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Going green is a huge deal today, and one of the most important certification programmes is called LEED.

Leadership in energy and environmental design or LEED is the green building certification programme by a non-profit U.S. green building council (USGBC). This includes a set of rating systems that are used for design, operation, maintenance and construction of green building, structures and homes that are built with the aim of sustainability along with environmental protection and optimal use of resources.

LEED is changing the way building and communities are planned today and LEED- certified buildings are high on functionality and resource efficiency as they use moderate amounts of water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and well as being financially viable.

As per the USGBC there are nine key points that are measured by LEED. They are water efficiency, location and linkages, awareness and education, innovation in design, sustainability, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and regional priority.

But just because there are these parameters for LEED certified interiors, it doesn’t make them tedious; in fact, there’s a lot you can do within these parameters and as per your own style and needs.

I have learnt through my experience and practical research, is that, all you need is an open mind, a creative outlook and a designer who is dynamic enough to execute and implement a refined vision. Here are some of my most cherished lessons that you need to remember while working for LEED certified interiors.

1. Make practical design decisions:

Designs for places like home or office should be extremely practical and user-friendly without compromising on comfort and aesthetics. I feel that keeping in mind the durability of items and take into account the daily wear and tear, is essential.

2. Don’t trust labels:

Many product labels could use words like green-washing and eco- friendly. I suggest you do not go by these labels alone as sometimes they may be marketing gimmicks. Look beyond brands and labels too, undertake comprehensive product research, at every step.

3. LEED interiors :

It also mean having a healthy home which would also imply clean indoor-air, reduced use of harmful gas and chemicals and other hazardous material.

4. Reuse and repurpose:

To keep wastage at bay make sure you try and repurpose your old furniture that can be used in multiple ways instead of just discarding and investing in new pieces. Sometimes even hand-me- downs can be useful for your interiors and can even end up saving a lot of your money.

In India, however LEED certification hasn’t taken off yet but the trend is catching up with architects and interior designers who have worked in the field of sustainable design and are inclined to pursue the subject further. In India we also have the Indian Green Building Council Accredited Professional (IGBC AP) credential that also has similar value in terms of sustainable designing.

I feel that over time, with India’s real estate and interior designing industry on the rise, an inevitable time shall come, where India will also need to go Green and follow certain standards to ensure we have our own contribution into making the world a better and Greener place.

              

In my opinion, in this age of industrialization, global warming and high levels of pollution.  “going green” is something that should be our biggest concern, to protect the world we live in. But choosing the greener, more energy-efficient option comes at a cost. To build sustainable indoors that have the right balance of effectiveness and affordability, and I am going to offer some important tips I learnt from my experiences that can be helpful for you, and the environment, as a whole.

A space that consumes less electricity, emits lower levels of carbon dioxide and takes up less resources to maintain are considered greener options. The cost of incorporating energy-saving devices into old structures can seem high but are only so because the structure was not originally built to fit these facilities. When designed from scratch, going green can actually be cost-effective and easier to implement too, as I later discovered. A 2007 survey by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development also uncovered that, on average, green buildings were thought to cost 17% more than conventional buildings. Increasing the perception that greening costs a lot more. But trust me, if done correctly, eco-friendly approaches can not only be great for the environment but also help you glaze your pockets.

An ideal home should be energy efficient; which means – well insulated, appropriately-sized, with proper orientation, energy star appliances and optimal lighting. This will help save you money every month on your electricity bills, as you consume lesser energy, which leads to lesser emission of greenhouse gases, which translates to making the world a greener place.

Building a healthy home in terms of low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), good ventilation and healthy finishes is also essential. This will improve your quality of life and keep your abode free from mould, allergies, and toxic fumes. Using durable materials is also a big plus. This will minimize your maintenance costs as these last longer and need fewer repairs in the future. In my opinion, if you have to choose, go for oak instead of bamboo, paper stone instead of granite, and always pick solar panels.

Using recycled items is also becoming a popular choice that saves you money and keeps the wastes to a bare minimum. Glasses can be refurbished as candle stands, saris as curtains and recycled water can be used for toilet flushing.

You can also reduce electricity consumption by using LED lighting and motion/IR sensor activated lights which will always be switched off if nobody’s in the room.

Use low-flush (or dual flush toilets) and low flow sinks to minimize water wastage. Similarly, ice storage can be used for cooling systems instead of using power during peak rate hours to cool your building, you actually use the refrigeration systems at night (when electricity is cheaper) to freeze water. The next day, that ice is used for the cooling system.

There is a great need to go green right now, for the sake of social welfare and sustainable development, and we, as professionals and individuals who are now capable of impacting the world at a global level with every action and reaction, must begin at home.

There are many more ways to be green along with being cost-effective all you need is the right guidance and together, we all can make the world a better place.