Green Movement Continues Growing

Green Movement Continues Growing

While green measures are commonplace when it comes to building new structures, they are often overlooked when it comes to designing interiors.

Builders, renovators and homeowners are insisting more and more these days on implementing green measures, from energy efficiency to choosing sustainable materials to using eco-friendly practices, while building.

While such measures are commonplace when it comes to building new structures, they are often overlooked when it comes to designing interiors.

Sustainable interiors are critical when it comes to improving air quality – and thus the health of building inhabitants – and keeping buildings green.

“It incorporates socially and environmentally responsible material choice, energy efficiency, improved indoor air quality, efficient use of water and design elements supportive to efficient, healthy and eco-friendly practices,” said Healthy Interiors’ Melissa Wittig.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other like-minded organizations are working toward improving green interior design practices for the benefit of both the environment and people, having deemed air pollution within buildings to be “one of the top five environmental threats to public health.”

Toxic chemicals in an indoor environment can cause respiratory conditions such as asthma and well as headaches, eye and skin irritations and other ailments. Given that most people spend the majority of their time indoors, there is obviously a great need to address indoor air quality.

Employers who have made their building green and taken steps to reduce air pollution, leading to a marked decrease in sick days taken and overall staff absenteeism.

green office interior

Homeowners, on the other hand, have far less in the way of incentive. Few people have experience or education required to fully understand the benefits of improved air quality.

Keys to ensuring interiors are green include:

  • Installing low or preferably no VOC cabinetry, flooring and soft furnishings,
  • Using low or no VOC paints, glues and finishes,
  • Installing good fresh air ventilation and efficient exhaust fans,
  • Using natural, non-toxic, pest control,
  • Using non-toxic cleaning products.

Sustainable products should be independently certified, with buyers encouraged to ask for more information to find out the exact benefits they offer. People looking to build or renovate should note that ‘greenwash’ remains prevalent and just because something has been marketed as being green, does not mean that will necessarily be the case. Finding green, sustainable products can be easy, but doing the research to ensure they are, in fact, green can make for long and onerous work.

Though green interiors may not be front of mind for many, including interior design alongside other green building considerations is a key step in ensuring health and well-being and a book to sustainability in the built environment.

By Kelly McGregor
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