Green, Well & Timeless Interior Design – What’s the Difference?
Over the last 20 years green building ratings such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) have become the way developers and corporate institutions have been able to identify themselves as environmentally responsible. Now Wellness is a new trending topic in the realm of certifications. What is the difference and are green and well interiors sustainable?
The concept of sustainable development can be traced to the energy (especially fossil oil) crisis and environmental pollution concerns of the 1960s and 1970’s. It refers to the structure and process of the building’s life-cycle: from design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and demolition.
Green building issues for interior design have always focused on mostly on being resource efficient and having a responsible ecological footprint. For example, use less water, energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Certifications such as LEED ID+C is a third party benchmarking system for green building for interiors. The key concepts of LEED encompass Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovations in Operations & Regional Priority. Benefits include cost savings relating to energy and maintenance, tax reduction in some countries, marketing content and increased property value.
Wellness for interior design is a new emerging movement that places health and wellness at the center of design, construction, facilities and operations decisions. Wellness interior spaces are focused more on the health and wellbeing of people rather than the building. A recent certification made popular by Delos called the WELL Building standard is the first bench marking system to focus on this. The key concepts of the Well Building Standard are Mind, Comfort, Fitness, Light, Nourishment, Water and Air. Benefits are focused on increased employee performance, less sick leave and turn over due to the assumption of increased health.
These two systems are meant to complement each other rather than compete with each other. For example for water, LEED’s focus is water efficiency and the WELL Building Standard’s focus is water purification. However, it is obvious that two systems were created because neither one of them address all aspects in demand today. This evolution of building addressing green and wellness through third party certification allows companies to benchmark their efforts and creates awareness and value. However sustainable design has one more complex aspect that has yet to be explored by third party verification.
Great design is sustainable design: Great design is meant to be timeless and will be preserved as long as possible before it is demolished and completes its life-cycle. Rather than considering green building design as an externality, interior designers must think about it as a set of principles for great design. This includes better user experience and comfort, doing more with less to enable the building to easily achieve peak performance, and maximizing the effectives of durable, quality materials. Rather than the well-known edict “form follows function,” it’s time to think “form follows environment.” 
According to Jonathan Chapman of the University of Brighton, UK, sustainable design includes the important element of emotionally durable design which reduces the consumption and waste of natural resources by increasing the resilience of relationships established between consumers and products.”
Emotional durability may be the key to timelessness which in turn is the longest lasting design. It includes a unique personal history, is perceived as autonomous, has a strong emotional connection to the user, inspires connections beyond just the physical relationship and ages with character through time.
At Liquid Interiors our “Human Spaces” are interiors designed by implementing our holistic philosophy that encompasses Emotional Durability, Environmental and Health Impacts. Our goal for each project is to create timeless, personalized and meaningful interiors for our clients that improve the environment and their health. Thus, Evolving Human Space to meet the needs of Urban Living for today and tomorrow.