There are many ways to go green, from simple steps like recycling and checking your home for leaks, to more exciting endeavors like hiring a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional to work on your home or offer design services. We asked LEED AP Designer Jennifer Jones from Niche Interiors about her experiences and opinions when it comes to energy and environmental design. Take a look at what she had to say.
Why did you decide to become a LEED AP?
- I’ve always been passionate about environmental issues, becoming a LEED AP was a natural extension of this. As a designer, we have an opportunity to make a measurable difference by specifying eco-friendly products that conserve energy and water.
What does “going green” mean to you?
- Green interior design focuses on improving indoor air quality as well as reducing the impact that furniture and fixture purchases have on the environment.
What do you look for as far as sustainability when buying materials, furniture and other products?
- Indoor air quality is one of the biggest factors in selecting healthy furnishings. We look for natural fibers such as wool, cotton, or jute over synthetics.
- Opt for furniture made from solid wood such as walnut, teak, oak or maple. Wood furniture is typically held together by basic wood joinery techniques, ensuring a stronger bond and requiring fewer adhesives, which are the main culprits in harmful VOC emissions. Also, solid wood furniture lasts longer and is less likely to end up in a landfill after a few years of use.
Do you look for any particular labels such as WaterSense?
- Yes! We look for the WaterSense label when sourcing bath and kitchen fixtures, and we pay close attention to the gallons per minute on shower heads.
What are some of your favorite ways to re-purpose or upcycle old furniture and other “hand-me-downs” in your projects?
- We are huge fans of re-upholstering! It’s amazing what a new fabric can do to transform an upholstered piece. It also gives us the opportunity to swap out harmful foam inserts that contain flame retardants with natural latex inserts, which have no harmful chemicals.
- Paint is another easy way to update wood furniture. Just be sure to look for zero or low-VOC options.
What are your favorite “green” materials or products to use in the kitchen or bathroom?
- For kitchens, I love the look and feel of Paperstone countertops — they are made of 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
- Water-efficient faucets and showerheads are one of the biggest ways to help conserve resources.
- High efficacy light fixtures, such as LEDs or fluorescent, are a great way to conserve energy — there are so many stylish options in the marketplace now!
If you are interested in working with Jennifer and her team or want to find out more about Niche Interiors, check out their website, nicheinteriors.com.
Are you as excited as we are about your next design endeavor? Let us know how you are planning on going green in the comments!