Green Interior Design of Buildings at IIDEX: New Products Enhance Sustainability of Commercial Premises

Care for the environment and a growing interest sustainable buildings were prominent at the 2009 IIDEX/NeoCon exhibition and conference held in Toronto, Canada.

For the fifth year, the event included the Green Building Festival conference and show. The ‘green’ exhibit space was larger than in previous years and included displays of products and technology for use in residential, commercial and public buildings to reduce energy and water consumption and promote use of recyclable materials.

An expanded section of the show dedicated to lighting stressed the environment with displays of low-power LED lighting.

Throughout the main exhibit, traditional products such as floor coverings and office furniture showed how recyclable and ecologically responsible materials and methods are becoming more numerous for designers, architects and facility managers to use for development and operation buildings with reduced impact on the environment.

Sustainable Floor Coverings

Carpet tile is inherently environmentally-responsible. Tiles can be fitted into irregular floor spaces obstructions with much less waste than broadloom. Designs in recent years have produced random patterns that match for an overall pleasing effect. Tiles from different dye lots can be mixed, also reducing waste, and tiles in high traffic areas can be replaced without noticeable difference.

New patterns of carpet tile were shown by InterfaceFLOR and Shaw Contract. Both manufacturers use a high proportion of recycled material in their tiles.

Linoleum is an inherently-sustainable floor covering, made from all-natural, renewable materials. Wide varieties of vibrant colors are available. Both Forbo Flooring and Johnsonite showed examples of linoleum with surface treatments that resist dirt and promote care for the environment by saving on cleaning materials and water.

Linoleum flooring can be highly resistant to stains and dents and can have anti-bacterial properties.

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Sustainable Bamboo Fabric

Fabrics for furniture are also becoming more sustainable. Furniture manufacturer Teknion, which has taken the lead in ‘green’ design for several years, showed PolyBamboo seating fabrics made from recycled polyester and bamboo. Bamboo is fast-growing and a highly-renewable natural material. The fabric shown by this manufacturer weaves fiber from bamboo as an accent in woven polyester that itself is produced in a process that limits release of waste water and gas.

Energy Conservation Lighting

In the lighting section of the exhibit, new LED lighting showed that this low-energy form of illumination can now produce high light output. Fawoo demonstrated a lamp that draws 36 watts but is equivalent in light output to a 150 to 200 watt metal halide lamp. Comparable to fluorescent lamps in power drawn, the LEDs shown by this company and SensoLighting last five times longer. Purchase prices are 10 to 15 times those of conventional lighting but are falling by about 10% per year, Mark Luo, of Fawoo, told this reporter.

Sustainable Low Water Consumption

Water consumption in many cities is becoming costly, requiring new water treatment plants to be built. Bathroom and toilet fittings that reduce water usage in residences and commercial buildings were on display by Toto and Kohler. Both showed designs of toilets that, by improving flow through the toilet, reduce the amount of water needed per flush.

Sustainable Interior Design

These and other products shown at IIDEX demonstrated that sustainable interior design of residential, commercial and public buildings not only contributes to protecting the environment. It can also save purchase costs of products, with some exceptions, and can definitely save on-going operations costs. By their modern designs, these products also contribute to the esthetics of homes and workplaces. Sustainability can be beautiful.

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