Sustainable luxury is the future: integrating it at home
Gone are the days in which we were content with mere luxury. More and more we seek to surround ourselves not only with the most beautiful or niche settings, we are also drawn to the necessity of the times - which demands environmental consciousness too. The future is here, now, and while it certainly needs to be luxurious, it has to also be sustainable.
Slowly but surely, humanity is shifting our focus towards a more mindful, and less disposable way of living. For most, the word “sustainability” doesn’t conjure up the most enticing imagery. We can sometimes think of sustainability as drab or boring. Yet, that couldn’t be further from what is really happening in the design spheres. Sustainability inherently requires a change of approach, not only towards the more mindful way of being, but also towards a new perspective on design, right from the conception of ideas. Circularity is becoming the go-to approach, as realizations that simply recycling or making something in a sustainable manner of production only is not a sure-fire way of making things last. Indeed the systems of creation, maintenance, and destruction are what need to undergo a massive adjustment too.
THE OUTER WORLD IS A REFLECTION OF THE INNER REALMS
There is a philosophy that views the outer world as a reflection of the inner realms, so it goes without saying that when our environment imbibes sustainability, and we are surrounded by beautiful, luxurious, eco-friendly pieces within our homes, it is more likely that we will continue to be thinking in a more ecologically wholistic frame. Whatever your living space, from apartments to estates, environmentally conscious approaches can be added into your abode in unique, undemanding and ubiquitous ways.
Photo by Jack Young on Unsplash
Upcycling, in its simplicity, is the process of transforming older or scrapped materials into new products of better quality. The heart of upcycling is to be more sustainable and environmentally conscious, promoting people to re-use and spend time improving old or broken products which are destined for landfill. Reinventing a use for what you may interpret as a worthless product in your home provides natural character you cannot achieve through purchasing a mass-produced item from a shop. Simpler items that have been upcycled can often turn a drab corner into a luxurious, design-savvy centerpiece. Oftentimes, the simpler the materials, the more versatile they can be, therefore opening up a more varied amount of design options. Add in elements that you can adjust and change over time with minimal effort and your items can become ever-evolving, dynamic delights of design. As an example, a picture frame that can hold multiple photographs or images which can be changed over time.
NATURAL LIGHT BECOMES AN IMMEDIATE ALLY
One of the easiest ways to become more sustainable in your approach is to make use of more natural sources of lighting in your abode. Natural light becomes an immediate ally - not only does it provide a cost-effective, and sustainable way to brighten up your home, but the re-enforcement of positive well-being it provides residents is too big to ignore. To embrace this fully, looking at your windows as well as the color that you choose for your walls can make a big difference. With a darker color palette, more natural lighting may be needed. While darker walls and décor may increase feelings of relaxation in a room, they will naturally require a greater amount of artificial light to be used. Lighter color palettes, such as crème, ivory, pale blues, and greens will reflect more of the light that enters the room. When combining lighter and darker tones, using lighter colors on the walls surrounding or opposite windows, aids to maximize natural light around the room in a more energy-efficient manner that can result in lesser of a need for artificial lighting.
Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash
COLOR ME "ECO-FRIENDLY"
In respect of paints, a good choice is to stick with environmentally friendly brands, which are produced in a sustainable manner and are less toxic. According to The Good Trade, describing a paint, finish or lacquer as “eco-friendly” means that it doesn’t contain airborne chemicals or gases that will wreak havoc on your health. These low-level toxic emissions are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that leach out into the air and cause symptoms like headaches, dizziness, visual and respiratory impairment, and even memory loss. The EPA notes that the effects of VOCs are about 2-5 times higher indoors than outdoors, and if you’re stripping paint during a home project, studies show that it can skyrocket up to 1,000 times higher.
Photo by russn_fckr on Unsplash
Ready-formulated paints from ECOS are available on their website. Entirely free of VOCs, this USA-made brand offers a colorful selection of organic paints for interior and exterior walls.
Image from Earth Pigments
Used by the Louvre, Westminster Abbey, and the Getty Museum, these paints mix quality and environmental-consciousness very well. If you’d prefer to be more hands-on, then you can also mix your own paints from sustainably sourced pigments - such as the ones on offer from Earth Pigments. Their mineral and plant-based pigments are sustainably harvested from the earth. Requiring a more involved painting process, that entails mixing the pigments with additional materials, but the end result is well worth those extra efforts. You can even mix in golden glitter or mica flakes for an added sustainable sparkle.
Image from Earth Pigments
Used by the Louvre, Westminster Abbey, and the Getty Museum, these paints mix quality and environmental-consciousness very well. If you’d prefer to be more hands-on, then you can also mix your own paints from sustainably sourced pigments - such as the ones on offer from Earth Pigments.
Their mineral and plant-based pigments are sustainably harvested from the earth. Requiring a more involved painting process, that entails mixing the pigments with additional materials, but the end result is well worth those extra efforts. You can even mix in golden glitter or mica flakes for an added sustainable sparkle.
FUELLED BY THE SUN
If you require more lighting sources than natural lighting is able to supply, you can always opt for solar energy panels. The inexhaustible energy of the sun - if you are lucky enough to be in a geographical location that can supply it - can provide both lightweight and long-term cost-effective means to boost the “passive” energy systems of a home. Not to mention, they can also act as an attractive addition to homes of any age too.
Image from InHabitat
YOUR VERY OWN BABYLON
If having solar panels installed on your roof doesn’t suit your design aesthetic, there is always the option of the classic green roof. Drawing inspiration from the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, technology caught up to this concept in the early 1970s, when luxury homes started to incorporate these roofing options or balconies for the perfect blend of natural cooling and landscaped aestheticbeauty. Using vegetation in place of conventional roofing materials has the additional benefits of reducing air pollution and absorbing stormwater runoff - not to mention that they can extend the life of the roof’s supporting structure beneath it.
Similar to solar panels and green roofing, harnessing the forces of nature within the natural landscape itself makes one’s habitat a part of the surroundings in its entirety. This is especially so when these are utilized in such a way as to provide optimal living conditions all-year-round. Geothermal heating allows homeowners to do just this. Once installed, an efficient geothermal system can provide two decades of reliable heating and cooling - with very little maintenance, as it comes straight from the heat from the sub-surface of the earth.
A SUBLIME AND UNTOUCHED PARADISE
In a bid to be exceptionally sustainable, there is even the option of taking stewardship of the land that you live on, working as best possible to be in serene harmony with nature. This concept can include the overall health and wellness of residents and the place of residence too.
If dabbling in the realms of nature conservancy and outdoor recreation are appealing, the solution may well be an abode on a private eco-reserve. Properties such as the Hacienda Pucheguin, based on 348,000 acres in North Chilean Patagonia, 68 miles from Puerto Montt (which is an hour and a half by plane from Santiago), is a lost paradise of unparalleled natural beauty.
Images from Uncrate
Conjure up a universe of forests, rivers, lakes, granite peaks, trees as old as time, and you’re a step in the right direction of this exquisite estate. Described by Christie's International Real Estate, the land's beauty is captivating and deep. Enveloped in a primitive world, the estate is home to the largest and longest-living tree species of over 3,500 years in South America, the Patagonian Cyprus. High rainfall in the rainforest has favored the formation and growth of a variety of mosses, trees, foliage, and more. The slopes of the terrain are carved out by rain and cattle trails to help give a taste of extreme adventure and breathtaking scenery. There are natural pools, waterfalls, and rivers flanked by towering peaks and imposing walls of bare granite. This sublime and untouched paradise provides buyers with endless possibilities to conserve, develop, and dive straight into a lifestyle of supreme enjoyment of nature, in one of the world's last genuine examples of wilderness.
As custodians of the planet at such a pivotal point in history, it is a necessity that we are able to transition into a more sustainable way of life - in all aspects of it and our relationship with the earth. Adjustments to our surroundings can assist us to do this, impacting our mental state to become more and more affiliated to the creation of sustainable luxury. In the words of David W. Orr, “The crisis of sustainability, the fit between humanity and its habitat, is manifesting in various ways and degrees everywhere on earth. It is not only a permanent feature on the political agenda; for all practical purposes, it is the agenda.. Sustainability is about the terms and conditions of human survival.”