ASID Position on Sustainable Design

ASID recognizes that sustainability should be an essential part of the interior designer's professional responsibilities.  ASID acknowledges that sustainable interior design embraces

  • Integrated building design developed by collaborative multi-disciplinary teams
  • Indoor environments that support occupant well-being and productivity
  • Resource and energy efficiency
  • Social equity at local and global levels
  • Protection of the natural environment
  • Positive economic impact of optimized operational and maintenance practices, and life-cycle cost assessments

Action Sought

ASID believes that the leadership of federal, state and local governments is integral to the advancement of the sustainable design movement in this country.  The Society supports incentives for conservation and energy efficiency programs such as those contained in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

ASID endorses the following principles of environmental stewardship:

  • Advocacy for Safe Products and Services: Interior designers should advocate with their clients and employers the development of buildings, spaces and products that are environmentally benign, produced in a socially just manner and safe for all living things.
  • Protection of the Biosphere: Interior designers should eliminate the use of any product or process that is known to pollute air, water or earth.
  • Sustainable Use of Natural Resources: Interior designers should make use of renewable natural resources, including the protection of vegetation, wildlife habitats, open spaces and wilderness.
  • Waste reduction: Interior designers should minimize waste through the reduction, reuse or recycling of products and encourage the development and use of reclaimed, salvaged and recycled products.
  • Wise use of energy: Interior designers should reduce energy use, adopt energy conserving strategies and choose renewable energy sources.
  • Reduction of risk: Interior designers should eliminate the environmental risk to the health of the end users of their designs.

ASID believes that interior designers should endeavor to, whenever feasible, practice sustainable design.  Interior designers should meet present-day needs without compromising the ability to meet the needs of future generations.

Explanation and Justification

According to the Worldwatch Institute, as much as one-tenth of the global economy is dedicated to constructing, operating and equipping buildings. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) states that the built environment is growing globally at a rate that is three times faster than the growth of the population and that buildings have a huge ecological impact - consuming between 30 and 40 percent of all energy used, adding 30 to 40 percent of atmospheric emissions, and using up 30 percent of all raw materials. Further, it estimates that one-third of all buildings have serious indoor air quality problems, making them unhealthy environments for occupants and expensive for business.

The United States is responsible for a disproportionate share of worldwide energy and resource use, waste and emissions.  The strategies embraced by sustainable interior design seek to contribute to the halt of the rapid depletion of precious natural resources, control emossions, eliminate the concept of waste and nurture the health and well-being of building occupants.