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Thursday, June 25, 2009

How Green is your Fabric?

Now these photos are just plain ridiculous. This is just a bit of my odd humour. However, on a more serious note: green textiles are becoming more apart of the design textile industry. In Commercial design, LEED standards for all aspects of design including textiles are becoming extremely important.Residential Designers can do their part also. As I have written in my blog before. Buying antiques and vintage, going to consignment shops are very important to green design.If you have an interest in this and your interior designer is not well versed in "green design" It is a great opportunity to learn together. There are even upholsterers that use materials that are green. The following are some facts to consider when purchasing fabric for your home or office. The information below was taken from Pollack Associates green statement for their textile company.
Protecting our environment, and its present and future inhabitants, is the essential and vital goal of sustainability. This large and complex field looks at our marketplace, at the way we grow, make and consume products, and strives to incorporate an awareness of the impact of our choices at every stage of the process. There is no one "right" way to be environmentally responsible, but there are a growing number of intelligent choices and best practices.

The concept of sustainability combines concern for the well-being of our planet with the needs of continued human development. The World Commission on Environment and Development defines it as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". When the design process is informed by this imperative, the central concern is to assess the consequences, both short and long-term, of any transformation of the environment. Design must also aim to eliminate waste, to use renewable energy, to reduce toxic emissions and to leave as light a "footprint" on the environment as possible.

How "green" is my fabric?
There is considerable debate on how best to describe and compare the environmental attributes of one textile versus another. Is the presence of toxic emissions that affect indoor air quality the primary issue? Some people believe that recycled or recyclable content is most important, or that natural fibers from renewable natural resources are best. Others feel strongly that the only thorough way to evaluate a product is to do a "Life Cycle Assessment", or LCA, a comprehensive examination of a product's environmental and economic impact throughout its entire lifetime, beginning with extraction of raw materials.

I think it is our responsibility as designers to be more informed to help our clients understand what all of this" stuff" means and how it truly effect us. As consumers we all should be informed. That is one more step that we can do toward making our planet healthier.
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