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Sustainable Interior Design: Environmental-Friendliness in the Home

By: Amanda Ray Filed under: Interior Design

April 22, 2015

Environmentally-friendly interior design doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. Jody Luna, M.Arch, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Interior Design at The Illinois Institute of Art—Schaumburg, explains how anyone can integrate sustainable design into their plans. Jody has over 15 years of experience working in commercial and residential design, and specializes in corporate interior build-outs and residential renovations. She’s been a faculty member at The Illinois Institute of Art—Schaumburg for seven years.

The Art Institutes: What tips do you have for people who want to integrate sustainability into their interior design plans?

Jody: The best advice I give is to think about longevity. Think about how long the space will be around and what will happen to it.  Consider the materials that are specified for the space and how they impact the environment.  Another aspect to consider is where the products come from. Are they locally produced or do they have to be shipped from far away?

The Art Institutes: What trends in sustainability are popular now? What materials are popular?

Jody: A big trend is using rapidly renewable materials and locally produced materials. Today’s popular materials are bamboo, 3Form sustainable building materials and architectural hardware, and metals.

The Art Institutes: How would you advise people to balance sustainability and a budget?

To be truly sustainable, a project should not be expensive. Creativity is the best way to counteract the expenses of a sustainable material.  Figure out what is important to the project and focus on those aspects only.

The Art Institutes: How do your Interior Design students gain experience working in sustainable design? 

This quarter, we worked with an organization called “Schools for Sustainability,” to design an aquaponics system that was built in Monte Plata, Dominican Republic. This is a real-world situation where the students designed a system for a site—some of my students joined me in the Dominican Republic to actually build the system.  I typically try to bring in real-world situations so that students are more connected to the projects and outcomes of their work.


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