "short courses".

Elena Davsar is a successful graduate of Istituto Marangoni, and currently works as an interior designer in Milan, where she founded the design firm Davsar-Design, in 2010. Davsar designs high-quality interiors, with a focus on innovation and developing professional relations between Italy and Russia. She has developed her own method of optimising the design of environments to make sure they align with the desires of the client, and that method is registered under the trade name lifecoachdesign®.

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