Sustainability in interior design is not just making a space beautiful, but along with the aesthetics taking care of occupant’s well-being and health and being sensitive to the environment and its resources.
With technologies constantly being developed to compliment green practices, the benefits of a green building vary from environmental to economic to social aspects such as, being eco-friendly; reduction in wastage of water, conservation of natural resources, improved air and water quality and thus protecting biodiversity and ecosystems.
Improving indoor air quality which is mainly the activity of reducing indoor pollutants, improves the thermal comfort and quality of interior lighting.
Sustainability is the need of the hour and means acting now for the future. One can make their home sustainable by making few tweaks in designing their house and even built house. Thus, special care has to be taken while choosing the materials which are eco-friendly. The material world that surrounds us – the signs that direct us, the smartphone pages we flick through, the way we use buildings– is consciously or unconsciously designed. Sometimes this has been done well, but frequently not, even though how things are designed can have significant implications for sustainability. These materials directly or indirectly have a huge impact on the environment.
Material selection has a high impact on the sustainable outcome of interior environment. So, while selecting materials, the most important criterion is to select materials according to its feature of function. It is very important to use the materials according to its needs and maximum potential and aiming towards long term use of it to avoid waste of resources. Another important criterion while selecting materials to consider their embodied energy (i.e., energy used in production/ manufacturing of a material) and its recycling potential. Materials such as concrete, steel and the plastics acquire the maximum embodied energy compared to the natural materials such as stone and timber which has gradually less embodied energy. Moreover, the emission of toxic gases while production and use of material as well is an essential criterion to be considered in achieving sustainability.
Finally, materials being an important interior design element, should meet the requirement of sustainability in the potential of long term use, recycling, and less emission of toxic gases.
Selection of sustainable furnishing also plays an important role in creating sustainable interior environment. Wood as the material for furnishings is commonly and widely used material which is also recyclable. But alongside wood many synthetic materials are also used which acquire large amount of embodied energy. To reduce this energy consumption, many furniture producing companies have started making use of waste materials which are still in usable condition. This is called up cycling of materials which largely contributes to sustainable environment.
Another important element in creating sustainable interior environment is lighting. Creating maximum use of natural light reduces the energy consumption of a building and thus being economically sustainable as well. Natural day lighting has also been scientifically proven in improving physical psychological health of humans.
Having known that interiors are the most intimate environment that human needs and created according to them, the need of creating a sustainable environment should be first met in interiors which help in creating awareness towards sustainability and working towards it.