When it comes to designing your new home or renovating to bring in new and trending energies, more homeowners are focused on the environmental impact of their projects and looking to create spaces that consume low amounts of resources. For your redesign, you may be less focused on the near-net-zero consumption aspect of your home but be keen on creating a living area that feels as if it is an extension of the nature around you.

While green and sustainable are key focus areas when it comes to design, they are not the same concepts. To demystify the two concepts, the interior design team at CRT Studio lays out the definitions of green and sustainable, providing examples to explain the important nuances between the two and showcasing why these concepts are important when it comes to architectural and interior design.

Green vs. Sustainable: Unlocking the Key Differences

Green design has a key focus on decreasing overall environmental impact, including reducing the amount of resources that are used by the space. For example, by leveraging optimal window placement to let in heat from the sun during the day, utilizing solar and wind power energies, and composting waste. Spaces that incorporate green design techniques may also use eco-friendly materials, such as bamboo and recycled materials.

While green design may be sustainable, sustainable design may not necessarily be green, and vice versa. Sustainable design is a larger concept that applies to the utilization of services and products so as to not damage resources in the long term and in a way that can continue as it is now in the future. Therefore, using sustainable methods to design and build green spaces can help maximize environmental outcomes.

How Does Green Design Fit Under the Umbrella of the Sustainable Design Process?

Sustainable interior design is a school of thought and method of action that places emphasis on the utilization of construction activities and materials that minimize a building’s environmental impact. Not only does sustainable design have positive effects on the environment, but it can also enhance the well-being and health of sustainably designed home residents. This is because sustainable design prioritizes the long-term functionality and synergies of the people living in the home, as opposed to just building a structure.

Sustainable design extends from the designing and drafting stage in a building or renovation project and extends out to the long-term use of the space. A sustainable design building or renovation process might look like and incorporate the following elements:

  • Pre-Project Planning – During the planning process, sites that will result in minimal environmental harm are chosen for building. Local human resources and materials are located to have an understanding of the available options. Design plans may be made around the materials available and handiwork specialties.
  • The Design Process – Rooms and buildings are designed to optimize the potential of the site and result in minimal environmental impact. Designers use environmentally friendly and locally sourced materials in the process and create a plan that incorporates the home with the surrounding environment, which are elements of green design as well.
  • The Building Process – During the building process, green design elements are incorporated, such as building a structure around one or more trees on the lot to reduce environmental impact.
  • Living and Maintenance – Residents of the home support the sustainability of the home by reducing their use of resources, including water and electricity, and protecting the surrounding environment. Local manpower is leveraged for maintenance and redesign as necessary.

It’s important to note that the process of sustainable design will likely pull in elements of green design and that this is an ongoing process. By incorporating green elements into the home through sustainable design and building, residents can see benefits such as cleaner indoor air quality, a more meaningful connection with nature, and increased mental and physical well-being.

Examples of Green and Sustainable Design

Green or sustainable design examples can range from the technologies leveraged in the home to the materials used in construction and design. In order to understand how you can implement green or sustainable design in your home’s design, it is useful to have key examples that represent these concepts, which include:

  • Biophilic Design Elements – Such elements, such as nature-inspired color palettes, indoor water features, and living walls or vertical gardens, reflect green design by facilitating the connection between the outside environment and home residents.
  • Rainwater Collection Technologies – Such systems can gather rainwater, allowing it to be repurposed for other uses that are non-potable. Collected rainwater can be used for maintaining the landscape during a drought or even be leveraged for everyday use within the home.
  • Renewable Energy Sources – Technologies such as solar panels and wind turbines can be used to generate energy to power the home. Energy-efficient lighting that is visually appealing with various light settings can be used to consume low amounts of electricity.
  • Cork and Natural Fibers – Cork flooring creates a warm and elegant energy while being a sustainable and renewable product. Natural fibers, such as textiles made from sustainable materials such as organic cotton, hemp, or bamboo, can be used to add a natural and calming feel to any space.

Buildings that follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards leverage strategies to reduce waste during use and maintenance, energy-efficient systems, and materials that are sustainable or green. Consider incorporating LEED standards into your home’s design plans and even becoming LEED certified.

Get Connected With A Design Team

If you are ready to enhance the look and feel of your home by leveraging sustainable design processes and techniques, as well as green elements, the design team at CRT Studio can support you. We will take into account your and your family’s ecological and personal well-being goals, along with your functional needs and aesthetic preferences, to design a space that optimizes your living and matches your lifestyle. Contact Rob Turner of CRT Studio at (407) 440-4446 or rob@crtstudio.com to get started today.