Green Interior Design: Saving Energy, Saving Money

Kristen Sharp's picture
Kristen Sharp
February 18, 2017

Green interior designers recommend sustainable, energy-efficient products for home and office use.

Green interior design can have many benefits for your home and your health.
Green interior design can have many benefits for your home and your health.
Credit: Vimeo

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air is polluted at a rate that ranges from doubling to even quintupling the pollution of outdoor air. What’s more ,many people spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors.

To combat this startling reality, green interior designers provide helpful suggestions regarding indoor air quality, sustainable furniture, water conservation and energy-efficient lighting. The physical and mental health of building occupants must be at the forefront of interior design. Green interior designers understand the importance of sustainability and occupant health, and improve the design of homes accordingly.

The Role of Green Interior Designers

green interior design, Flickr

While green interior designers care about the style and visual appeal of a building or home, overall health and sustainability are also their top priorities. This is what sets them apart from conventional interior designers.

According to the Facts and Figures report from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), interior designers endorse specific sustainable products in 90 percent of all building projects. Green interior designers use their savviness and knowledge to recommend the best sustainable products for your building projects.

Hiring a green interior designer when building a new home or even just starting a renovation guarantees your family’s health and wellness will come first.

Embracing Green Interior Design

Indoor Air Quality

Improving indoor air quality is essential for buildings where people live, work or play. To breathe better air, occupants must commit to increasing ventilation, using no or low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and primers and installing more hardwood floors.

According to LEED, letting outdoor air inside allows for increased ventilation in your home. This practice reduces the risk of moisture turning into mold

Additionally, green interior designers recommend using low or no-VOC paints and primers to allow for enhanced breathing. American Clay walls are created and pigmented from natural earth. If used correctly, spraying the clay down with water at night naturally re-hydrates the room unlike paint.

While natural clay can be better than paint, hardwood flooring is also better than carpet. Green interior designers implore their customers to install hardwood floor because carpet is known for housing allergens and dust. Hardwood is easier to keep clean, creating healthier air for occupants to breathe.

Improving indoor air quality can also be achieved by purchasing sustainable, formaldehyde-free furniture.

Sustainable Furniture

Choosing sustainable products when designing or renovating your home goes hand in hand with improving indoor air quality. Many common building products such as plywood, fiber wood, fabrics and adhesives contain formaldehyde, which can be detrimental to your health. Formaldehyde is traditionally used as a disinfectant or a preservative, however, too often this harmful substance can be found in your furniture.

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The National Cancer Institute reports that all indoor and outdoor air contains formaldehyde up to at least 0.03 parts per million parts of air (ppm). People begin suffering from exposure to the substance when its presence surpasses 0.1 ppm.

Too much exposure to formaldehyde can result in watery eyes and burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat. It can also cause a cough, nausea, and skin irritations. In fact, the EPA has classified formaldehyde as a possible cause of cancer if exposed at these excessive rates.

This is another reason green interior design tops conventional interior design. Sustainable designers consider the people ahead of the design. They recommend utilizing low-emitting materials as it improve indoor air quality. Thankfully, sustainable furniture is easily accessible.

Crate&Barrel offers products made from sustainable materials, such as mango wood, bamboo and acacia wood. Taking green interior design to the next level, Crate&Barrel is the first North American home retailer to collaborate with the Tropical Forest Trust (TFT) to ensure that products are carefully chosen. Crate&Barrel can also boast that their home products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council  (FSC) at the “gold standard” level. As a company, they believe that green practices should start at home.


In addition to sustainable furniture that can improve the air quality of your home, green interior designers can also suggest water-efficient fixtures for indoor water use reduction.

Water Conservation

ASID reports that roughly 66 percent of the U.S. population has already suffered through water shortages, or will in the future. To limit these shortages, people must be more conscientious of their water use. Using less water not only reduces the likelihood of a water shortage, but it also improves the efficiency of kitchen and bathroom fixtures.

ASID’s Executive Vice President and CEO, Randy Fiser, told the USGBC in an interview that the installation of water-efficient faucets in every American home has the potential to save a whopping 60 billion gallons of water yearly. Similarly, in just one year, the replacement of one toilet can save an office of 10 employees up to 69,000 gallons of water as well as $420 in water utility bills. While saving the environment, conserving water also saves a significant amount of money.

Green interior designers can recommend money-saving options for conserving water while providing their expertise on energy-efficient lighting in your home or business.

Energy-Efficient Lighting

In an effort to avoid exposure to harsh lighting, green interior designers recommend energy-efficient lighting, such as LEDs. These lights are better for your health and save you money. You could save around $75 annually if you replaced the five lights in your home that you use most often with Energy Star approved bulbs. Placing yourself under the right type of lighting is essential to your health. Harsh lighting can strain your eyes and affect your mood.

While $75 savings each year adds up, ASID’s Randy Fiser previously worked with the Make It Right Foundation to save people even more. The foundation created a neighborhood of LEED Platinum homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward following Hurricane Katrina.

Clearly, these New Orleans residents were grateful to have new homes. These houses were built with care so that the indoor environment would be safe and healthy for all occupants.

These new homes also helped residents save on their electric bills. For example, a few were lucky enough to start paying less than $50 each month instead of $300 they paid previously. Because these people are saving dividends on their electric bills, they can repurpose their money for health care, food, education, and other invaluable uses.

By highlighting the importance of energy-efficient lighting, water conservation, sustainable furniture and indoor air quality, green interior designers are basically putting money back in their customers’ pockets.

While saving money is already enough incentive, opting for a greener interior design provides a safer, healthier environment for building occupants.

Consulting a green interior designer is ultimately best for your building project. While having an eye for detail and style, they also have the knowledge of the most sustainable and energy-efficient fixtures.

If you are in need of a green interior designer, you can search for green building professionals here on Poplar Network. Also, think about obtaining LEED or WELL certification for interior design yourself. 




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