Energy efficiency is no longer a fancy word used only by architects and builders. More and more people are becoming aware of their impact on the environment. And as a result, they are aiming to adopt sustainable and energy-efficient practices in their homes.
The good part is, you don’t need a full-fledged renovation to be energy-efficient. You can do your part through a variety of small steps and changes. This blog post sheds light on energy-efficient materials (that directly or indirectly help save energy) you can use in interior design, so you — and your home decor — can be more responsible towards the environment!
Glass & Reflective Materials
Glass, both transparent and glazed, is one material that plays a major role in making homes energy-efficient. When used for the windows, it allows plenty of natural light to enter your space. This reduces the need for artificial lighting when the sun is out, hence saving energy — and utility bills.
Additionally, sunlight entering your space means it will naturally heat up the interior. To some extent, this can make up for the need of a heater, again saving energy. Tip: use large floor-to-ceiling windows for the rooms of your house that would appreciate a bit of heating. Spaces that are hot anyway would do well with lesser sunlight (and lesser use of glass).
Credit: Venich Interiors
Reflective materials also play a significant role in saving energy — and are a relatively easy way of becoming energy-efficient. An example is mounting mirrors to your walls. These reflect natural light, making the space feel (even) brighter during the day. The best place to use them is near windows, or any place they’ll receive maximum sunlight.
In addition to a brighter interior, you’ll get the added benefit of having a space that feels more roomy!
Another major category of energy-efficient materials is insulating materials. When you use insulation around your space, the exchange of heat is minimised between the interior and exterior. This means heat won’t barge into your space on a hot day — and it won’t be able to leave that easily on a cold evening! This reduces the need for artificial temperature regulators, such as air conditioners and heaters.
Suitable options to insulate your walls include:
One of the ways you can add insulation to existing walls is by injecting the material directly into the wall.
If you’re not in for a major project such as insulating the walls, you can add a thermal barrier through the furniture. It has less of an impact but makes for an easy way to insulate your space. Bonus points if you insulate with furniture in addition to using insulation for the walls!
You can insulate with furniture by placing high-back, overstuffed chairs and sofa sets against walls. Upholstered furniture items are ideal, but anything dense (such as a bookshelf filled with books) can do the trick.
Finally, you can insulate your space effectively with textiles, including carpets and window treatments. Consider thermal curtains to retain the heat in the winter months, whilst sheer, airy drapes will allow the sunlight and breeze to enter during the warmer months. On the other hand, carpets help keep your space warm by insulating the flooring. Area rugs are a good alternative if carpeting is out of your budget. They’re also easy to tuck away during the hot months!
Using recycled materials is another way to be energy-efficient. This is because manufacturing new products requires a lot of energy, and of course disposing of products creates waste. On the other hand, recycling old products and converting them into usable materials requires much less energy and avoids waste. So in the grand scheme of things, you’re playing your part in helping the planet! What’s more — it makes for a budget-friendly upgrade to your space.
Credit: Jarful House
This concept is especially easy to apply for your decor items. Recycle your old possessions and create new pieces for your home wherever possible. For example, when your mason jars have retired from the kitchen, give them a fresh coat of paint, pop in some blooms, and hang (or glue) them from a wooden sconce. The end product will be beautiful wall sconce vases!
If you have a tea set you’re considering retiring — don’t! Decant melted wax into the cups and let it cool with a wick placed within, and see your old cups turn into vintage candles to spruce (and light) up any part of your home!
With the world gradually running out of energy, especially that obtained from non-renewable resources, moving towards energy-efficient materials is crucial. This will help make us more responsible toward Mother Nature and our coming generations. And being energy-efficient isn’t always about major changes and renovations. You can do your part in small ways too, as exemplified in this blog post.
Together, we can make this world a better (and more sustainable) place — one step at a time!
Need some help with eco-conscious interior design? You can book one of our sustainability experts, such as Alicia and Idil! They can look at your space over video chat and give you tips, ideas and guidance on how to achieve your dream interior with sustainability in mind.