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Green Design - what to look out for when putting together an interior which isn't damaging the environment or our health (Part 1 - Sustainable Timber)

August 11, 2017

I'm very passionate about green design - considering the environment, the sustainability of the materials in the products I source, and also the health impact of products we bring into our homes.  It's a fine line to walk, making sure products are truly environmentally friendly, and also still of a high quality (and it takes a lot of research to read between the lines and spot the retail bullshit which often masks what is really going on).  

 

Seeing as this is a blog, and posts are meant to be short and sweet, I thought I'd write a little series and discuss some of the basic things I look at when I'm putting together a green interior.   It's a bit of an eye opener and hopefully might encourage you to go that little bit further when you're researching that new sofa or are re-painting your home.

 

Sustainable materials - Timber

 

My favourite - ultra-versatile, natural, homely - timber.  You can use it for flooring, staircases, vanities, kitchens,

tables, chairs, book cases, desks, bowls, utensils.... pretty much anything...  and it is such a beautiful material to use in a home environment.  You know you're onto a winner when the first thing you want to do is run your hand over it and admire its uniqueness!  Picking the right timber for the application, and with the right treatment, it is also non-toxic and highly durable.  There is a common misconception that timber isn't an environmentally friendly product - there are millions of trees being cut down every day, across the world, after all, and no one knowingly wants to support deforestation and the destruction of millions of habitats.  

 

When we talk about sustainable timber though, we are talking about timber which has been responsibly harvested - when one tree is cut down for use, another is planted to replace it.  It doesn't stop there though. Sustainable timber also ensures that there is no damage to the environment surrounding the forests, or to native plants and wildlife.  To be classified as Australian sustainable timber, the timber must come from an Australian certified sustainable forest.  Look out for certifications from EcoSelect or Good Environmental Choice (just a couple of those out there - but make sure it is actually certified before you buy it!). Bamboo is also classed as a sustainable hardwood because it grows very fast and is therefore incredibly renewable - must faster than normal timber - however I'd probably class it as "renewable" rather than sustainable due to the amound of deforestation and the impact the farming of bamboo has on the areas in China where the plantations are.  The beauty about Australian timber is it's also much kinder on the earth from a transporting perspective - it might only need to travel 2000kms to get to you, rather than 2000km to an ocean, across an ocean and a further 2000km from arrives in port to you.

 

My top pick:

If you're considering having cabinetry made, or buying timber furniture, have a look at www.ingraindesigns.com.au - their work is AMAZING - and it's using reclaimed, recycled and sustainable Australian timber!! 

 

 

 

 

 

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