Introduction: What is Greenaissance?
As most of us know, there’s a new sense of urgency to take better care of the planet. People reevaluated their lives during COVID-19, resulting in a shift of priorities. We’re building new routines and habits with a mind toward healthier living in all facets of our lives. More and more, manufacturers are offering items for the home that are sustainably made and sourced to support these efforts. As we plan our future selves and the future of our business, we are predicting a “greenaissance,” a new focus on sustainable living, earth-friendly products, and community actions that lead to a healthier environment for all.
What is Our Role in Greenaissance?
As interior designers, we heavily influence the items in our clients’ homes. We are responsible for researching all the recommended products and offering options that lean toward healthier living. It’s possible to get a great look for a client while also making choices that help improve their indoor air quality. Making more sustainable choices in our designs involves researching everything from textile content to appliances and looking for recycled content. Professional organizations like the Sustainable Furnishings Council can be a huge help.
Why is Greenaissance Important?
The greenaissance extends beyond the home space and into all aspects of our lives. Just as eating clean helps improve our health, shopping clean can do the same. I know that’s not a catchphrase yet, but you heard it here first! The benefits of making more sustainable choices include reduced emissions, improved indoor air quality in your home, reduced waste in the landfill, and a more enjoyable home environment. When you put in the love to rework a piece from your grandmother, it becomes a story and something unique to you and your home. When you select items carefully, intending to keep them for a long time, you make different choices. Not the choices you make at IKEA when you need something quick, easy, and cheap.
How To Get Started in Achieving a Sustainable Lifestyle?
There are many simple and easy ways to make a positive impact on the environment through the choices you make in your home.
1. When choosing materials for a building project or furnishings, look for the green guard certification stamp. This stamp indicates that the item has been certified for low chemical emissions.
2. Conserve electricity: We are all aware of choosing LED lighting for our homes. The top energy users in homes are generally heating, cooling, and water heaters. While changing an existing HVAC system may not be possible for most homes, swapping a large tank-style water heater for an on-demand style is usually a project that can be completed in a single weekend.
3. Consider refurbishing existing furnishings rather than replacing them. Keeping large furniture items out of landfill is not only a benefit to the environment but giving work to a local craftsperson can be a benefit to the community. A good upholstery person can do amazing things!
4. Buy quality: I’ve said it often, but when you buy quality, you will be able to keep the piece longer and have it refurbished in the future. Solid wood furniture can always be passed down, refinished, repainted, etc., and be useful for future generations. Quality upholstered pieces with solid frames can always be recovered and reworked.
To sum it up, it is recommended to purchase quality, eco-friendly furnishings, conserve electricity by keeping your AC warmer (or off) throughout the day while minimizing heat during the cool months, and get out with the new, in with the old. As an interior designer, I aim to help each client live a healthy and comfortable lifestyle. Sustainable living impacts humankind and the environment and is much more manageable than it looks.