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What is sustainable interior design?

The responsibility to design and build sustainably is an increasingly demanded option in decoration.

  1. What we talk about when we talk about sustainable interior design

Fundamentally, the idea is to design spaces with sustainable materials, keeping in mind the reduction of energy consumption, the non-overexploitation of resources, and the absence of toxic products. Recycling must also be considered, generating as little waste as possible and reusing waste. The property was located on top of a mountain, a privileged site for its sea views on clear days, beautiful vegetation, and privacy. "For this renovation, we used local materials to minimize the ecological footprint. In addition, we have given a new life to elements that were already in the house," explains Marta Guillem from the Valencian studio. In this way, the cost of the renovation has been reduced, and it has been designed and worked respecting the environment.

Another example is The Bamboo House: a project by Ana Fernández Interior Design & Contract, where special attention has been paid to sustainability, from the distribution of the windows -to enhance natural light and save energy in air conditioning- to the use of bamboo in floor, façade and ceiling coverings. The furniture used has been strictly necessary. In addition, many pieces of furniture are multipurpose to optimize space. Moreover, bamboo as the primary material is not arbitrary: "bamboo multiplies and has a lower production and replacement cost than other materials," says Fernández.

  1. Keys to sustainable interior design
  • Reuse materials and furniture. Doing so closes the circular economy cycle and reduces the generation of waste and the consumption of raw materials. An excellent example of this is the attic of the image, less than 50 square meters and located in Granada, which went from a student apartment to a luxury apartment. The terrace, designed as a chill-out area, has been made with recycled pallets -wood evokes positive sensations due to its organic nature. Furthermore, the reuse of these wooden frames in construction is an example of sustainable and contemporary design.
  • To achieve an energy-sustainable house, i.e., make the most of the space's resources and natural lighting. For example, in the case of south-facing homes, large windows can save up to 80 % of heating in the winter months. "It would be necessary to invest in insulating materials that conserve heat and have thermal inertia, which will prevent sudden changes in temperature in the home," says Guillem.
  • Choose water-based paints. The paint industry has made an effort to reduce harmful components such as volatile organic compounds.
  • Water-based paints represent a breakthrough in terms of sustainability. Among their components, we can find linseed or castor oils and natural resins such as rosin. Using these materials is more respectful of the planet and prevents allergy and asthma problems.
  • Guillem explains it with a very graphic simile. "The difference between an ecological paint and a plastic one is the same as wearing a plastic or cotton garment: ecological paint and natural varnishes allow the home to breathe, just as a cotton garment allows the skin to breathe," says the expert. Seals such as the 'European Ecolabel' indicate that we are dealing with a product that respects the environment.
  • Choose wood for the parquet free of toxic products. Wood is the most used material to achieve a comfortable and healthy environment. We can achieve this goal by using wood without poisonous treatments.

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