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Wed 20 Aug 2008 09:39 AM

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Green interiors

LEED certification should be adopted on all buildings says CGBP, Denise Bellas.

As the rise of commercial buildings in the Middle East continues to increase, concerns surrounding health regulations have been on the agenda of many architects and interior designers, with many adopting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

In a recent presentation held in Dubai by Denise Bellas, a LEED AP, Certified Green Building Professional, (CGBP), and the architectural and design market manager for Smith & Fong Plyboo, a US based flooring company, she addressed the issues surrounding the building sector and it’s long and short-term effects on the environment.

“We all know that we have issues with CO2 emissions. It is amazing what the building industry actually produces in terms of waste and what it consumes. Forty percent of materials and energy consuming on this planet is contributed to building and thirty-three percent of C02 emission comes from the building process itself,” said Bellas.

“I was working in commercial interiors for 15 years, but it’s only through this practice that I started questioning everything that I previously took for granted. You never really think about the process of a product. What are the tables made out of? What is the core material made out of? What are the topcoats made out of? Who supplies the metal? What happens to the tables after it’s life cycle?” she added.

Considering the appropriate recycling measures of worn-out interiors, and the indoor air quality, according to Bellas, is also an emerging concern among certification-seeking developments.

“In the hospitality sector for example, you may well have carpet pulled out and replaced every three to four years – these often go to land-fill, when it can actually be recycled as nylon is a petroleum based product,” said Bellas.

Another key point is that toxins are often brought into a building without being realised. Sealants, paints, glues diffuse toxins into the air, then you close the doors, have certain systems installed that circulates the same toxins in the air,” she added.

In light of these findings, Bellas stated that the only way to ensure energy sufficiency and healthier interiors were established, is through the use of rapidly renewable materials. “A plant based product that will re-generate, re-grow within a ten year process, cotton, wool, cork, these are all very easily grown back.”

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