There are evidently large environmental benefits to be made in terms of both carbon dioxide emissions and waste avoidance by reusing furniture and interior design products.

Reusing furniture and furnishing products leads to measurable environmental impact reductions, both in terms of carbon emissions and waste generation. Work is currently underway to develop the first eco-label for interior design projects to ensure the quality and sustainability of interior space projects. The name of the new label will be Hållbar Interiör ( Sustainable Interiors). The label, which will also serve as a tool for interior designers and others working on interiors, is being developed jointly by 21 project partners. The project has been selected in fierce competition and is supported by Vinnova, Sweden’s Innovation Agency, as part of its research program: Challenge-Driven Innovation Stage 2 (Utmaningsdriven innovation steg 2).

Lack of requirements raised demand

Today, buildings and many of the materials in them can be eco-certified. In addition, there are already strict requirements for buildings and building materials, but when it comes to the contents of buildings – the interiors – there are hardly any requirements at all. The lack of requirements and access to relevant information on the environmental impact of interiors makes it difficult for a business to make sustainable choices. Even the interior designer and the contractor guiding a tenant in an interior design project have no widely established guidelines to follow in order to make the right and conscious sustainable choices.

A plethora of environmental certifications but none for interior design projects

There are many environmental labels today, such as Möbelfakta for furniture and Miljöbyggnad, LEED and BREEAM for buildings. But despite the fact that the interior design industry has expanded dramatically and furniture consumption has increased significantly over the last ten years, there is no label that assesses entire interior design projects.

Time for change

There is evidence that there are major environmental gains to be made in terms of both carbon emissions and waste generation by recycling furniture and furnishing products. Yet there is no way to eco-label an interior with recycled furnishings. In addition, companies often lack policies linked to interior changes in their own sustainability goals.

A certification for interior design projects can both fill a need and solve a problem. The solution we have identified consists of two different parts: a certification and a tool to support the certification process. A certification provides a tenant with a qualitative measure of the interior’s environmental impact. The tool shows in a clear and simple way an environmental assessment of a interior design proposal and helps visualize the consequences of different choices.