Environmentally Conscious Design: More Than Green Materials
Clients frequently come to us asking for “green”, environmentally conscious design features. Many consider the more typical things such as energy efficiency and solar panels. Some want to take the concept further by recapturing rainwater and using ground-source heat pumps that heat and cool the home with the earth’s temperature.
The green trend has been inching its way into the mainstream. The U.S. Green Building Council estimates that this year, about a third of residential homes will be built green, while the majority will have some green features.
The discussion about environmentally friendly homes usually centers around materials and features that make a home more energy-efficient and improve the indoor air quality.
Those things are important. But environmentally conscious design is a lot broader than that.
Sustainable Means Timeless
Sustainability is not just about using renewable materials, eliminating chemicals and reducing water and power consumption. Green is something you don’t have to replace in a few years. It’s design that doesn’t cater to trends.
If we use entry-level materials, they will require replacement in 10 or 15 years — contributing to landfill and carbon emissions footprints. That’s why we gravitate toward materials like reclaimed woods, concrete and stone.
But if we don’t design a home that the homeowners will love for years, they will soon want to remodel. Which, again, means a contribution to the landfill.
That’s why we believe sustainable design and good design go hand-in-hand. High-quality, tasteful finishes and durable yet stylish materials combine with a design that’s special and unique to the homeowners — and the result is an environmentally conscious home.
Choosing the Right Environmentally Conscious Design Elements
It’s becoming easier and more cost-efficient to create assemblies that are green. The industry has caught on, too — there are an impossible number of good ideas on the market.
As with the rest of our process, we help the homeowners understand what features are most important to them and what they want to invest in. In the end, the space we create must be timeless and special. As long as that principle guides us, everything else will fall into place.