Proven 'LEED' tips for the eco-conscious interior designer
LEED standards offer guidance on the design, build, maintenance or retrofit of energy-efficient buildings – and that is only the beginning. Did you know that interior designers can also be LEED accredited?
The development of clear certification standards for ‘green’ building
The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ) standards were developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, but projects around the globe can be certified under them. LEED certified buildings include commercial construction and private residences.
In fact, there are LEED standards for entire communities, even cities – yes, really! In 2017, Washington, D.C. in the USA was named as the first ‘LEED for Cities’ Platinum city in the world.
“LEED standards have pushed the global green building market forward progressively, with more than 93,000 registered and certified projects and more than 19 billion square feet of space worldwide.” - source
LEED standards can apply to interior deocration and interior architecture as well, even if they don't apply to the entire building. This enables project teams to create interiors that are better for the planet and for people.
Interior designers sometimes aren’t involved in the whole scope of the building operations. This modular approach helps them make a difference.
LEED for Interior Design and Construction (LEED ID+C)
LEED interior decoration standards cover a broad spectrum of uses. These span from cafes and retail spaces to office spaces and hospitality settings. It also looks at furniture design, with a strict attention to detail on indoor environmental quality.
LEED ID+C fit any project, either new builds or retrofits of existing structures.
An interesting highlight of LEED standards, from a sustainability point of view, is that they encourage the reuse of existing buildings, and reuse of existing materials. They focus on optimising the environmental performance of all products and materials.
Some of FibreGuard’s multipurpose fabric collections can add to the final LEED rating of an interior because of their clever construction. Our heavier multipurpose fabrics help to insulate rooms, contributing towards keeping them warm in the winter and cooler in the summer. This allows for lower heating or air-conditioning consumption overall and less energy wasted.
LEED v4.1 is an enhancement to the baseline LEED standards, especially designed to focus on the contemporary realities of interior environments. It places a strong emphasis on transparency of product specification data.
LEED accreditation for professional interior designers
A ‘green’ interior designer works closely with LEED standards to cultivate interiors that are better for the planet and the wellbeing of its occupants. Environmentally-conscious interior designers can also become LEED accredited as well.
“Earning a LEED AP credential provides credibility and validates a person’s sustainability knowledge and experience. Plus it means individuals become part of a global community of professionals dedicated to green building,” Micah Silvery explained in an Architectural Digest article. Silvery is the director at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). “Becoming a LEED AP requires individuals to develop a fundamental knowledge of green building concepts—including transportation, energy, water, and air quality.”
How LEED accreditation works
The accreditation system involves first passing the LEED ‘Green Associate’ exam, which covers the basics of the LEED Green Building Rating Systems. There are a number of handbooks and research resources to help interior designers pass this.
After that, there are other optional tests for specialisation. Once accreditation is awarded, it must be refreshed every two years, to keep up with the rapidly evolving world of construction.
Benefits of LEED accreditation for interior designers:
- Once accredited, interior designers can help their clients earn a LEED Homes Certification, as they are an important part of achieving that certification.
- Interior designers are skilled at making design decisions that are both beautiful and practical. LEED accreditation enables designers to look at the larger picture and see the build (or renovation) in terms of its place in the environment around it.
- It also helps them make more informed decisions when it comes to materials selection. For example, they can work with responsibly harvested wood, or specifically source local materials through an understanding of the carbon footprint of supplies. While yes, working with genuinely sustainable materials is wonderful, it quickly becomes irresponsible if you must fly those materials halfway across the world to your project.
FibreGuard fabrics for LEED accredited interior designers
Our furnishing fabrics are certified under the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®. This eco-label ensures that every component of our easy-clean fabrics has been tested for harmful substances and for every way they can enter the body. This includes volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
It's important understand that no product can be LEED approved, including FibreGuard's easy clean collections. However, our construction techniques, and our STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® certification helps interior designers achieve LEED certification in their projects.