LEED training programme starting soon!
LEED training programme starting soon!
LEED training programme starting soon!

Sustainability in Interior Design

Creating Healthy and Green Spaces

Sustainability in interior design, with a focus on both people and the planet, represents a holistic and responsible approach to creating interior spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also environmentally conscious and occupant-centric. Incorporating scientifically proven building features such as in the Green building rating systems becomes a driving force for designing sustainable and green interior design. Sustainable interiors in a building or space can have a significant positive impact on both the environment and the well-being of the people who inhabit it and promote long-term economic viability.

The increasing number of people using indoor facilities for most parts of the day necessitates providing fresh air and ventilation. Indoor spaces can become up to five times more contaminated than outside air due to poor ventilation and off gassing from interior materials. Here are some key principles and practices in sustainable interior design.

Sustainable interior design for better planet-abstarct depiction

Materials and Resources:

In the context of sustainability in interior design, the careful selection of materials and resources is essential to reduce environmental impact and create more eco-friendly, responsible, and ethical interior spaces. Various materials are involved in a complete interior fit-out. These include wet-applied products like paints, sealants, adhesives and other components include furniture, carpets, wall panels, fenestration coverings, composite wood, ceilings, and insulation. The selection of  materials is an important aspect of creating a sustainable interior project. 

Choosing materials with less embodied energy (which is the total energy consumed from a product’s manufacturing, transportation, installation, and use), will reduce the carbon footprint of the project. Using environmentally preferred materials with characteristics such as sourcing materials within 100 miles of the project, high percentages of recycled content in materials like plywood, MDF, carpets, and ceilings, and using materials from rapidly renewable resources (which can be replenished within 10 years) plays a vital role in creating sustainable interiors. Additionally, opting for products with third-party certifications like Cradle to Cradle, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), or GreenGuard to ensure they meet the sustainable criteria.

Using products with complete life cycle assessments and product transparency can help the project to promote healthy interiors. Selecting materials with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and low emitting materials and not off-gas after installation in the project will reduce indoor contaminants and improve the air quality.

Indoor Environmental Quality:

Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is a crucial aspect of interior design, as it directly impacts the health, well-being, and comfort of building occupants. It encompasses various elements, air quality, occupant control, daylighting, exterior views. To ensure occupant satisfaction, it’s vital to provide air circulation and maintain clean air filters in enclosed and air-conditioned spaces. These elements collectively enhance the well-being and comfort of individuals within interior environments.CO2 monitors in densely occupied areas and measuring relative humidity and air temperature become integral parts of indoor environmental quality. Providing Thermal control and lighting controls for occupants, result in providing comfort there by  increasing human productivity. Automation for controlling thermal and lighting fixtures also helps reduce unnecessary electricity use. Providing sensor lighting ,scheduled and programmed lighting for specific needs can further help in minimizing energy usage.

In interior design, providing quality views refers to the deliberate and strategic planning of visual connections between the interior of a space and the outdoor environment. Quality views can significantly enhance the overall ambiance and experience of a room. A view with visual connection to the outdoor environment brings about tranquility and enhances mental health.

Incorporating indoor plants aligns with the principles of biophilic design, which aims to create a strong connection between humans and nature. This design approach can improve occupant well-being and satisfaction. Indoor plants can improve oxygen levels and purify the interior air improving the air quality. Some indoor plants  help in reducing VOC levels in the air and add to the aesthetics of the interior design. Choosing indoor plants based on the climate and  lighting helps in their easy maintenance. Plants like lilies, money plants, anthuriums, and ferns are some indoor plants that can be used in residences, offices, or any interior fit-outs.

Energy Use:

Efficiently designing daylighting and artificial lighting is one of the key points for reducing energy usage in Interior Design. Daylighting has synergies with reducing energy usage and providing good indoor environmental quality, which promotes the well-being of the occupants. Artificial lights can be carefully selected for the project, which consume less energy and produce less heat compared to incandescent lights. Using compact fluorescent lights, high-intensity discharge lamps, and LED lights is the new norm for reducing energy usage. Installing an adequate number of lighting controls for individual users, such as photo sensors, timers, occupancy sensors, and advanced lighting controls, can significantly reduce lighting costs, as these devices will shut off lights when they are not needed and prove to be energy efficient.

Water Use:

Total water use can be decreased by implementing strategies such as restricting the flow of water through fixtures, using dual flush toilets, low-flow showerheads, and aerators for faucets. Coupling faucets with sensors and aerators will reduce water usage and lower the standard flow rate of faucets and showerheads by 50-75%. To quantify water use, toilets are measured in gallons per flush, and faucets and showerheads can be measured in gallons per minute (GPM) in IP units. Waterless urinals are also a great option for water savings with proper maintenance.

              With these principles and strategies ,sustainable Interiors can be achieved by creating awareness among people. Educating clients about the benefits of green interior design and the long-term value it provides is crucial.  Choosing sustainable  materials which do not incur additional costs will be a good   proposition. Sustainable designs not only reduce environmental impact but can also result in cost savings over time through reduced energy consumption and maintenance.

By combining aesthetics, innovation, technology, and sustainable materials, interior designers can create spaces that are not only beautiful but also environmentally responsible. This holistic approach meets the needs and desires of the present and also ensures a sustainable and resilient future for both people and the planet.


 Bhagavathi Kishore,B.Arch,LEED AP (BD+C)

 Principal Architect , Studio Green Adobe

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top