For 2017, expect environment-friendly interior designs and organic materials. The world is shifting to sustainable living as we battle the impact of climate change. A recent study published in the International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment explains the benefits of environmentally sustainable interior design (ESID) energy savings, carbon emission reduction, and positive impact on humans’ mental and physical health.

How can you incorporate ESID in your condo? Here are 10 tips to guide you.

Choose an eco-friendly condo community

Professor Terri Meyer Boake of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture encourages the use of passive design. Passive design is based on climate considerations by maximizing the use of free solar energy and free ventilation. An example is DMCI Homes’ Lumiventt Technology which allows the natural flow of air and sunlight around buildings and common areas.

Create a healthy indoor environment

book, decor, decorative plant

The easiest way to create a healthy home is to reduce stressors around you. Consider living with less. Condo designs, customized for small spaces, are in sync with the minimalist lifestyle. Keep only the things that of practical use, and get rid of those that merely gather dust. Clutter is a form of pollution that can cause stress. By decluttering your surroundings, you’re unloading stressors and promoting a healthier state of mind. 

Go for renewable materials

 Brush painting the white wall

One of the essential things to consider when redesigning your condo are the materials for your renovation. There are environment-friendly paints that are non-toxic. Studies recommend non-Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) paints such as those that are water-based. If you prefer wall covers, there are papers made of renewable sources such as grasses and plant fibers. There also tiles made of recycled products like glass, ceramic, and porcelain. Choose materials that are rapidly renewable.

Green designs, literally

Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2017 is Greenery, which is aligned with the eco-centric trend in interior design. “Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

Greenery is a versatile shade. You can pair it with earth colors, pastels, retro-inspired palettes, and metallics.

Passive cooling in your condo home

cactus garden, cactus plant, close-up

Passive cooling is one of the three basic principles of passive design, according to Professor Boake. How can you integrate this principle in your condo home? Passive cooling is all about the use of free ventilation for shading and the shape of the structure to control airflow. For your home, you can install an indoor vertical garden, which can also be a source of fresh vegetation. Houseplants can also clean indoor air from pollutants. If you have a balcony, you can build a mini garden with treillage for natural shading. Green spaces can cultivate microclimate, drawing cool air indoors.

Choose only green or sustainable fabrics

The term “green design” involves a wide range of concepts from the architecture to reusable materials. In choosing furniture, décor, and renovation materials, choose only green or sustainable fabrics. Here are questions you should ask yourself when shopping for the right fabrics: Is the product and is the manufacturing process free of harmful chemicals? Is the fabric from a renewable source? If it is synthetic, is it made from 100% recycled material? How long can I use it before it needs to be replaced? Is it biodegradable?

Fabrics can be made from plant and animal fibers. Some are also from synthetic materials. Infuse ESID into your home by choosing green and sustainable fibers including organic cotton, hemp, wool, cashmere, alpaca and leather.

Free heating and lighting

apartment, apple, business

Another principle of passive design is the use of free solar energy for heating and lighting. With the right window treatment, you can reduce heating and cooling energy loads. Choose window treatments made of fabric, natural glass, bamboo with antimicrobial properties, wood, and composites made of 100% renewable materials.

A tip for effective direct gain for heat is to allow the sun to shine through the windows and strike an exposed concrete floor. With this design, heat is absorbed into the concrete and radiates into the space making it naturally warm.

Eco-friendly hard flooring

Person in Red Low Tops in Brown Wooden Floor

What flooring is eco-friendly? Some materials you can explore are reclaimed wood, cork, bamboo, natural stone, and recycled rubber. You can ask about those made of pre- or post-consumer recycled content. For an additional charm, you can place carpets in the living room and bedroom. There are carpets made of wool, organic cotton, hemp, and jute.

Take note of the materials to avoid, such as brominated flame retardants and polyurethane sealant that contain carcinogenic substances. If in doubt, choose only FSC-certified products.

Energy-saving fixtures

Going environmentally sustainable results to energy savings. Use Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs to light up rooms. This may be costlier than fluorescents, but LEDs can save up to 80% in electricity consumption. You can cut your water usage by installing Low-Flow Technology shower heads and faucets. According to studies, these fixtures can reduce water consumption by 22,000 gallons per year. You can also opt for solar panels and solar-powered appliances.

Explore the wonders of your smart home

Man Holding His Smartphone

Smart homes are regarded as the future of housing.  This primarily involves the use of technology to save on energy and reduce carbon emissions. You can install smart thermostats than can be controlled remotely and lights enabled via motion sensors. Check out tech websites for the latest innovations in smart homes including those that can be controlled via mobile apps.

The environmental degradation due to our excessive consumption is worsening everyday. There are facts to back this up despite strong criticisms from climate change deniers. It’s time to rethink the way we live and consider the next generations. You can start by choosing green and renewable materials when renovating your condo. You should also begin adopting new technologies, specifically smart home innovations and energy-saving fixtures. The planet is our only home. It’s our collective obligation to care for it. Go for greener condo living.