5 Interior Designers that Focus on Sustainability

interior designPhoto by Marta Dzedyshko from Pexels

One of the new buzzwords in the realm of design is sustainable. In this era of climate change, alongside the call to adopt a waste-free lifestyle, interior designers have stepped up their game to come up with and execute concepts for cutting down on energy and water consumption and making use of materials that are recycled, recyclable, or do not add to pollution in the surroundings. Who are the faces and firms behind this new wave, especially in interior design? Learn more about some of the cutting-edge names in the business here!

Gensler

Among the longest standing names in interior design, the Gensler firm has been around since 1965. Since then it has expanded its operations to serve over 3,500 clients over several continents. The Gensler Research Institute has devoted itself to providing solutions for sustainability as a prime consideration for interior design, alongside putting importance on the health and wellness benefits to occupants. Recent projects employing concepts of sustainability include the new office tower of LPL Financial in San Diego, California, as well as the Glumac workspace in Shanghai. The Glumac workspace in particular uses recycled materials employs a green wall and prides itself on having been created with a zero-carbon footprint.

HOK

Another giant in the industry, the HOK was founded as an architectural firm in 1955. Since then the firm has grown to include engineering, interior design, and planning as among its areas of expertise. For the past six years, HOK has reaped accolades for its sustainable designs. These include the headquarters of LG North America in New Jersey and the new biophilic design of the Central + Wolfe campus located in Silicon Valley.

Perkins + Will

Ever since its beginnings in 1935, the Perkins + Will firm has committed itself to human-centered design. In recent years they have also focused on sustainability, as seen by their new projects which are adaptable to the changing climate and also utilize materials that have lower carbon footprints and leave less waste. These concepts are well applied to Perkins + Will’s Atlanta office as well as to its projects all around the US and Canada. The firm has designed sustainable buildings and interiors for institutes such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA, and the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre in Vancouver, Canada.

HKS

Staying right ahead of the curve, the HKS firm prides itself on “designing a resilient tomorrow”. This US-based firm has gathered accolades in various areas of design ranging from excellence in design as well as sustainability. To date, HKS has 195 Leed projects, meaning these projects are certified as green designs or buildings. Some of HKS’ renowned projects include the AVON Cosmetics European Headquarters in the Northampton United Kingdom, as well as the Montage Deer Valley resort. These structures maximize use of natural light, reduce energy consumption through innovative heating systems, and institute green housekeeping practices to maintain the environmentally friendly concept day in day out.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

For the minds behind Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, it is not enough to simply stop at sustainable interior design. This enterprising firm has partnered with National Geographic to design a blueprint for sustainable cities with buildings and interiors utilizing the best in green design and architecture. Some of SOM’s sustainable designs have already come to fruition with buildings such as the Pertamina Energy Tower in Jakarta, the new United States courthouse in Los Angeles, and the headquarters of the JTI, located in Geneva, Switzerland. One of SOM’s major case studies, the 350 Mission Tower, provides an example of how sustainability can be employed in the interior design, particularly in the corporate setting.

The call for sustainable design can only be seen to intensify in the coming years, as humanity struggles to keep up with the toll from rapid climate change and other ecological upheavals. Never before has this become more crucial for our booming cities and communities. We can expect that more and more interior designers and their firms will stand on the shoulders of these giants and come up with even more innovative designs that can help human communities coexist with and even save the planet.

Spread the love

Perth is Paving the Way to Sustainable Infrastructure in Australia

PerthPhoto from perthtouristcenter.com.au

With the ongoing discussion of improving our ecological footstep, “going green” is being applied to as much as possible. In fact, did you know that buildings can also “go green”? Take Western Australia’s for example. Their dedication to building green has shown off greatly thanks to the many new additions to their cities. So much so that there is a Sustainable Perth Walking Tour that takes visitors for a two-kilomtre walk through the city centre where the green buildings can be admired and hopefully imitated. Sustainable construction in Australia has become quite the mission and thanks to the importance given to the cause, fantastic results have already been reached.

So in case you’re in Perth and are curious about the aforementioned tour, the first stop the glass office tower at 235 George’s Terrace, designed by architects fitzpatrick+partners. Another exciting stop on the tour is the “greenest” public building in Western Australia, the Green Skills Training Centre. All of the building’s energy needs (including heating and air conditioning) are 100% powered by a super modern solar plant in the building. Impressive, right?

In fact, buildings constructed as far back as 2003 can be considered green as well, and are given a “Green Start” rating between 1 and 6 based on how green they are. In Perth specifically, buildings are envisioned as having to be green from the beginning. As a result, these buildings will most likely be then celebrated on “Green Building Day”; the most recent held this past June 1st. The day that Perth has set aside for its green constructions is dedicated to the sustainable buildings and welcomes technicians, architects, construction firms, and city government representatives.

The plan of having a city that is sustainable to the max and also user-friendly has been of great importance to city officials. In fact for landlords and business owners that commit to respecting the “green” criteria, a two-year economic plan was presented to support the costs of doing so. Furthermore, last year the “Strategic Community Plan” was also introduced in order to have Perth commit to water conservation, focus on climate change, and improve energy usage.

All this talk about Perth going green all the way is also backed up by the economic endorsements directed towards specific buildings. For example, the $2.6 billion going towards the Elizabeth Quay waterfront development, or the $1 billion for the international airport. Another $428 million will be spent on constructing the “New Museum for Western Australia (WA)” along with another $1.2 billion on the Forrestfield-Airport Link which will connect the airport to different city areas.

Thanks to the modernization, and the subsequent green factor that will be part of the new constructions, Perth is looking at a great, positive future.

Spread the love

Enviro Giving – 5 Eco-Friendly Gifts for Friends or Colleagues

eco friendly giftsPhoto by Vítor Santos on Unsplash

Reusable Coffee Cups

For the office worker or avid coffee lover, a reusable coffee cup could be the very gift to put a smile on the recipient’s face. Every day, thousands of workers make their way into cafes, lured by the smell of a rich espresso or creamy chai latte to kick-start their day. However, armed with a throw-away coffee cup, they are contributing to the growing waste problem.

Every year, we are putting millions of throw-away coffee cups into landfill, without them ever having a chance of seeing a recycling plant. In fact, of the 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste produced since the 1950s, including those coffee cups, only nine percent has been reused in some way. By gifting your friend a reusable coffee cup, you may just be preventing thousands of additional coffee cups from ending up in tips too.

Vermicompost Bin

It might not be for the squirmish, but a worm farm is the perfect gift for the eco-minded friend with a green thumb. Once established with a colony worms, you can recycle your kitchen scraps and turn them into the most amazing fertilizer for the garden. Microorganisms from those worms even help your plants to become more resistant to pests and disease. Vermicompost bins are available in various sizes and are easy to maintain. Just add your food waste and let the worms do all the hard work. Your friend is sure to appreciate the option to reuse food scraps opposed to throwing them away.

Fabric Shopping Bags

Several governments around the world have taken a stand against single-use lightweight plastic bags. Many countries have chosen to ban them, while others have imposed taxes for their use. You can make a difference by gifting your friends and family with fabric shopping bags. There are so many styles and colors to choose from, and by giving them a reason to stop using plastic bags, they are no longer taking their share of non-renewable resources.

Recycled stationery

For something a bit more tactile that will be useful for home or office, consider a beautiful stationery set made from recycled materials. Often, these sets are specifically designed to be gifted and feature cardboard encompassed pens and recycled paper bound with recycled cardboard covers.

Handmade soap

Body wash gift sets have long been a favorite gift option for your nearest and dearest. However, did you know the products you choose could be harming the environment? While a decision was made to ban microbeads in the United States, there are still many countries that allow these environmentally harmful practices to continue.

If you want to make a difference and not support those manufacturers who still insist on using plastic, consider handmade soap. You can try your hand at making it yourself or purchase it from an eco-friendly or local supplier. When beautifully gift wrapped, it makes for the perfect gift.

Healing the planet begins with the decisions that we make every day. When you’re looking for eco-friendly gifts for friends or family, know that whatever decision you make, you’re doing your part for the environment. Consider any of these five options for the perfect environmentally friendly gift.

Spread the love

Understanding Shale Gas Mining

Shale gas development has been revolutionized in the past ten years by fairly recent events. Geologists have known for some time about large deposits of natural gas in areas of the Northeastern United States. However, antiquated methods of extracting this resource made mining these areas financially unfeasible. These huge shale deposits are known as the Marcellus and the Utica Plays, named for the areas in which they originate. They formed thousands of years ago in the shale sedimentary layers deep under the mountainous regions of New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. Recent technological advances in drilling methods have finally allowed this vein to be tapped. The success of this harvesting method, called hydrofracturing, in the Barnett Shale deposit in North Central Texas made it possible to bring the technology to gas-rich shale deposits in other regions.

Shale gasAn illustration of shale gas compared to other types of gas deposits.
Image Credit: www.wikipedia.org

Why is This Such a Big Deal?
This discovery has re-energized the natural gas industry in the United States. Finding new sources of clean domestic fuel drives down the price of this resource and allows the United States to lessen it’s dependance on foreign oil for fuel. It also brings the supply closer to demand. Previously, the cost of transportation to the Northeast region made the price of natural gas prohibitive to many in an area that relies on fossil fuels for heat during the cold winter months. The ability to mine this resource in the region will lower the cost considerably.

Is Shale Gas Mining Safe?
Industry-wide protocols and best-practices in the exploration and harvesting of natural gas greatly reduce the risk of methane leaks and other environmental pollution. Proper industry regulation and oversight to ensure that companies involved in the exploration and production of shale gas, along with full disclosure of hydrofracturing methods, should ease dissent from some residents and environmental groups. The benefits of natural gas over coal and oil, including lowering CO2 emissions, makes the positive aspects of this practice outweigh any possible negatives.

How We Benefit From Shale Gas Mining
A large supply of natural gas from these regions will have a number of benefits, nationally and globally. Natural gas is a safe, clean-burning source of fuel for cooking and heating. Increased supply means a drop in the cost, making it more affordable. That means less reliance on coal and oil, and by extension, less air pollution. It also helps the United States become less dependent on foreign fuel imports, and helps us to become more competitive in the global natural gas market. Bringing natural gas exploration, extraction, and production to the Northeast also helps the economy in areas that have been hard hit. Currently, shale gas is in the first phase of a three-phase exploration and production, or E & P schedule, which consists of pre-drilling, drilling, and production. A recent report by the Pennsylvania Statewide Marcellus Shale Workforce Needs Assessment estimated that phase one jobs account for 98 percent of current shale gas E & P employment market. Once this phase is completed, the drilling phase will begin, and it will last for an estimated 10 – 70 years, dependent on fluctuations in price, the economy, and further technological developments during that time-frame.

Spread the love

Energy Saving Tips for Your Home

energy savingSaving up these days is one of the most important skills that a household member should possess. In most cases, it’s the wife who will do the budgeting of the finances while the husband will do the work. However, in this modern era wherein both husband and wife are working, the budgeting can sometimes be taken for granted.

There are several energy saving ways to save up at home that doesn’t need frequent follow up. Budgeting doesn’t only apply on shopping for consumer goods but could also apply on how you’re using your appliances effectively.

Some people would sought for energy audit firms to have a detailed saving up activities for their household. However, it isn’t just a normal work that you can avail anywhere. You can never go wrong if you’re going to check azenergyefficienthome.com. Among the numerous energy audit companies, they have the best offer. AZ Energy Efficient Home is a full-service Arizona energy audit company lead by Jonathan Waterworth, who happens to be a LEED-accredited and BPI-certified general contractor.

With Waterworth’s credentials, he has a solid understanding of the entire structural envelope, and applies tools like a blower door, infrared imaging and other tools that are necessary to determine your home’s energy performance as it is related to cost, comfort, safety and health.

If you will just spend that much in order to save up in the long run, make sure you’re dealing with a person who knows what he is doing. With AZ Energy Efficient Home you can be assured that every penny is worth it. Skills wise, their company possesses it.

Saving up through the proper structuring and building your homes are the best energy saving steps you can take. Not everyone knows how to do it but it is never too late to learn. Utilize, research and listen to energy saving experts.

Spread the love