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.

Incandescent Lighting - Finally there are fluorescent downlights available with enough foot candles to do the job, so we use very little incandescent lighting now.

Separate Switching - 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 plywood.

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.

Gypsum Board - 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 in popularity.

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.

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Ambrose Design Group, Inc., 99 Pratt Street, Hartford, CT 06103
Tel.- (860)727-8031   Fax.- (860)527-6444
Last Updated 1/2/99