If you follow design trends, then you have most certainly heard the term “Green Design”. Green Design (also called sustainable design) is the art of designing physical objects and the built environment to comply with the principles of economic, social, and ecological sustainability. It’s about making good choices when it comes to protecting our world and preserving its resources by using sustainable or easily renewable materials like bamboo flooring, instead of depleting resources like granite that would take hundreds of thousands of years to replace.
Many consumers have heard about what it can do to help their health as well as the environment, others just think it’s a neat concept, but may not know if it can be implemented in their homes. Although a new home built to be “Green” using LEED certification guidelines will give the best results for indoor air quality and energy use savings, it does not mean you should give up on Green design for your interior dÃ©cor in an existing home.
For those consumers that are looking to build Green homes, look for an architect who specializes in LEED certified buildings and Green residences. One such architect is Santa Monica, CA based David Hertz, founder of the Studio of Environmental Architecture. Here is one of my favorite designs of his, Lehrer:
This gorgeous 7,500 square foot home absolutely defies the idea that sustainable design sacrifices a buildings aesthetic. A stair and elevator passage create an open shaft used as a solar chimney to exhaust and recover heat which collects at the high ceilings of the living room and master bedroom. It also uses solar energy to power the home, heat the pool, and provide radiant heating.
Another project I like to show is of a commercial building, the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center in Georgia, designed by Lord, Aeck, and Sargent. It shows an example that the above picture does not; it shows a building that took a piece of nature and incorporated it into the design.
The ravine you see running beneath the crosswalk was once dry, but by bringing in non-potable water from a nearby treatment facility, it became an integral part of the air conditioning system as well as a gorgeous water feature. By using an existing dry ravine, they eliminated the need to dredge one out and got an excellent source of water to use for the AC system, irrigation, and for a water supply for flushing toilets.
Now for some interior pictures that are all focused on green design:
A classic traditional dining room that uses furnishings that were allowed to off-gas before being brought into the home, as well as environmentally friendly paints, draperies, etc…
This sweet as can be nursery provides a healthy haven for an infant by using non-VOC (violent organic compound) paint, which is horrible for a baby’s lungs. This nursery and the above dining room were designed by interior designer Bernadette Upton of EcoDecor. Bernadette is an expert in green design and eco-friendly interiors and is on the board of the American Lung Association of Southeast Florida.
If you have an existing home and the 2 pictures above look good to you, then you’re in luck! They are part of a remodeling project on a 1920′s home. So incorporating Green design is definitely possible in an existing space.
I like to show that green design spans all types of design styles, so here is a shot of a contemporary room for those of you who like to keep things clean and simple, try this contemporary design by John Lum.
Part of an urban Idea House project in San Francisco’s Mission district, the home and interior space is designed to adhere to LEED principals. If this is more your style than Bernadette Upton’s traditional interiors, have no fear, the same principles still apply. A remodel can definitely be designed with the same modern styling.
If you want to start a little smaller than a remodel, or give you and your kids a fun task that can save you money while providing some quality time, try this project out:
The WaterWall project was created by the brilliant Michelle Kaufmann, an architect in Northern California. If you would like a full instructional copy of this project, click here to go to her site: Michelle Kaufman.
Interior designers are trained professionals who are responsible for educating their clients about design, and as the world progresses, so must our industry. If your interior designer does not mention Green design, ask about it. If the designer does not provide those services, ask about getting some consultation from a designer who is LEED certified, an understanding professional should welcome the chance to advance their knowledge on this upcoming trend.