Q&A SUSTAINABLE INTERIOR DESIGN WITH SCHWERDT CONTRACT INTERIORS
FEATURING: Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka’s New Headquarters
Q: What is sustainable interior design?
Sustainable designers use strategies to improve energy and water efficiencies and indoor air quality, and they specify environmentally preferable products such as bamboo and cork for floors. They may obtain certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council. Such certification indicates that a building and its interior spaces were designed with the use of sustainable concepts.
In the design industry, the fastest-growing segment is the incorporation of sustainable or “green” interior design. From the use of rain water collection to supplement waste water needs, to using sustainable materials such as bamboo, innovation is high when it comes to designing a sustainable space.
Q: What is interior design?
Interior design is the art and science of studying and understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Interior design is also the art and science of enhancing the interiors, sometimes including the exterior, of a space or building, to achieve a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for our clients and the end user.
Q: How would you define good interior design?
Good interior design is the result of a multifaceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. To be considered good interior design, these solutions must be functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants, and be aesthetically attractive.
Good interior design must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability. A good interior design process must follow a systematic and coordinated methodology, including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process, whereby the needs and resources of the client are satisfied to produce an interior space that fulfills the project goals.
Q: Can you highlight an interior design project that incorporated sustainability?
Schwerdt Contract Interiors teamed with Schwerdt Design Group and HOK – St. Louis on the design of the new headquarters for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka (FHLBank), which will accommodate approximately 250 employees.
The design for the anticipated LEED Gold certified building is expected to reduce its energy use by 65 percent compared to a conventional design. Sustainable strategies include the use of a closed-loop, geothermal ground-coupled heat exchanger as the building’s heat source, a highly efficient variable refrigerant flow system, and a dedicated outdoor air system with heat recovery and photovoltaic solar panels.
From a sustainable material perspective, the building is clad in local limestone from Onaga, Kansas and features a protective overhanging roof and large windows that offer panoramic views of the city and landscape. Sustainable interior finishes and materials are incorporated throughout the new building.