Susan Van Meter
5 Benefits of a Sustainable Home
STYLISH . SUSTAINABLE . SMART
Now more than ever it’s not just about a stylish-looking home - but that it is healthy and functions to improve your wellbeing.
Improving the lives and well-being of the people using the spaces I create has always been elemental to my design process and ethos.
However, a budding question always weighed on my mind...
What can I do for the planet?
The environment has long been a passion of mine; caring deeply for all living beings and the home of our future generations.
I have been incorporating eco-friendly practices into my life for years and into my business here and there. I had wanted to do more but fooled myself into believing that there wasn’t enough interest in sustainable design.
However, the lockdown gave me an opportunity and the inspiration to pivot my focus to sustainable design.
I committed to offering stylish, sustainable, and smart designs that don’t cost the earth; to let people know that sustainable doesn’t mean compromising style.
Are you interested in creating spaces that function to
enhance your lifestyle and are kind to the planet?
✨ Here are the 5 benefits of Sustainable Design ✨
It makes sense that having sustainable and green products around us, in our homes and places of work, will have positive health benefits. Many of us don't realise that a great deal of the standard products we use are manufactured with chemicals that give off VOC's or volatile organic compounds, in adhesives, paints, flooring, building plasterboards and general building materials. It has been proven these chemicals can emit vapours for several years and cause respiratory problems.
It's not just product either that can make us healthier. When good design principles have also adopted that focus on air and water quality, good light source, mobility, flow, and comfort in the home or workplace, the added benefits of these principles can also be felt.
One of the obvious ways of buying sustainable products is to buy British. We have a vast talent of great British Designers and manufacturers, here in the UK, designing and making some really nice furniture, lighting, flooring, kitchens, and hardware, the list is endless and in fact, covers all aspects of products for our interiors. You might think them expensive, but that is not always the case, some are, and some aren't.
The benefit of buying locally means there is less of a CO2 impact because the products are not being shipped by air or sea. (CO2 is the gas that is causing global warming.) And, we are supporting our communities and country.
However, just because a product is made here in the UK doesn't mean it's always healthy and sustainable, employing the right manufacturing processes and materials is essential to be recognised as eco-friendly or sustainable.
Many of the manufacturers I use here in the UK have adopted these processes and principles in their everyday lives; it's not easy but the long-term benefits to the customer, planet, and their bottom line, are worth it.
KIND TO THE PLANET
Buying product from companies that make sure their materials are sustainably sourced and their manufacturing processes are ethical and clean, protects our environment, making sure natural habitats and wildlife are protected and everyone in the supply chain is treated fairly.
As an example, it's important to know the source of the woods we use in our homes. Ikea has been under a lot of criticism in the last few years due to the destruction of ancient forests in Bulgaria, (illegal) they have since changed where they source their wood which now all comes from responsibly managed forests. Keep a lookout for the FSC logo. (Forestry Stewardship Council)
Use your purchasing power and make sure your money is going towards positive change. By supporting eco-friendly products which are less damaging to the environment, you’re encouraging companies to source and produce their products in a sustainable way.
CONNECTION TO NATURE
Another uptrend at the moment is Biophilic design. This design principle has been around since the 80's and it means 'Love of Nature". Due to the pandemic many people have looked toward nature for inspiration sense of peace and connection. Many of us have been able to push the re-set button and reconsider their priorities, which for many is to be closer to nature.
Not all of us are able to uproot and move to the Cotswolds, so the next best thing is to bring aspects of nature into the home, we can do this by using natural materials, such as stone, wood, linen, cotton, non-toxic paints etc, all being sustainable. Having lots of plants and using the earth tones all help to create a natural environment.
Our homes can still be stylish and glamorous, by being informed and making the right choices.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT
You may be surprised to know that adopting a healthy and sustainable home can in fact increase its resale value of it.
If you think about it, walking into your home will have an immediate effect that feels more balanced and comfortable.
The finishes, furnishings, and colours will also help to make you feel more at ease.
If the lighting source and layouts use the Circadian method, it can improve sleep patterns and overall health. It seems so many of us have problems with sleep which can lead to depression.
If you have decided to install smart electrical and heating systems, this can be a huge plus for many homeowners as it reduces energy costs, helps with budgets, and reduces the impact on the earth's resources.
Overall, it has been shown adopting sustainable design principles and product can
add between 5-8% to the value of your home!