By: Dina Ansari
We are all trying our best to live a health conscious life, but are we actually putting in some effort to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle, to be socially and environmentally responsible with the aim of saving our planet?
We love to decorate and design our homes focusing more on aesthetics, but do we make efforts to create a nontoxic home? Why not work on great looking interiors that are also kind to our planet. Together we can create a more sustainable future by designing productive, happier and healthier spaces to live and work in.
So basically what do we understand by green living or sustainable living? How do we make our homes a little greener without actually spending a fortune on it?
Sustainable Living describes, leading a lifestyle that works to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the earth resources aiming to use more renewable and recycled materials, that are biodegradable natural fibers.
To begin with, let’s go green at home with eco-friendly interiors and give our home a natural green design makeover. Here are a few helpful tips:
The right lighting can make all the difference in space. Natural light is one of the most beneficial aspect of green living as it brightens up and provides a healthy environment.
Lighting plays a vital part in green building concepts. Using energy efficient, long life bulbs like LED’s and CFL help reduce energy consumption, maintenance and costs. LED’s are a good eco-friendly option. Fluorescent lamps are also considered as energy efficient light sources.
A major trend in improving the world we live in, is the Biophilic design it’s a type of design that includes natural elements into our interiors to bring the connection between humans and nature. Biophilia meaning love of living things and nature, a concept that emphasizes on the aspects of the natural world that contribute to human health and well-being.
Furniture: Re-purpose or Reuse
Reducing, Reusing and Recycling are the key words. Give your old furniture a new look by refurbishing and revamping it. Even if you are going in for new furniture, make sure to buy items that are of non-toxic and organic materials. Opt for furniture made from solid wood such as walnut, teak, oak or maple. Avoid furniture composed of MDF or particle board made from compressed shavings, or sawdust bounded by synthetic resins, binders and glues. Go for products made from Rattan, Bamboo, Hemp, Jute, Cotton, Abaca, Raffia, Banana plant, Palm leaf, Wicker, Grasses and Wool – all the natural materials, to quote a few.
Synthetic carpets can contain VOC’s (Volatile organic compounds) chemicals that are harmful to your health. The adhesives and the backing on the carpet can contain these harsh VOC’s that evaporate into the air potentially harming health. How to get a carpet that’s safe and ‘green’? Choose natural textiles and finishings and/or prefer natural fibers such as wool, cotton, jute or sea-grass over synthetics. Wool is naturally fire retardant. If natural carpeting is not the option, then buy carpets that have the ‘Green Label Plus’ certification. There are many better options that are more earth friendly than carpet or ceramic and vinyl flooring. Preserve your hardwood flooring, as wood is the most efficient renewable source to use for the green design concept. Bamboo is a good choice for flooring as its highly sustainable. Another popular choice is Cork.
Traditional home paints contain harmful chemicals, therefore while selecting paints look for zero VOC or Low VOC paint. Volatile Organic Compound are chemicals that off gas into the air, some have harmful long term health effects.
Many popular paint suppliers like Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore now produce low or sometimes even VOC free paints. Jotun is committed to offer its customers greener products. Breathe Easy Emulsion, by Berger paints is specially formulated environmentally low VOC interior paint. Remember to keep your home well-ventilated while painting.
It’s a simple and effective aid that adds aesthetics and gives a healthy option. Plants are like air purifiers. The potted soil contains tiny bacteria that helps absorb the toxins and chemicals and turns them into nutrients. Besides turning carbon dioxide into oxygen, plants filter toxins and improve air quality. They absorb harmful VOC’s, formaldehyde and benzene which are off gassed by fabrics, home fragrance products, rugs etc. A few good indoor plants are Spider plants, Ivy, Dragon trees and Rubber plants.
One of the latest trend is the living wall or vertical garden – a collection of wall mounted plants that breathe life into the interiors.
We can ensure product safety by selecting from certified manufacturers and suppliers. Manufacturers should practice fair trade and not destroy our sensitive habitat. You can look for certification from authorities such as FSC (The Forest Stewardship Council) and go for Cradle to Cradle certification which acknowledges continuous improvement of the products to make better products, better companies and better communities. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental design) certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement. Design positive and be certified green.
Looking for ideas and DIY project inspiration? Visit 99 pallets website. Many big furniture stores have added Eco friendly furniture collections line; West Elm, Crate & Barrel, IKEA are to name a few. Tribe home décor Studio strongly believes in sourcing ethical and handmade products using sustainable natural products. Bafco is on a mission to reduce and recycle! They offer green LEED compliant office furniture and services including recycling and refurbishing. The Green Eco store is an online store for Eco friendly shopping for reusable and recycled products in Dubai and UAE. To add green character to your home you can visit Antika Dubai, they specialize in vintage and reclaimed Indian furniture. Encourage & shop at smart home décor brands that promote waste-free living.
The Era of Eco-friendly interior design innovation has arrived with the goal of making beautiful and sustainable products. Many of UAE’s interior design companies have embraced green practices in their designs. Sustainability has become an important factor and UAE works towards a greener future.
We can be Eco-wise by playing our role as a responsible member of our community. Let’s take the small steps needed to help make a difference by going green starting from home.
Let’s together think green, design green & live green!