Sustainable Interior Design: The Growth of Sustainable Interior Design

Sustainable interior design has jumped to the top of the agenda. Phil Benson investigates the UK hotel industry’s love affair with sustainable interior design.

Globally, hotel guests are becoming far more eco-minded about what they consume, how they travel and how their choices can impact upon the environment.

This movement has been picked up on by hotel interior designers who are developing sustainable concepts to help to set apart a brand’s distinctive trademark and product.

Incorporating natural materials and eco-friendly products into a hotel’s interior design and communicating how they have been ethically sourced is a fast-emerging trend. Being able to create a space that is simultaneously practical and aesthetically pleasing is a key challenge for interior designers. But, is this easy to achieve whilst also trying to be environmentally friendly?

It would be easy for people to assume that the use of recycled or re-usable products would lead to designs that are more modest or plain, but this only inspires interior designers to meet the challenge of creating expressive and culturally pertinent areas for people to enjoy.

This can also have a positive impact on retaining current customers and attracting a new generation of eco-minded guests.

Technology in Sustainable Interior Design

Today, many hoteliers are striving to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their sustainability credentials, leading many brands to implement new energy efficient technology.

Some design features that have been introduced include energy efficient roof plant rooms that can incorporate a garden, with hot tub, sauna or picnic facilities.

Many bathrooms are now being designed with walk in showers that are separate to the bath to encourage guests to take showers and save water.

Many hoteliers have installed energy efficient lighting, dimmers and motion detectors in their hotel rooms and corridors to reduce the property’s carbon footprint … and significantly reduce energy costs.

Other developments include ozone pools that use the ozone to disinfect water instead of chlorine and reduce operating and maintenance costs. Some hotels are using less-prominent signage, both internally and externally, to add to a greater sense of a natural environment.

An aesthetically impressive and functional interior can also be achieved using recycled materials and reclaimed or certified wood for decorative fixtures, plus fabrics, a popular accessory within hotels, can now be sourced from organic wools, cottons and materials such as hemp.

The benefits of an eco-friendly approach to hotel design and a more sustainable brand are clearly having an impact on the environment. Figures suggest that sustainable hotels are using 62 per cent less electrical energy and 13 per cent less combustion fuel than an average hotel.

By all accounts, sustainable interior design is here to stay: it makes financial sense, generates positive publicity and creates aesthetically pleasing interiors. For hoteliers, the sustainable interior design revolution is a “win-win” situation and the trend is therefore likely to continue to build in momentum.

By Phil Benson

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