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The Interior Design Reference & Specification Book by Mimi Love, Chris Grimley, Linda O'Shea

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THE INTERIOR DESIGN REFERENCE + SPECIFICATION BOOK
Chapter 19: Sustainability Guidelines
Sustainable design is a holistic approach that combines the thoughtful selection
of renewable and recycled materials and energy-conserving building systems and
appliances with design choices that result in the healthiest possible environment
for the occupants. Not only does such an approach allow the designer to reduce
environmental impacts, it can also lower operating costs and create interiors that
foster higher productivity and overall well-being.
Given the myriad issues that fall under the green agenda, benchmarking systems
and checklists are often used to identify potential strategies and to track them
during the design process. The most popular benchmarking system in the United
States is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), developed by the
U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprot organization dedicated to the promotion of
sustainable building. The LEED point system is organized into ve content catego-
ries, four of which are of particular relevance to interior designers: water efciency,
energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.
RESOURCE CONSERVATION
One way that sustainable design is mindful of the environment is by designing and furnishing
buildings to reduce water and energy consumption. Low-ow toilets and low-pressure shower
heads can be specied to reduce water demand. Tankless water heaters that instantly supply
hot water eliminate the need to store heated water or to run the water until the desired tempera-
ture is achieved.
Electric demand can be reduced with the use of dimmers, occupancy sensors, and uorescent
and low-voltage lighting. Lights in small spaces like closets and pantries should turn off auto-
matically when the door is closed. Electric loads can be further minimized if the lighting is zoned
and designed to be task-specic; for instance, lighting the surface over a kitchen work counter
is more efcient than illuminating the entire room. In addition, designers should always specify
Energy Star–rated appliances or those with equivalent high performance standards.
INDOOR ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Indoor air quality can be greatly improved by reducing or
(VOCs), the toxic chemi
a process known as off-gassing. The biggest offenders are formaldehyde-based products.
Common sources of VOCs include paint, adhesives, sealants, solvents, urethane (used as a
wood oor nish), particleboard (used for furniture and cabinets), and carpet. Many of these
products come in low-VOC versions, or designers can s
increasingly wide range of companies. Houseplants, too, can help mitigate the effect of VOCs
in the environment: A single spider plant or philodendron will absorb VOCs within a
(1 520
than reduce the need for articial lighting. Well-lit spaces with a combination of diffuse and
direct natural light have been shown to improve the health and productivity of their occupants.
Other strategies that can contribute to indoor environmental quality include monitoring carbon
dioxide, increasing ventilation, and providing thermal comfort.
RENEWABLE, RECYCLED, AND RECLAIMED PRODUCTS
A green design agenda must also consider the use of renewable, recycled, and reclaimed re-
sources.
been certied by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as neither endangered nor genetically
modied nor originating from tree farms that have replaced forest land. Recycled materials
can be found in numerous products on the market today that use
uct that has been used and is recycled for resuse in another consumer product) as part of the
manufacturing process, from recycled plastic carpets and carpet backings to crushed-glass
or cement-based solid surfacing.
and recycling the waste products—from household use, manufacturing, agriculture, and busi-
ness—and thereby reducing their burden on the environment. (Of course, designers should
also promote recycling by providing ample, convenient space for recycling bins in the home or
WATER ENERGY MATERIALS INDOOR AIR QUALIT Y
Text
PRACTICAL IDEAS FOR REDUCING ENERGY CONSUMPTION
Use multilamp or electronic uorescent ballasts whenever possible.
Separate switches to allow exibility of articial light during daylight and nondaylight hours.
Include dimmers in rooms greater than
Incorporate occupancy sensors so that lights turn off automatically when a room is not occupied.
Incorporate daylight sensors with spaces that have skylights or clerestories.
Reduce overall room illumination while concentrating on task lighting.
Limit the use of incandescent and halogen lights to where good color rendering is essential.
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