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Real World

Interior Design for the Eco-Friendly Home

Interior Design for the Eco-Friendly Home
by David Charles

 

It used to be the case that when decorating and furnishing one’s home or office, being sustainable and eco-friendly meant sacrificing style or affordability, and sometimes both. Environmentally friendly products invariably came with a premium price tag; appearance and comfort were secondary considerations.

 Thankfully things have changed. Many of us now do small things every day that make a big difference, such as recycling our bottles, cans and paper, and using energy-saving light bulbs.

 Even when undertaking large-scale refurbishment projects, with options like the Ercol Furniture range it really is possible to enjoy the best of all worlds.

Making the right choices

We all have the power and the responsibility to make a difference, to help the environment, and it is critical that we exercise that through our purchasing choices.

  • The right materials. For example, the range of eco-friendly paints for example is improving every day. In the past, paints have been known to contain heavy metals, formaldehyde and substances known as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. The industry is subject to increasingly strict regulation and paint manufacturers must label their products clearly. Take the time to read the label, understand the eco-friendly claims and make a fully informed purchasing decision.
  • The right furniture. When choosing furniture the use of sustainable materials is the key factor to look out for. Again, manufacturers are obliged by law to be open and transparent about the sourcing of their material so exercise your right as a consumer to demand and challenge this. Do your research, ask questions and ensure you fully understand every aspect of what you are buying. Fortunately there are an increasing number of manufacturers, such as Ercol, who supply good quality, affordable furniture made from carefully sourced sustainable materials.

This is the best kind of virtuous circle. The more that manufacturers and suppliers perceive a demand for eco-friendly materials and furniture, the greater their motivation will be to adopt this approach as standard.

Do you want to know more?

There is a lot of information out there about the definition of terms like ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘sustainable’, and what these really means. The advice changes regularly and can be confusing or even contradictory. So where do you turn for help, for example, if you’re beginning a commercial furnishing project and want to make sure you are doing the right thing from an environmental point of view?

A great place to start is ANEW, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide environmental education through action and build public awareness to reduce the effects of climate change by extending the lifecycle of office furniture, equipment and architectural materials. They do this through simple but significant actions around the diversion of material from landfill. ANEW strengthens communities by stewarding surplus furniture from decommissioned commercial space and matching it to other non-profits, charities, public agencies and the underserved.

Doing the right thing

By making the right decisions and exercising consumer power we can enjoy a truly stylish and affordable eco-friendly home or workplace, where we can relax comfortably in the knowledge that we are making a positive difference to the future of our planet.

 

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