It’s official—sustainable design is here to stay; and perhaps the most noticeable proof of this can be seen in the proliferation of green products that adorn the more than 14,000 LEED®- (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified or registered buildings in the United States and in 30 other countries around the world, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Indeed, the products and
furnishings that are specified in green projects contribute to LEED points and can have a significant impact on indoor air quality and, by extension, human health.
Unfortunately, the growth of green products in the marketplace has also created an environment ripe for greenwashing. As a result, a flood of EcoLabels, third-party certification programs and related terminology have inundated the market, and sorting through this veritable maze of information has become increasingly complex and time-consuming for A&D professionals.
Recognizing the need to provide interior designers and architects with the tools they need to make informed choices when specifying sustainable products, Interiors & Sources magazine, in partnership with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), held the second annual Bloom Awards, honoring products that embody both aesthetics and environmental responsibility. A distinguished panel of judges—including Rachelle Schoessler Lynn, ASID, CID, LEED AP, partner at Studio 2030; Kirsten Childs, ASID, LEED AP, director of interiors at Croxton Collaborative; and Kirsten Ritchie, PE, LEED AP, director of sustainable design at Gensler—judged dozens of entries in categories ranging from Furniture and Flooring to Textiles/Wall Coverings and Innovative Materials, against the following stringent criteria:
- the extent to which the product is environmentally
innovative and aesthetically pleasing;
- how the product promotes sustainability, including, but not
limited to, energy savings, recycled content, recyclability,
Life Cycle Assessments, and end-of-life management;
- materials selection within the manufacturing process
(such as substitution of hazardous and toxic chemicals
for those that are less harmful);
- resource efficiency within the manufacturing process
(particularly water and energy use);
- recycling and waste management within the manufacturing
- recycling and waste management after the product has
completed its life-cycle.
“A number of submissions really addressed sustainable design issues as described by the rules of the awards program,” notes Childs. “We want to encourage the concept of a sustainable approach to design as mainstream—there is no viable
reason why sustainable design should not be profoundly beautiful, functional and imaginative.”
The 2010 Bloom Award winners represent some of the most innovative and sustainable products on the market today. We hope more products like these continue to blossom in the commercial interiors market.