HPS presents ONEder Grant Research
Can new decision-making tools enable the interior design community to reduce client carbon footprints using life cycle analysis? Can new decision-making tools enable the interior design community to reduce client carbon footprints using life cycle analysis?
As important as the continued progress on energy and operational efficiency in the built environment, the efforts to reduce carbon emissions and counter climate change by taking on embodied carbon has become the biggest challenge yet.
While embodied carbon as a result of core and shell construction may appear to have the biggest impact, the continuous turnover of the interior environment potentially makes a much greater “contribution” to the carbon footprint of the building. We believe, for this reason, the design industry needs a standardized way to measure the carbon footprint of interior materials.
Thoughtful selection of interior materials presents an opportunity to influence the overall quantity of embodied carbon in the life span of a building – leading to better outcomes and smaller carbon footprints. While tools like Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) software have begun to support conscientious design decision making – and though progress has been made in Building Life Cycle Impact Reduction (LCIR) – interior design analysis tools and strategies are still lagging. r goal is to investigate opportunities for interior design and to propose a way forward through innovative pathways that link the growing knowledge base and tools with practice‐based strategies to support sustainability. Evaluating the challenges for designers to incorporate LCA design criterion into the interior design process, for this report we brought together industry literature, interviews with design professionals, manufacturers, software providers, and topic experts. The results are findings and proposed strategies that will help designers become a greater factor in the sustainability solution. Our report also provides multiple perspectives on the potential future use of LCIR strategies in the interior design process, while adding to a larger conversation and movement within the design field.
Ultimately, by identifying the environmental effect of interior design decisions through analysis of data, the development of better tools, and modified design processes, there exists a greater potential to create positive change – and the ability to move the interior design industry forward.