Sustainable Interior Design: Energy Saving in 2021

| Riccardo Del Bello | Sustainability and Well-Being

Hello everyone, this week I would like to talk about sustainability for this year that just started but giving the topic a different spin. Mostly the one of energy saving. Because when we think about sustainable interior design our mind usually goes straight to renewable materials, recycling, and greenery.

But what can technology do for us? And what are those areas that are less obvious, but an interior designer should always consider whether for a residential or commercial space?

First, in case you missed them, below are some other articles on the topic that might interest you:

_5 Top Material for a Sustainable Interior Design in 2020

_An Introduction to Biophilic Design

_6 Best Sustainable Materials for your Interior Design Flooring

_5 Principles of Sustainable Interior Design

Now let’s get on with today's one. Eco-friendly means also energy-efficiency, but while a lot is done at the engineering and architecture level, quite a bit can be done at the level of interior design as well.

Thermal insulating materials

Insulation from the weather and other external elements can be significantly improved through interior materials. Cork is a great renewable material for thermal insulation. It is more effective than timber or bamboo while still being durable and extremely versatile. This is a great way to save energy and money that would otherwise go wasted on bills.

materials

Also, ever thought about the ceiling and roof? For your ceiling, there is a wide choice too, panelling in various materials is available too. So, especially for top-floor spaces, it can be a functional and aesthetically pleasing choice. Then, while not being strictly about an Interior space (even though its benefits reflect on the indoor as well), the external can become a functional tool as well. Garden rooftops are a great solution to save energy and add some greenery. Add the right garden furniture and you’ll also have a nice area to hang out!

Windows

Windows too of course play a role in the thermal efficiency of an indoor space. The first factor to consider is the frame. While metal, steel, or aluminium are exceptionally durable and don’t need much maintenance, they are probably the worst choice in terms of energy saving.

On the contrary, wood, vinyl, or composite materials work much better for thermal insulation and are structurally resistant too.

As for glass and glazing, the common solution is using insulated windows that are composed of two to three glass panes with a sealed space in the middle creating natural insulation. There is also the option of low-emissivity or Low-E glasses. This consists of a super-thin coating applied on the glass which reflects infrared and ultraviolet rays without reducing the light that passes through. Also, the coating works both on the outside and inside, preserving the temperature of a room and reducing the energy waste by 30% and up to 50%.

Interesting and innovative technical solutions are also electrochromic and thermochromic glasses.

The first is a technology that allows to darken a window tint on demand. Between the two glass panes, thin layers of ceramic materials are applied. Then an electric current causes a lithium ions transfer from a layer of ceramic to the other making the glass tint. The interruption of said current makes the glass clear again. A similar technology is also used in polymer-dispersed liquid-crystal panels. A more recent innovation can achieve this result without any electricity. Thermochromic glasses, in fact, become darker as the sunlight and outside temperature raise.

Lights

Lights too can help to lower your bills as well as your house or commercial space carbon footprint. Two are the main types of energy-efficient light that you can utilise. LED (which stands for light-emitting diode) and CFL or compact fluorescent lamp with the first being by far the best in terms of efficiency and lifespan. These two types of light reduce greatly the energy consumption compared to normal incandescent light bulbs.

 

 Incandescent 

   CFL   

   LED   

Watts X 1000 Lumen

75

20

12

Cost per bulb

1

2

4

Lifespan

1200

8000

25000

Naturally, when it comes to lighting, the other way to reduce energy waste and environmental impact is to use natural light in the best way possible. Letting the sunlight in from multiple sources and having it well distributed will reduce the need for artificial light when possible. Some solutions could be using high windows, reflective surfaces, or light shelves.

Clayallee Lounge led lights

AI

Like in many other fields of our life AI and IoT are improving our homes' usability and functionality. Interior heating is one great example where now many modern systems already work independently once set up.

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning) by taking data through IoT, AI can develop an algorithm learning our behaviour and life patterns applying heating when needed further reducing wastes and our bills along with the carbon footprint of our homes and commercial spaces.

Additionally, pushed by the pandemic aftermath vocal commands are also being adopted more and more. Numerous appliances can be controlled this way now, from thermostats to kettles, shades, lights, vacuum cleaners, door locks, TVs, and more.

This tech and tricks can be applied in any kind of interior space, as long as they are adopted properly according to the required objective. It is important to continue the research and the improvement of sustainable technology and solutions to reduce our carbon footprint and make our interior more beautiful and closer to our nature.

I hope these tips were useful! Let me know via email or social what you thought about it and if you have other interesting solutions to save energy in your interior!


Riccardo Del Bello

Written by: Riccardo Del Bello

Riccardo is the marketing manager and partner of A Designer at Heart. He is in charge of the development and brand definition of the company for its marketing activities.

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