Industry: Can we talk Green Design?
On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Phyllis Harbinger, interior design industry expert. Nick and Phyllis get into green design, what that means, and how to incorporate these design principles in residential projects
Specifying sustainable products in residential design
Phyllis Harbinger joins Nick in The Lounge while wrapping up a busy school year at FIT. Phyllis starts out by mentioning that clients aren’t asking for green design, and aren’t necessarily open to it. On the other hand, Phyllis informs us that the more natural and sustainable a product is, the better off the environment and even the client is.
Phyllis and her class were recently able to visit Material Connexion, which she referred to as a candy store for designers. Phyllis recalls a specific wallcovering like a grasscloth that absorbed odors and even cleaned the air.
These sorts of green designs and products find their way into commercial projects more often than residential but designers need to educate clients. They may need to spend more time to discover these products and put together green designs and spaces. It’s not always at a higher cost. This may be a challenge, but it’s rewarding. Resources for repurposing items include: local antique stores and online sources (1stDibs, Previously Owned by a Gay Man, etc).
How to know if product is green
Many times it can be as simple as a label on textiles stating it as a recycled good, but if not, you may need to research the content and where it was made. Often, importing from across the globe can “undo” the good of a “green” product by increasing its carbon footprint.
Phyllis notes vinyl wallcoverings and certain carpets as not environmentally friendly, while cork is a better option, or even opting to refinish wood floors rather than replacing them. She also recalls a project where it was more “green” to install a new floor over an old one, rather than tearing it out.
Nick also encounters environmental issues in his business. In the past low and zero VOC products were significantly more expensive. This cost was a hurdle that prevented his customers from making the switch.
When this difference decreased, Nick and his company decided to make the change across the board – not only for environmental reasons but also for the health of his crew.
Phyllis and Nick also mention repainting cabinets versus installing new ones, specify ultra suede green, and talk about the versatility of carpet tiles.
Send Phyllis an email to get in touch and learn more!
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