Exploring Green Interiors
Green Product Innovations
Resource consumption is constantly an issue of concern and interest among homeowners, and many product manufacturers are taking notice. Vendors realize that consumers are becoming more savvy about research, and in turn, we are seeing wonderfully innovative products targeting specific needs in new and exciting ways.
When retrofitting any home to save resources, some of the quickest and easiest products we specify are plumbing fixtures. Did you know that sink faucets account for approximately 15 percent of indoor household water usage in the United States every year? That equals nearly 1 trillion gallons of water. Whoa!
It only seems natural that a homeowner would want to change their faucets for something more efficient (and better for the earth and the budget). We often specify bathroom products with the WaterSense seal, meaning it has been verified by a third party for water efficiency. This technology has saved consumers, cumulatively, 125 billion gallons of water since 2006.
At this point in time, there are no kitchen faucets with the WaterSense seal, but many companies are striving to create more efficient faucets to reach that point. Delta Faucet Company has created its own Touch2O technology which allows easy on/off by a simple touch of the hand, and many of the styles look great, too.
As the debate continues over replacement of the incandescent bulb, we are seeing the fastest changes in all areas of lighting. As manufacturers struggle to conceive the “magic bulb” that produces light quality identical to the incandescent, we are seeing the greatest strides with LED fixtures.
The benefits are endless—nearly non‐existent heat output, better color rendition, and higher energy savings are at the top of the list. Besa Lighting offers an MR‐16 LED bulb, one of the notoriously “hot” bulbs. Look for this bulb in a variety of applications, from pendants to recessed cans.
We also often run into the heat issue in remodels because the housing units don’t diffuse the heat as well as the boxes used for new construction. If the bulb gets too hot, the unit will completely shut off as a safety measure. This is not the case with LED bulbs, as they are developed to diffuse heat. We anticipate prices will continue to drop as newer, better products hit the market.
Decorative fixtures such as hardware is another area where trends are developing. Richelieu Hardware has developed a line of anti‐bacterial hardware constructed from 95 percent recycled content. Made in North America, the anti‐bacterial treatment is in the coating, which is certified by the FDA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Green Building Council. The sleek design is coated with a finish that helps protect against a variety of bacteria, mold, and mildew. The technology works by suffocating, starving, and sterilizing the offending microbes on the surface.
This innovation was released just this year and will revolutionize the design industry in terms of healthcare and educational facilities, even in high traffic areas such as airports. And while the average homeowner’s kitchen may not be susceptible to as many different types of bacteria, we are very excited about the possibility of its use in homes. Parents, you know what we mean!
As design trends continue to evolve towards a greener, righter future, we can expect to keep seeing sustainable products like these pioneering the growth. And as they do, we will keep you posted!
—By Maggie McClure of Beth Haley Design
Editor’s Note: Beth Haley Design, an urban interior design firm, focuses on remodeling and revitalizing established homes, as well as creating stimulating, functional, sustainable spaces in new homes. Maggie McClure is an allied member of ASID (American Society of Interior Designers). E-mail your questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bethhaleydesign.com.