Over the last decade, architecture and interior design have embraced more natural alternatives. And it is no surprise, when you consider that sustainability is an attractive move for both the planet and profit.
Architect Magazine reported in October that buildings consume about 40% of the energy in the U.S. annually. In addition, they are responsible for emitting nearly half of the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. The 2017 article, “The Climate Is Changing. So Must Architecture,” calls for architects to use more sustainable materials that consume far fewer resources.
Consumers want healthier materials in their spaces that are kinder to our natural resources. Architects and interior designers need to seek out solutions such as designing LEED certified buildings, which can drop carbon dioxide emissions by more than 30% while reducing water and energy consumption.
While companies like Arclin are always developing innovative eco-friendly materials, here are five options to consider today when designing an eco-friendly interior.
Coco tiles are a natural alternative for flooring, backsplashes, walls, etc. Made from reclaimed coconut shells, this product reduces waste, while bringing a hint of nature into offices, restaurants, health care facilities and hotels. Kirei, a company focused on creating eco-friendly products, has mastered the art of the coco tile.
Bamboo has traditionally been used for decorating, but is now making a name for itself as an alternative building material. Using bamboo as flooring can be beneficial in more ways than one. Bamboo is water-resistant, and won’t stain like traditional hardwood flooring that swells when water is trapped inside a panel. And, bamboo flooring can be extremely durable depending on how it is manufactured, especially if it is strand woven. You can expect easy maintenance if you choose bamboo flooring.
Reclaimed wood can be used for flooring, furniture, ceiling beams, and so much more. Using reclaimed wood in interior design is an eco-friendly way to add character to any room. The color palettes affiliated with reclaimed wood are limitless. It can add a tropical atmosphere to a restaurant or a feeling of comfort to a healthcare facility. Reclaimed wood is an eco-friendly alternative to cutting down living trees for building materials. You can rest easy knowing that your interior design isn’t harming the environment.
Cork is a versatile material that can be used all over your home or in commercial spaces. Adding a sheet of cork to an office wall can offer sustainability, because the extraction process for cork does not harm the tree it is taken from and the bark it is made from replenishes every 9 years. It also adds convenience and utility to the room. Additionally, cork provides excellent insulation for both temperature and acoustics control. This cost-effective material has also been used for flooring, as its cushion-like surface is easy to stand on for long periods of time.
Our favorite green product of all is TFL — a cost-effective alternative to the other surface options on the market. When considering the use TFL in your next design project, remember that these products are versatile and work across a variety of applications and industries. With advanced printing technologies, these decorative overlays enable us to mimic the design properties of real wood, but it is made with papers derived from tree fibers grown on controlled, fast-growing plantations. Just take a look at designs like Charles Bridge to see what we mean!