Melissa Dubroc, ASID, Registered Interior Designer
Green Design Basics
“WHAT IS GREEN OR ECO-FRIENDLY INTERIOR DESIGN?”
Green or eco-friendly interior design focuses on improving indoor air quality, as well as reducing the impact that furniture purchases have on the environment.
“HOW DOES IT AFFECT ME?”
The Environment Protection Agency estimates that most Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, where the concentration of some pollutants are often two to five times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. Since so much of our time is spent indoors, it’s crucial that close attention is paid to the products that we bring into our home.
Are you interested in making your home more healthy for your family and the environment? Green building design focuses on 4 key components: Energy, Water, Indoor Air Quality and Materials. Even if you aren’t remodeling or undergoing construction, here are 5 easy green improvements you can do today!
- Use CFL Bulbs in Utility Areas. You can dramatically reduce your energy usage by simply replacing the incandescent bulbs in your hallways, laundry rooms, and garages with CFL bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs typically consume 65% – 75% less electricity than regular light bulbs, and they last up to 10 times longer.
- Use Non-Toxic Cleaning Products. Buy cleaning products that are biodegradable, phosphate and chlorine free, and derive their ingredients from plants (renewable resources) rather than petrochemicals like crude oil or natural gas (which are not renewable). There are a number of green cleaning lines, including companies such as Seventh Generation, Simple Green and Method. Always check the labels to ensure the ingredients are listed.
- Buy Recycled Paper Products and Unbleached Coffee Filters. Standard white coffee filters require a bleaching process that unnecessarily pollutes the environment. Opt for brown, unbleached filters and purchase paper products that have recycled content.
- Improve Ventilation: Open a Window! The Big 3’s for indoor air quality are: Elimination, Ventilation and Filtration. Elimination: Reduce the number of products that off-gas into your living space: paints & finishes, carpets and adhesives, engineered wood products and cleaners. Ventilation: Open a window! This will reduce the impact of high concentrations of unhealthy gases.
- Conserve Water. You can save water by simply paying attention to your habits and modifying them to use less. Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth, use your dishwasher and clothes only for full loads, install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators. If you are in the market for new appliances, make sure to purchase EnergyStar and WaterSense rated models.