How To Incorporate Sustainable Materials Into Your Interior Design

You want to care for the environment in everything you do.
But what does that look like in your home?

For many, choosing sustainable materials to incorporate into their interior design is a seamless way to care for the environment without sacrificing quality or taste. However, it can be incredibly challenging to know where to start or determine what the best sustainable materials are to use in the first place.

 

 

In this article, we’re reviewing a few of our best tips for incorporating sustainable materials into your interior design – so you can create a beautiful, breathtaking space and be kind to mother earth at the same time.

What Are Sustainable Materials In A Home?

First, let’s start by understanding exactly what “sustainable materials” are in your home. 

 

Sustainable materials are materials that are produced, used, and disposed of in a manner that minimizes negative impacts on the environment and human health. This might look like a table made out of reclaimed wood, or an energy system that is highly efficient. 

 

In a nutshell – these are materials that are good for the environment (vs. just another plywood coffee table that’s bound to fall apart and needs to be thrown away within the first few years).

Our Best Tips For Incorporating Sustainable Materials In Your Home

  • Be sure to check for eco- and certifications. Certain furniture carries an eco-label or certification indicating that it is made from sustainable materials or follows environmentally friendly practices. Examples include FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification for wood products, GREENGUARD for low chemical emissions, and Cradle to Cradle for products designed with environmental responsibility in mind.

 

  • Next, examine the materials. You’re going to want to look for things like FSC-certified wood, reclaimed wood, bamboo, cork, rattan, recycled metal, or recycled plastic. These materials have a lower environmental impact compared to non-renewable resources like virgin plastic or non-certified wood.

 

  • Use sustainable textiles. If the furniture includes upholstery or cushioning, look for sustainable textiles such as organic cotton, linen, hemp, recycled polyester, or Tencel. These materials are produced with fewer chemicals and have a smaller environmental impact compared to conventional textiles. Here are some sustainable performance fabrics to consider: 

 

  • Consider recycled polyester. It’s made from post-consumer plastic waste, such as PET bottles. It is a durable and versatile material that can be used for performance fabrics, offering benefits like moisture-wicking, water resistance, and UV protection. Recycled polyester has a lower environmental impact compared to virgin polyester due to reduced energy and water usage during production.

 

  • Look to other sustainable fabrics. Tencel (Lyocell) is another sustainable performance fabric made from sustainably sourced wood pulp. It is soft, breathable, and moisture-wicking, making it an excellent choice for activewear and outdoor clothing. Tencel is produced using a closed-loop system, which recycles water and solvents, minimizing waste and environmental impact. Organic cotton is not typically thought of as a performance fabric, certain treatments and weaves can enhance its functional properties, such as moisture-wicking or water resistance. Organic cotton is a more sustainable alternative to conventional cotton, as it is grown without the use of toxic chemicals and synthetic fertilizers.

 

  • Get vintage, antique or pre-owned furniture. By selecting pre-owned items, you are giving new life to existing pieces, reducing the demand for new resources, and minimizing waste. By choosing these items, you help conserve natural resources and reduce the environmental impact associated with the extraction, processing, and transportation of raw materials.

 

  • Research your manufacturers. Investigate the brand or manufacturer to understand their commitment to sustainability. Many companies have sustainability policies or initiatives that detail their efforts in sourcing sustainable materials, reducing waste, conserving energy, and supporting fair labor practices. Look for brands that are transparent about their environmental practices and have a strong reputation for sustainability. 

 

  • Pay attention to production processes. Furniture made with eco-friendly production processes, such as low-impact dyeing or water-based finishes, can also be considered more sustainable. Look for information about the production process on product labels, the manufacturer’s website, or third-party certifications.

 

  • Make a furniture’s end-of-life plan. Sustainable furniture should be designed with its end-of-life in mind, ensuring that it can be easily disassembled, recycled, or repurposed. Check if the manufacturer offers a take-back program, recycles or repurposes their products, or provides guidance on how to properly dispose of the furniture when it is no longer needed.

 

  • Assess the furniture’s durability and quality. Sustainable furniture should be built to last, reducing the need for frequent replacements and minimizing waste. Look for furniture that is well-constructed, made with high-quality materials, and designed to withstand daily wear and tear.

Three Key Ways To Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Choose Energy-Efficient Lighting

Opt for LED bulbs, as they are the most energy-efficient option and have a longer lifespan than incandescent and CFL bulbs. Look for ENERGY STAR-certified LED bulbs that meet high efficiency and quality standards. Additionally, choose lighting fixtures with built-in LEDs to eliminate the need for separate bulbs and ensure optimal energy efficiency. Save energy and prolong bulb life by using dimmer switches to adjust brightness, but make sure your LED bulbs are compatible with dimmers. Lastly, install motion sensors or timers to automatically turn off lights when they are not needed, reducing energy consumption.

 

Pay Attention To Plumbing

Look for WaterSense-labeled fixtures, certified by the EPA for water efficiency, such as faucets, showerheads, and toilets that meet strict water-saving and performance criteria. Opt for low-flow faucets and showerheads, which provide adequate water pressure while using less water compared to traditional fixtures. Typically, low-flow faucets use 1.5 gallons per minute (GPM) or less, and low-flow showerheads use 2.0 GPM or less. Install dual-flush toilets that offer two flushing options: one for liquid waste, using less water, and another for solid waste, using more water. This enables you to conserve water by using only the necessary amount for each flush.

 

Opt-For Energy-Efficient Appliances

Look for ENERGY STAR-certified appliances, which meet rigorous energy-saving and performance standards. These appliances include refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers. Additionally, pay attention to the energy-efficiency rating or energy guide provided on most appliances, indicating their estimated annual energy consumption and operating cost. Opt for appliances with higher efficiency ratings to save both energy and money. Furthermore, choose appliances with eco-friendly features such as energy-saving modes, delayed start options, or sensors that optimize energy and water usage based on load size. These features contribute to reducing your overall resource consumption.

Want To Incorporate More Sustainable Materials In Your Home?

We’d love to chat. Avec Interiors provides a range of options, delivering customized designs tailored to suit your needs. 

 

Whether you’re looking to transform a single room or your entire home, Avec carefully plans, researches, and streamlines the vast array of interior choices. 

 

Click here to book a free consultation today + be sure to tell us you’re interested in sustainable materials – we’ll tailor the call just to you!

Thank you for your interest.

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