No, it doesn't mean that we only use the
color green in our interior design projects. There is a
new meaning for "green".
When used as an adjective before words
like interiors or architecture, "green" means
that environmentally-responsible or sustainable materials
and design practices are being used.
It was a long time coming. Ecological concerns
are nothing new. But we couldn't do much about it in our
design work until now. Particularly interiors.
Now finally there are enough environmentally-sensitive
products and materials available to make it possible to
really do green interiors. We have reached critical mass.
There is a lot we can do, and we don't have to sacrifice
quality or increase costs.
There are 3 considerations for green interiors:
1. USING MATERIALS AND PRODUCTS
THAT CONSERVE ENERGY, including reducing the
use of water, electricity, heating, and air conditioning.
- Finally there are fluorescent downlights available with
enough foot candles to do the job, so we use very little
incandescent lighting now.
- We put light fixtures near windows on a separate switch,
so they can be switched off on bright days.
Plumbing - We
are using low-flow toilets and water-conserving faucets
& shower heads.
2. USING MATERIALS OR PRODUCTS
THAT DO NOT GIVE OFF HARMFUL EMISSIONS, in
particular avoiding use of volatile organic compounds (VOC's)
and urea-formaldehyde adhesives. There is a big side benefit
here - new construction doesn't have a strong smell.
Vinyl - We are
trying to avoid the use of vinyl tile, vinyl base, sheet
vinyl flooring, and vinyl wallcovering (they are all loaded
with VOC's). Instead, we are using vinyl composition tile,
rubber base, linoleum flooring, and polyolefin wallcovering.
Adhesives - We
are using Roberts Earthbond or Chapco Safe-Set adhesives
for carpeting and resilient flooring (no VOC's). We are
using solvent-free Roman Adhesives for wallcoverings.
Wood - We are
using Medite II Formaldehyde-Free Fiberboard in lieu of
Paints - We try
to use Benjamin Moore Pristine non-VOC paints were possible,
but the color selection is limited. There will be better
color selections available in the near future.
3. USING RECYCLED MATERIALS
OR MATERIALS THAT CAN BE RECYCLED, to reduce
pressure on land fills and air pollution from incinerators.
- We are using Louisiana-Pacific Fiberbond Gypsum Board
for heavy duty conditions.
Carpeting - We
are using Image or Talisman Mills cut-pile carpets where
a high-quality, solid-color cut pile carpeting is needed
(made from old soda bottles). We are using Chris Craft Excel
pad instead of hair & jute; We are using Fairmont Dubl-Bac
pad for double-stick installations. Carpet tile can be recycled
and/or refurbished and reused.
Wood - We are
using fiberboard instead of plywood. We are using Santana
HPDE solid plastic instead of plastic laminate for shelves
and toilet partitions.
Furniture - Recycling
open office systems furniture is a big business now, and
electrostatic painting of metal furniture is increasing
We thought there might be some resistance
to our green interiors efforts, but we were surprised. Clients
and building owners are very enthusiastic. We are all glad
that the time for green interiors has finally come.