Interiors with a green purpose

Thoughtful homes

Interiors with a green purpose

Going green is the mantra with most of what we do these days. We could possibly add our interiors to the list as well now, writes Ruth Dsouza Prabhu.

The concept of going green in all that we do has long since gone from being a trend that one should keep up with to something that a majority of people take seriously today.

While green architecture has been debated about and been in practice for a while now, the concept of green interiors as such is relatively new. “Rather than calling it green interiors, I would call it sustainable design or environmentally sustainable design,” says Gita Ramanan, CEO and Principal Architect of a city-based design firm. She explains that sustainable design is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles of social, economic, and ecological sustainability.

Why do you need to go green?

The question on the need to go green definitely arises. After all, we have been living in, and working out of buildings and structures for a long time now. Why would we need to change the way we have been doing things all this time? Here is a look at a few reasons:

Quality of indoor air: Whether we are at work or at home or are running an errand, we tend to spend a significant portion of our time indoors — close to 89% in most cases.
The remaining time is often divided between being outdoors or inside a vehicle. That goes to say that we are in an indoor environment for a long period of time. There is enough evidence to show that indoor air is often more highly polluted that outdoor air.
Allergy triggers: Many times, certain materials used in construction tend to give out toxins or slowly deteriorate, thus emitting toxins. This leads to those unexplained colds, coughs and snivels which we are never able to get rid of.

Economic benefits: One of the key requirements of sustainable interiors is to conserve energy in all the activities related to managing an interior space. Doing so will enhance the indoor air quality while improving your finances significantly as well.

Reduction of carbon footprints: The damage you are causing to your external environment will be significantly reduced with attention to green interiors.

Speaking traditionally, Gita says that in a sense going green is all about the impact of what we do and the products we use. Green interior design goes a step further and involves a learning of indoor air quality, water management, lighting efficiencies and alternative energy sources, each of which become a priority when planning green interior design.

How can you go green?

Going the DIY way is one of the ways in which you may try to go green with your interior design. “With the current global scenario — reduce, reuse and recycle are the three golden words we must all abide to as citizens of the world and DIY is the best way to achieve the same,” says Vijay Pandey, Vice President of a leading power tools company in India. He explains that in our day-to-day life there are various items that we can re-create through DIY projects and reuse. For example, wood from old furniture can be reused to create a new customised piece.

Green materials can be sourced locally and even items that have been lying around in your home can be used. Recycling of plastic material, wood, window frames, glass and brick is a great way that helps you not only save money and enables in creating DIY projects but also helps reduce your carbon footprint.

The ideas in the DIY space for decorating one’s home in a green manner are:

* Creating a leaning display shelf out of an old ladder.

* Getting a kitchen garden with a raised herb garden planter using the power tool kit.

* Mini cushion cut-outs in different shapes for the couch using a range of hobby tools.

* Animal candleholders for the table or photo frames for decorating the walls with a Dremel engraver.

Gita also adds that professional interior designers will assist clients in exploring the many ways of reducing an environmental impact by impacting an eco-friendly design and new interior construction or remodel. Some of those ways are:

* The use of sustainable products which would reduce carbon footprint and are energy efficient. For example, using organic, non-volatile paints and materials and high-quality, eco-friendly furniture.

* Maximising the use of natural daylight and fresh air by enhancing natural light in the entire space and designing to maximise the indoor air quality.

* Utilising design to reduce the environmental impact by using less energy and cutting running costs.

Going green with your interior design is a mix of using environment-friendly products, sustainable design and organic materials. If done the right way, it works to create a beautiful space that touches both the aesthetic as well as sustainable aspects of design, giving you a home that will be the envy of all.

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