Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior

Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE

Today’s a lazy afternoon, you are sitting at home just binge-watching an eye-opening documentary on National Geographic channel about the crimes of humanity against the environment and wildlife. Dressed in your cozy pajamas while munching on some popcorn, the narrator proceeds to describe how climate change has ruined the planet’s ecosystem and continues to plunder the habitat of innocent animals. The heart-wrenching clip of a malnourished Polar bear struggling to balance himself on the melting sea ice in the Artic region touches your heart and moves you. As a fellow living organism, you reckon that it is plausible for a harmonious co-habitation as long as we value that one great thing that binds us all together – nature. Glancing back on your TV screen, the next documentary entitled “Live Responsibly: How Sustainable Design is Earth’s Creative Savior” gives you an idea.

 

THE LIFE-CHANGING CONCEPT OF SUSTAINABLE INTERIOR DESIGN

Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE

Deducing that climate change is real and it gradually affects not only planet Earth but also deteriorates the health of those living on it, you aspire to be an instrument to counter its repercussions even if it means refurbishing your place into a greener and a more sustainable design. This interior trend is more than just installing a bunch of plants in your place, sustainability aims to cure ecological balance in nature and hence, it tackles a multi-faceted concept from environmental, social, political, economic, cultural, to spiritual dimensions.

Researchers infer that "there is a multidimensional interaction between people and the interior environment. The user defines the environment, the environment defines the user."

Humans, who are susceptible and always in search of comfort, seek for a long term habitat that not only sustains their necessities but also provides them the assurance that their social responsibilities to society and the environment are met. For interior designers this dream habitation of humans is more than a wish but an obligation. For Ayalp (2013), designers must bear in mind that sustainable design is a multidimensional approach which must cater to human needs and the quality of human life.

Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF A SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE
“Sustainable development is first and foremost about ensuring that everybody-both in poor and rich countries, and today as well as in future generations- can have their basic needs meet. This must be obtained without jeopardizing the natural systems on which life on the earth is dependent (Ness, 2001)."

To put it simply, the goal of sustainable design buildings is to promote the health of the establishment’s occupants and alleviate the negative effects on the environment by optimizing the potential of the location. All these are considered to enhance indoor environmental quality such as air quality, lighting, thermal conditions and ergonomics for the well-being of the residents.

GREEN VS SUSTAINABLE

Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE - image courtesy of Chris Barbalis
Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
SUSTAINABLE INTERIOR DESIGN - image courtesy of Arch Daily

To put it simply, the goal of sustainable design buildings is to promote the health of the establishment’s occupants and alleviate the negative effects on the environment by optimizing the potential of the location. All these are considered to enhance indoor environmental quality such as air quality, lighting, thermal conditions and ergonomics for the well-being of the residents.

SOCIAL, CULTURAL AND PHYSICAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DESIGN

Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
SUSTAINABLE OFFICE DESIGN - image courtesy Abrams Book

SOCIAL

In a Social sense, sustainable development must consider the social relations, norms, and restrictions of humans and the environment so that there would be balance and harmony in society. Designers must be able to determine the definition of “need” in the practice of Sustainable design.

"The design of an interior space can lead to a social interaction or it can prevent the way people are socialized; the organization of design elements can determine the standards of the living condition."

Hence, it is the social responsibility of an interior designer to have an honest and faithful definition of this “need” in respect to one’s social status regardless of poverty or riches. An establishment constructed according to the qualifications of a sustainable design must stabilize the standard of living, privileges and equal opportunity of the entire community.

Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
SUSTAINABLE MALL DESIGN - image courtesy of Arch Daily
INTERIOR DESIGN CAN BE HEALING, HERE'S ONE:

This Sustainable Starbucks in Taiwan does not only serve good coffee but a therapeutic ambiance as well.

CULTURAL 

With regards to the Cultural aspect of sustainable design, interior space is viewed as an environment which reflects the living habit of a society and contains the identity of a specific culture. Culture, generally defined as a way which people live their lives be it by acting, relating, behaving and believing, plays a major role in creating a home that is sustainable and adaptable.

"If the space doesn’t reflect their cultural identity, in most cases people feel apart from that environment."

Thus, it is the designer’s obligation to assure that the cultural identity of an interior environment is present so that the cultural values of the establishment’s occupants are sustained within the space. The two way correlation between interior and its user must be in a healthy condition.

Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
SUSTAINABLE HOUSE DESIGN - image courtesy of Edan Cohen

PHYSICAL

On the one hand, the Physical features of sustainable design simply pertains to the elements used in designing interiors such as the materials, furnishings and lighting. Each and every physical feature of this design is rooted from the specific lifestyle, norm and values as patterned on the cultural and social factors of its occupants. Designers must put an emphasis on the relationship of the individual with these materials – what designs can harm or benefit them.

"Stieg (2006) defines sustainable interior design as the concept in which all systems and materials are designed with an emphasis on integration into a whole for the purpose of minimizing negative impacts on the environment and occupants and maximizing positive impacts on environmental, economic and social systems over the life cycle of a building."
Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
SUSTAINABLE MODERN STYLE BEDROOM - image courtesy of Briburn

WHY RENOVATING YOUR PLACE INTO A SUSTAINABLE DESIGN IS A WISE DECISION

• Environment friendly & Waste reduction
• Cost efficient
• Energy efficient
• Functionality
• Accessibility
• Aesthetics

Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
SUSTAINABLE INTERIOR DESIGN - image courtesy of LYCS

The main principle of Sustainable design is its environmental assistance; the overall construction of the establishment is patterned in accordance to the reduction of energy, carbon footprint and harmful emission of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) in the planet as well as maximizing the use of natural resources with high recycling potential and durability like high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

The prevention of these ecological dangers during the building’s formation also yields financial rewards to the owners and operators. Moreover, due to the fact that the operating cost is typically lower for sustainable design, electricity, water, and even maintenance expenses are considered and optimized. Studies have proven that occupants of sustainable buildings have experienced better health owing to the design’s hassle-free and healing forces.

Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
TAIWAN STARBUCKS SUSTAINABLE DESIGN - image courtesy of Starbucks

Apart from the greenery aesthetics that sustainable design offers, this interior trend has been adapted by huge names in various industries for its functionality and cost-effectiveness. Starbucks has recently released a statement regarding their “Greener Stores Framework” geared towards opening up 10,000 eco-friendly Starbucks stores by 2025 as well as refurbishing their existing ones based on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program, the most widely used green building rating system in the world. This practical decision alone would save this American coffeehouse an astounding incremental $50 million in utilities over the next 10 years

"We know that designing and building green stores is not only responsible, it is cost effective as well. The energy and passion of our green apron partners has inspired us to find ways to operate a greener store that will generate even greater cost savings while reducing impact.” - Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of Starbucks
Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
IKEA STORE - image courtesy of IKEA

Swedish-founded furniture company, IKEA, has long announced its allegiance in sustainable design with their “People and Planet Positive” project back in 2014. This famous home accessories corporation believes that sustainability should not be a luxury where people have to choose between design, function, quality, low price or sustainability rather, they want to enable their customers to not just fulfill their needs at home but as well as their dream home.

"Sustainability for IKEA means meeting the needs of people and society, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs – acting in the long-term interests of the many people and not just the few. It is about living within the limits of the planet and protecting the environment."

IKEA’s People and Planet Positive program is centered on promoting an inclusive, fair and healthy society by respecting their workers’ rights, optimizing resources and channeling waste into resources. Be it a huge institution such as Apple, Tesla, Unilever and Samsung or a small organization like TerraCarbon, BroomWagon or Eco Lips, sustainable design has proven its potency in terms of aesthetics, ecology and profitability whichever industry there is.

HOW TO TRANSFORM YOUR INTERIOR INTO A SUSTAINABLE DESIGN

• Optimize building location
• Prioritize eco-friendly materials
• Display recyclable and durable furnishings
• Maximize daylight techniques

Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
SUSTAINABLE INTERIOR DESIGN - image courtesy of Paul de Ruiter

Sustainability is not a complex interior concept to grasp but it is also not as simple as placing natural materials and greenery grass all over your place; it systematically ensures that not just the health of the environment but also of the occupants are taken into account in each and every arrangement or installation of home decoration. Maximizing the use of space or optimizing the building’s location is one of its key features – a building situated in a windy area can set up windmills to generate power. Energy-wise and recyclable construction and design materials such as stone, timber and bamboo are usually preferred for their faint embodied energy. An essential criterion of sustainable design is the level of emission of toxic gasses both during the period when the materials are being produced and used.

Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
SUSTAINABLE DESIGN FURNISHING - image courtesy of Inhabitat

Furnishings under sustainable design are measured by their recycling potential in achieving sustainability rather than their long term usage. Durability of a furniture is calculated by the number of people and the duration of use. Revamping vintage furniture by giving them a new look can reduce waste and cut costs. The essence of sustainable design is innovation such as the one created by the design and engineering department of Cambridge University where they devised a table with a light fixture that generates its energy from the plant that comes with it. Anything that is non-toxic and non-polluting, from reusable furnishings to organic and chemical-free paint defines sustainability.

Better Houses for Better Living: Sustainable Design for your Interior
SUSTAINABLE ROOM USING DAYLIGHT - image courtesy of River Architects

Lighting also plays a huge role in sustainable design buildings since 40-50% of the building’s energy consumption is credited from the use of artificial lighting like LEDs, halogens and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Maximum use of day lighting techniques are exploited as alternative to electric illumination which saves energy and lasts longer. Daylight contributes to the resource, economical and human sustainability that affects not only the physical but also the psychological well-being of the interior ambiance.

Sustainable design should be more than just about making someone feel good for doing the right thing. It does not only revolve around leaving a positive impact to the environment or to society but mainly it heals its occupants by bringing them closer to nature and filtering certain negative forces.

Got any sustainable design home decor ideas? Tokyo Grand Renovation (TGR) is eager to help you discuss your interior design cravings. Conveniently located in the leading business district in Metro Manila, TGR’s headquarters is at VGP Center, Ayala Avenue, Makati City. 

For inquiries, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 832 16 76, or send an e-mail at  info@tgr.com.ph.

TGRはマカティの高級リノベーション、インテリアデザイン会社です。コンドミニアムや住宅、店舗やオフィスなどの改装や新装のデザインと施工をワンストップで提供しています。電話 832 1676 または eメールでinfo@tgr.com.ph までお気軽にお問い合わせください。

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