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Style That's Sustainable

Environmental, Eco & Energy Saving Interior Design from Crawford Jones Associates

By its nature, the fit-out of an interior usually means installing new furniture, fittings and fabrics. However, as we all need to have greater concern for the environmental impact of our activities, it is surprising how a sustainable approach to interior design can significantly reduce the impact.

The use of reclaimed and recyclable equipment and materials, considering those that are less scarce and easily replaced, re-using existing items where possible and using materials from sustainable sources can all play a part. In addition, the interior can be designed to conserve as much energy as possible, from the layout through to the use of energy saving and low consumption electrical equipment and lighting.

At Crawford Jones Associates, we have been giving due consideration to environmental concerns for some years and certainly before the issues became so high profile. An example project is the reception area for Wealden District Council offices in Hailsham. In this design we successfully reutilised existing furniture, used joinery timber from a guaranteed sustainable source and used low energy light sources and control systems.

These are just some of the ways in which consideration for the environment and the need to conserve energy can be taken into account when designing a reception area, a restaurant, a hotel bedroom or a commercial office. Indeed, the need to respect the impact of our decisions and purchases on the environment has made many manufacturers and suppliers develop interior products which are much more sustainable and ecologically friendly.

As already mentioned, furniture can often be recycled. This is pertinent if the frames are chromium plated as the process is particularly unhealthy and should be minimised. Modern durable fabrics can now be made from recycled polyester yarn and there is even a fabric produced from reclaimed old military woollen jumpers.

It is now possible to trace the source of timber to ensure it comes from managed and sustainable forests. Fast growing products such as bamboo should also be considered. Bamboo has the advantage of naturally replenishing itself very rapidly and is being used in furniture and shop fittings.

There are many new developments in floor coverings. Tiles made from recycled marble chippings are durable and affordable. Carpet tiles taken from a worn interior can be teased, cleaned and re-dyed for re-use. Recycled bottle bank glass is used in decorative floor tiles and worktops.

With around half of carbon emissions being from business premises, and a high proportion of that from within office and commercial areas, conserving electrical consumption can not only save the environment and reduce global warming but also help to contain costs. Such measures as the careful positioning of computer equipment and other heat generating business machines and incorporating ventilation to reduce the need for air conditioning are now essential considerations.

Although energy saving lamps such as compact fluorescent bulbs are now widely available, they present a challenge to the interior designer to achieve illumination of the right intensity and mood.

Consideration should also be given to the specification of electrical equipment and machinery. Some personal computers are up to 70% more efficient than their predecessors. Some interior features such as fans and waterfalls can now be solar powered using photovoltaics.

Today, good interior design must also be sustainable. It must take into account the layout of a building to best contribute to saving both the environment and energy.

At Crawford Jones Associates, we have spent much time researching alternative suppliers for the elements that go to make up good interior design which are from sustainable sources and save on power consumption. Although there is often a small premium to pay, the longer term benefits, especially those related to reducing energy costs, will be recouped.

We always approach a project from the perspective of which existing elements can be recycled or re-used. This can even extend to sourcing previously used equipment for refurbishment and reutilisation. Again this can have cost saving benefits as well as contributing to reducing climate change and global warming.

For further information about Crawford Jones Associates please visit our website at Alternatively, for more details or a no obligation consultation, please call 01323 484242 or send an email to

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