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Designing with Nature

written by Guest Blogger October 11, 2011

Our environments are just as important to our health as is the food we eat. When you feel good in the space you’re in, then you’re healthier in mind, body and soul. And according to research, adding nature can increase your health even more. Today guest blogger Pasha Lubeck gives us a few tips in how to design our homes with nature in mind.

Make no mistake about it, “going Green” is not a fad, it’s not a fashion trend, and it is not a passing fancy. Whatever reason is being flouted for going Green or for sustainability, the bottom line is plain common sense.

 

The Roots of the Green Movement

Sustainability and the Green movement is not a modern invention. Even as early as the start of the Industrial Revolution, when the use of machines started taking hold, there was already a push for critical thinking about the possible effects on the environment. In every major technological and socio-cultural change, the effects on mankind have been rapid and immediate, even as this was considered by some as a necessary side-effect and a small price to pay for progress.

Going to the very bottom of the concept, sustainability means that for any given area of land, or locality, you can only harvest so much without getting greedy. Feeding on greed and squeezing more production out of limited land would destroy the soil. At some point, the land would just self-destruct and would not produce any more.

Sustainable production means that you can produce the same amount of any item, every year and have the same top quality. Doing things this way, you’re sure of the consistent high quality of the produce, always and every time.

Sustainability: Here to Stay?

Sustainable alternatives are being developed every day – from energy generation to household appliances. There are now more consumer goods which are the result of energy-efficient Green manufacturing technology. With further developments along the line, a tipping point would be reached, and sustainability would become the norm.

Going Green does not mean going luddite. On the contrary, the sustainable design uses the latest high-technology and incorporating these in consumer products. Sustainable design respects nature while being on the cutting edge of technology.

Going Green at Home

As a designer, I try to integrate my beliefs as much as I can into decorating my home. There are many ways to go Green in your own house and below are just some of them:

1) Using energy-efficient lights/appliances

One underrated Green item which have garnered mainstream acceptance is the compact florescent light (CFL) bulb. It has been estimated that a regular CFL bulb can save up to 300 pounds of coal during its lifetime.

Passive heating technologies, as well as solar water heaters and energy-generating windmills are other ways to help preserve the earth. It’s also important to choose appliances that do not release harmful chemical compounds during operation or after its usable life.

2) Choosing eco-friendly furniture/furnishings

Having earthenware pots and woven baskets is a beautiful way to decorate the home in a very Green manner. The materials for both of these items are sustainable and thus, do not negatively impact the environment. Also, instead of using rugs made from wool, consider those made of alternative materials such as acrylic or bamboo.

Aside from helping the environment, there is a chic advantage to using Green materials. Traditional sustainable materials are done by hand with limited production runs. With this in mind, it becomes obvious that you can have artisanal quality and a unique product.

3) Having your herb garden

If you have kids, it is a good idea to make them understand why sustainability should be part of everyday life. Having an herb garden inside the kitchen is a great way of going Green in a very functional manner.

My boys learned sustainability first hand in the kitchen with the use of aromatics. I have aromatic plants in the garden and in small pots in the kitchen. These include rosemary, oregano, basil, and sage. Planting these herbs and some vegetables in the garden is dependent on the weather, but it’s well worth it. You can taste the freshness of the ingredients when you do your cooking.

Designing with nature involves careful selection of home goods and could mean exerting extra effort, but really, it is not that hard to do, especially when you think of the benefits!

About the Author

Pasha Lubeck is a freelance interior designer and a mother to two young boys. She is based in California and works part-time for Kichler Superstore. With a passion for the Green cause, she tries hard to incorporate natural elements into every aspect of her life.

Do you have any design tips in how we can use nature to improve our homes and increase our health and well-being?

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1 comment

Joe November 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

Great , posts and articles keep up the spirt , I especially enjoy your honestly towards lifes ups and down.

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