HDB interior design takes sustainability more seriously than you think

21 February 2022

It is impossible to miss the stylish and sleek HDB apartment images that turn up on social media frequently. These smart dwellings often represent the current trends in housing and interior design in Singapore. Apart from being comfortable and affordable, the new HDB homes are also contributing significantly to the city’s sustainable environment.

As the population of Singapore has become increasingly cautious about carbon footprint and the impact of new building projects on the environment, more and more designers are shifting towards environmentally-friendly building materials. They are adopting new techniques that have a negligible effect on the ecosystem.

People often end up ignoring the importance of interior design on the sustainability of a house. However, each element of interior design determines the eco-friendliness and durability of your home. The material and design process influence the carbon footprint of your abode directly. Interior designers are the only people who have control over choosing the right material for your home and determining how sustainably you interact with your living space.

How does HDB interior design improve the environment inside and outside houses?

HDB interior designers have been designing homes in Singapore that meet the city’s living standards, aesthetics as well as take care of the environment. It might sound simple, but it is not as easy as it sounds.

Designing for minimum energy consumption

Did you know? The most significant contributor to climate change is the consumption of energy by household appliances. Apart from the air conditioner, even the washer-dryer, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, refrigerator and lighting consume sufficient amounts of energy.

HDB interior design is a result of exhaustive brainstorming among interior designers and architects. While architects are responsible for providing sustainable building material, the interior designers take care of the home lighting and cooling needs.

Cooling lighting are the two most important considerations for any sustainable or environmentally friendly building. Interior designers have control over these factors almost wholly. Windows are responsible for letting out the lion’s share of the heat from any room. Therefore, HDB interior designers ensure that the windows have insulation coating that maintains the indoor temperature irrespective of weather changes outside.

Their responsibility also extends to window covers, including curtains, shades, and blinds. The mechanics of opening and closing the window, the quality of the framing and the material of the shutter all influence the energy consumption of a home.

Blackened windows that let in minimum sunlight might seem to make rooms cozy and cool, but they increase the use of lighting during the daytime to compensate for the darkness. Choosing the right insulation coating for the window that selectively allows light, but blocks the infrared rays can help in keeping your home more environmentally friendly.

According to HDB interior designers, the correct choice of color pallet can also influence the brightness and light inside a room. Exploring the latest HDB interior design projects, you will find that most praised homes have a lighter color theme. Forget bland white. There are different shades of cream, light yellow, and baby blue that can both brighten the room and add some pop to it.

HDB interior design considers the low environmental impact

Every house in Singapore has some contribution to the state of the environment. It is the joint responsibility of the architects and designers to minimize their impact on the environment. From the perspective of sustainability, choosing the correct set of material is imperative for the purpose.

Even natural renewable resources, including wood, natural stone, gypsum, and wool, require wise usage and distribution. These are the obvious choices for building materials in many countries, but without the expert intervention of designers, it is close to impossible to ensure that your home is entirely sustainable.

As a responsible homeowner, do not forget to say “yes” to resources like bamboo while designing the interiors. These are fast-growing plant species that are abundant in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Fast-growing, dried grass, which you can often find in nature-inspired resort interior decors, is also a smart, affordable, and sustainable option for interior design in modern homes.

Modern homes are bringing back vetiver with fervor. These are tropical grass species that can potentially lower interior temperatures, reduce the number of indoor pollutants and keep the air smelling fresh for years. Pay attention to the labels of products if you are DIY-ing your interior décor or speak to your HDB designer for the same before using them inside your home.

The secret to total sustainability is following the source and extraction process of raw material from the very start. Extraction, transportation, processing, and delivery, all contribute to the sustainability and environmental impact of any raw material. HDB interior designers carefully assess the life cycle of each raw material and product before leveraging them for a building project. That makes the HDB apartments across Singapore haven for sustainability and eco-friendly designs.

HDB interior design emphasizes on waste reduction

Each household produces a certain volume of waste. No matter how frugally you decide to live, you will end up with cartons and moving boxes, a few plastic wraps and scraps or leftovers in the initial days. These are situations that every homeowner face. While you can reuse the boxes and plastic wraps, recycle the unusable packaging material and compose the biodegradable stuff, there is more for the new homeowners to worry about.

Technically, each house begins generating waste even before the owner or tenant moves in. Scaffolding is one of the biggest concerns among architects and builders. Modern builders have entirely switched to recyclable metal scaffolding including non-ferrous materials like aluminum and ferrous metals like iron and steel. They have minimized the use of plastic sheets or covers during the concrete laying process. They reuse the secondary materials when the situation demands to mitigate their impact on the environment.

Most importantly, modern design trends including odes to Victorian homes and rustic interiors allow the room for the placement of “old” or dated furniture as accents. Interior designers take the liberty to spruce up old ottomans, loveseats, Sheraton-style chair-table sets, and Chippendale inspired dressers. The result often seamlessly fits with rustic, contemporary, retro, art deco, Victorian, French provincial and shabby chic interiors.

A smart way of reducing wastage and redirecting material from the landfills is by opting for biodegradable synthetic raw materials. Instead of opting for real animal hide or exotic fabric, you can opt for faux leather. These synthetic materials often use recyclable “waste” and breathe a new lease of life to older material. It is a superb way to reduce the waste load and minimize the impact on the environment.

HDB interior design and longevity go hand-in-hand

Just because HDB interior design has a penchant for reusable and recycled material, it does not imply that the resulting material has a short life. Staying away from easily friable or delicate material can also help you reduce your household’s carbon footprint.

Modern tech has allowed designers to craft nouveau materials that can sustain the tests of time. We are no longer talking about PU or Rexine only. We are talking about faux silk, jacquard, engineered wood, recycled/reused marble, reusable metal, and refurbished furniture.

In addition to the choice of the sources, flexibility in the spaces can also add to the sustainability of the furniture and furnishing. An open space that lacks demarcating walls or pillars can be the perfect scape for adding wood or bamboo partition, vetiver semi-permanent dividers, and plants that establish different areas designated for various use.

Innovation is the true friend of sustainability. With a little help from renewable resources and recycled materials, it is possible to renovate old homes, extend rooms and offer more privacy to the occupants without extensive deconstruction. The availability of adjustable and movable furniture is always of enormous help during HDB renovation projects. They allow personalization along with budget-friendly makeovers for all living spaces.

Longevity is a product of maintenance. One of the biggest perks of recycled wood or engineered building materials is their lack of demand for dedicated maintenance. Sometimes, larger spaces can be tricky to maintain and smaller areas can demand rearrangement of furniture. Try adding applique curtains, tie-and-dye throw covers, and patchwork rugs to keep your home low maintenance yet chic.

A word to the wise homeowners

Remember to keep the number of surfaces that can attract dust to a minimum. Invest in durable and sturdy elements, especially if you have children and pets. It will not only save you money in the long run but also reduce the waste generated from your home. Do not forget to add at least one good-quality carpet to the main area. According to the EPA, carpets can trap dust and improve indoor air quality.

Every home is special. However, HDB interior design knows how to make your home the most special one by adding sustainability with low maintenance cost. Their emphasis on basophilic design ensures a healthy living environment for the owners, along with minimal environmental impact during construction and maintenance.

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