Gone are the days when living green meant dwelling in a geodesic dome-house in the woods somewhere with a sofa and love seat made out of tree stumps. Today, living green doesn’t look much different than traditional interior design—even if the environment can tell the difference. Even luxury high rise buildings and urban co-op and condo owners have upgraded their living spaces with greener materials and products.
“The green movement has made everyone aware of how important it is to make responsible design decisions,” says Kati Curtis, ASID, CID, LEED AP ID&C, and the principal of Nirmada Interior Design, based in New York City. “Apartment owners are educated consumers, and they have begun to understand how remodeling decisions can affect their family’s health and well being.”
Not Just Skin-Deep
According to Neil Chambers, LEED-AP, founder/CEO of Chambers Design in New York, gone also are the days when luxury homeowners thought that the finished look was the most important part of the design. Now, he says, homeowners recognize that while aesthetics are obviously important, the most important elements of interior design go even further.
“Today, people want to make sure they are not getting toxic paints and other products that will off-gas into their living areas for the next five years,” he says. “This translates into a more focused value on indoor air quality and livability, as well as a new attention to healthier lifestyle for owners and their families. Neighbors won't suffer from headaches from that ‘new paint smell,’ which are actually toxic volatile organic compounds off-gassing into the building. Plus, if you use materials that use less energy, you are reducing the building’s carbon footprint.”
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) says that green design encompasses many elements of the home, such as lighting, appliances, flooring, upholstery, fixtures, furniture, wall coverings or paint, and more. By choosing green, you can save on energy costs, make your home healthier and create a more environmentally-friendly home.