Five Facts On USGBC LEED Accredited Interior Designers

USGBC LEED for Interior Designers

LEED Accreditation for Interior Designers

Having Your Interior Design Created By A USGBC LEED Certified Designer Means Having A Green Home.

Today we're all looking for a way to live a “greener” lifestyle. If you're considering going green at home, you've probably come across the acronym “LEED”  or “LEED Certified.” LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which is a program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council that provides third-party verification of green buildings.

Buildings earn LEED points in many areas; the goal is to create spaces that are both sustainable for the planet and healthier for the homeowner. LEED interior designers can help you to navigate the tricky waters of the certification process.

Five Facts About LEED Accredited Interior Designers

1. Just because a designer is green and LEED certified, aesthetics are still a priority. USGBC LEED interior designers are designers who have chosen to further their career credentials through training and study. You can expect the same level of taste and professionalism as from any top design pro.

First and foremost, you need to make the choices that fit your family needs and lifestyle. Reuse or repurpose items that still work, and when choosing new things, buy items that are high-    quality, and timeless. If an object falls apart or goes out of style, it's not a practical purchase. It doesn't matter if it's made with a high percentage of recycled materials or framed with wood from a sustainable forest. If it's poor quality, it will end up in the landfill. A LEED-certified designer is still an outstanding, thoughtful interior designer. Period.

2. LEED Designers are educated. They look beyond the labels to search out truly sustainable products and materials. Consumers can often be fooled by “greenwashing”  - or claims that a product is eco-friendlier than it is. A good LEED designer will help you to choose products that are sustainable.

LEED designers understand and are educated in the types of materials and finishes used in residential interiors. Their primary goal is to help their clients create homes that are not only stylish, but are healthy for the environment, and their families. By sourcing locally, sustainable products like responsibly harvested wood, and repurposing vintage furniture, they reduce waste. A LEED designer also understands that some products may be sustainable, for example, bamboo wood flooring, if you look closely, many of these products come from overseas. If materials have to travel from across the planet, is the carbon footprint low enough for these choices to be truly sustainable? If there's a choice that is sustainable and local, practical and beautiful, then it may be the best

3. LEED designers can help you to have a healthier home. If you have children or are expecting, a greener home is an excellent choice for your families health. Indoor air quality is an issue. As homes have become better insulation and sealed from the outdoors, indoor air quality has suffered. Indoor air pollution is a significant problem. A LEED designer can educate you on which products off-gas harmful chemicals and will work to eliminate or reduce the use of those products as often as possible. 

 For example, by using zero-VOC paints that emit no chemicals, or by designing custom eco-    friendly upholstery that are flame retardant free. These chemicals have been linked to a wide variety of health issues such as impaired fertility and IQ.

4. LEED designers embrace family hand-me-downs and vintage pieces. Often, our parents or grandparents were thrifty shoppers, making them in a sense green. If they have an old piece of furniture and would like you to have it, take a close look. It could be repurposed, used or beautifully displayed in your home.

Today, design has become somewhat homogenized, especially at the larger chain stores. Something that is handed down may have a family history, and it's probably much better quality than many objects currently being manufactured. For example, your parents mid-century modern teak furniture, or that Eames chair might look pretty outstanding in your home.

5. LEED design is not necessarily the right choice for every project. Some factors may be beyond your control when it comes to green home design, especially if you already own your home and are not starting from scratch. However, a LEED designer can still help you to make your home as green as possible, which is a good thing. 

LEED Home Certification: Some Additional Considerations

Homeowners have any number of reasons for seeking LEED certification. For some, they may feel that adhering to LEED standards will ensure a healthier environment for their family by improving air quality. Others may believe that LEED certification will increase their home's resale value down the road. Still, other homeowners may want certification to set a good public example for others to follow.

Whatever the reason, homeowners need to understand that there are a large amount of administrative as well as considerable associated costs to obtain official certification. A non-rated home can still incorporate green and sustainable strategies making it every bit as green as a certified home. Don't base your design decisions solely about certification. Make your choices as healthy as possible, Do what's right for you, your family and the planet, whether or not you participate in the certification process.

Typically an interior designer is brought into a project after a site is selected. At this point, the location and its attributes, like proximity to public transport, how drainage is handled, what is percentage is paved, etc., is pretty much out of the hands of the designer, and these things all count when seeking LEED credits. Even if you can't do much about the site, don't stop employing sustainable strategies whenever and where ever you can.

While LEED certification is the most recognized standard, thanks to the work of the U.S. Green Building Council, it's just one tool for measuring sustainability. There are other options out there as well, and homeowners may want to investigate alternatives and determine what is best for them.

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