What is a sustainable design?
A truly sustainable design means considering the environmental impact of all construction materials right down to the paints and finishes.
Did you know that your choice of building materials and coatings may have long term ramifications on many levels?
1. Health. A sustainable home is not necessarily a healthy one. Have you considered why some paints do not smell as they use to? Yes, they are produced differently with VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) in mind but is this enough? What other additives are being used to mask this smell? Why are homeowners still reacting to products that have low VOC? Are you aware that many synthetic products continue to off gas for weeks and some, many months after the coating has dried?
2. Embodied energy. This is the total sum of energy of a products life cycle. The more natural a product is, the less it is processed, which means less energy and water usage in the process. If a products is made out of renewable raw materials, one can safely assume that not only is the product of no harm to the environment however the substrate that it is used on can be safely reused, recycled or composted.
3. Maintenance. Whatever the surface and whatever the product, keep in mind long term use. What does one need to do to keep the surface looking as optimal as possible? Does one need to redo the whole process again e.g. sanding back varnished floors. Does one need more products, if so how much?
In short, the buildings should be designed and built with as many sustainable features as possible. Choose wisely and not only will your health thank you for it however also your hip pocket. A win win situation.