Workplace Design Principles

A starting point for an evidenced-based design process

Important Environmental Considerations- when selecting materials January 29, 2009

Identifying the Origin of a Material helps you gain valuable background knowledge and help to know what to expect during the selection process, if it’s a renew-able resource, and projected lead times.   


“Safety in use can encompass indoor air quality and emissions as well as chemical optimization to assess for human and environmental health.” Dose it emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) or does it have a low level of VOC emissions?


Product life Cycle should be a consideration as well as if the manufacture offers a take-back program.  What will happen to it at the end of life cycle is it biodegradable or recyclable, or will it end up in a landfill? 



  environmental design
  extreme performance

Low Emitting, Alternative To PVC, Useful Life, Reutilization



  environmental design
(C2C Gold certified)

Part of “the new Climatex® Lifecycle™ upholsteries (also C2C Gold) utilize new technological advancements to creating a fabrics with a luxurious hand and superior draping qualities”

  environmental design

(polyester resin panels)

60.00% PETG

Useful Life, Reutilization, Green Guard, Recycled Content, Low Emitting Reclamation Program

Posted By Kate Blanchfield





IEQ v. IAQ (Indoor Environmental Quality v. Indoor Air Quality)

Filed under: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES,Indoor Air Quality,Interior Finish Materials — ia2studio @ 8:38 pm
Tags: ,

The term indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and indoor air quality (IEQ) are often confused.  The basic difference between the two is that IEQ refers to the environment that exists inside a building such as the concentration of CO2 gases, the thermal conditions, moisture and dampness (Kumar 2002).  Whereas IAQ is strictly, “a function of the interaction of contaminant sources and the effectiveness of ventilation utilized to dilute and remove air contaminants”(Bearg 2008). 

Major interior design decisions that impact indoor air quality may include:

·          Using a solid surface flooring instead of carpet

o    Carpets can capture and retain dust, dander and other particulate air contaminants

·         Antimicrobial coatings for surface disinfection

o    Can reduce contaminates in the air

·         Dehumidifiers

o    Control mold-growth and airborne allergens


Bearg, D. W. (2008). Measuring IAQ Parameters. Heating/Piping/Air Conditioning Engineering. 80(8), 24-8.

Posted by Bret


Polyvinyl Chloride: Hazards of PVC and It’s Alternatives.

Filed under: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES,Uncategorized — ia2studio @ 8:17 pm
Polyvinyl Chloride which is commonly know as PVC or Vinyl is one of the most commonly used synthetic or to say non biodegradable material. The production, use and disposal of PVC are all very hazardous to the environment and human health. The effects are many, to name some ; cancer, heart disease, birth defects… The list goes on.There are many alternative to PVC, some of them more expensive and may be even labour taking. But health and the preservation of environment is most important. So here we have some alternatives for PVC,

 PVC Disposal in China

PVC Disposal in China   

  1. Alternatives for PVC pipes are; cast iron, vitrified clay, and plastics such as crosslinked, polyethylene and HDPE (High Density Polyethylene).
  2. Alternative materials for PVC sidings are; wood, fibercement board, polypropylene and acrylic siding.
  3. Alternative materials for doors and windows include wood, fiberglass, and aluminum windows and doors.
  4. Alternative materials for wall covering are, natural fiber and polyethylene wall coverings. 

 PS: We can learn more on the hazards of PVC and the alternatives we have for it on (Sources) – and

Article by, Healthy Buildings: “Alternatives to Toxics in Construction“, 2000 Jan.
Thornton, Joe, Ph.D., “Environmental Impacts of Polyvinyl Chloride Building Materials© Healthy Buiding Network, 2002.
Posted By: Krithi Bhat












Filed under: energy conservation,ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES — ia2studio @ 5:18 pm

Flexibility, Modularity and Adaptability are more often than not intertwined together through designing interiors. An example of Adapting a project to contribute to its environmental goals may be raised flooring. This allows the heating and cooling of the building to circulate and exit through vents in the floor. This is more efficient than circulating air through vents in the walls, saving the building cost and energy and at the same time saving the environment. The more natural the energy process, the less we as people have to build energy conservation areas (Disturbing the land). Modularity is a term that may refer to products that are 1) many components that create one functional system that can be used and 2) used as components independent of their parent system ( Many workplaces nowadays need a “community area” where their employees can come together and discuss ideas. These spaces need to be multi-functional so they can serve many purposes. Modularity can be implemented into these kinds of spaces through furniture like ottoman “cubes”. These “cubes” can serve as seating or as small tables. They can be used independently as singular units or as a unit of four (just to give a number). An office space usually needs to be flexible-which means they often have modular furniture to meet their need to be flexible. Environmentally, a business then needs less furniture and therefore, putting less waste into landfills. Flexible design means that a project must be prepared to meet every need of the client, including those that are unexpected. In the case that a building is already using too much water, consider using a dual flush toilet that uses less water than a standard toilet. Also consider using the water from a green roof for non-drinking purposes. It is then recycled water, cutting down on waste that is dumped on the earth by humans.


Michelle Stuart


Water Conservation

Filed under: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES — ia2studio @ 6:30 am
Tags: , ,

The exact statistics vary but in general the consensus it that we use way too much water in an average day.  If you think about it, how many times did you brush your teeth, flush the toilet, wash the dishes and take a shower this week.  Then multiply that by the weeks in a year and by the population of the world.  Although our fresh water supply is not likely to dry up completely, it is likely to change states and become less frequent and stable as many factors can effect the water cycle such as global warming.  Water is especially wasted in public facilities as it is used for bathrooms, kitchens, heating and cooling and landscape.  As designers we can help limit the water overexposure by making smart selections in water conserving appliances, bathroom fixtures and even incorporating graywater systems. 

Posted by: Anna Pasiut
“Watersmart Guidebok.” Alliance for Water Efficiency. East Bay Municipal Utility District. 29 Jan 2009

Third Party Certification January 28, 2009

Filed under: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES — ia2studio @ 2:03 am

Third party certification is the process by which a product, process, or service is reviewed by a reputable and unbiased third party (Green Cleaning Claims and Third Party Certification).  The purpose of third party certification is to  verify that criteria, claims, and standards are being met(Green Cleaning Claims and Third Party Certification) .  Incorporating third party certification into a design project can help save time, and also adds support from a credible source.  Below are certifications relating to design development:

  • Energy Star: energy efficiency of various product types(includes small and large appliances)
  • Greenguard: tests products(bedding, paints, textiles, flooring, etc) for low chemical
  • SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative): evaluates products that use wood from sustainably managed


McFadden, Roger. “Green Cleaning Claims and Third Party Certification.” Coastwide Laboratories 2002 27 Jan 2009

Portwood, Pamela. “Sorting Out Green Certifications.” Greener Lives 2008 27 Jan 2009

Submitted by: Natalie Kosnik


Case Studies – Armstrong

Exterior, Armstrong Headquarters

Exterior, Armstrong Headquarters

In April of 2007, Armstrong World Industries earned the fifth US Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum rating ever given to an existing building for the re-design of their headquarters facility in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  The project achieved this rating through the implementing the following sustainable features:

Armstrong Headquarters, interior

Armstrong Headquarters, interior

  • Use of daylighting, flourescent lighting and occupancy sensors
  • Energy effecient HVAC systems
  • Installation of covered bike area
  • Installation of preferred parking spaces for hybrid vehicles
  • Use of alternative energy sources, such as wind power
  • Implementation of a recycling program
  • Establishment of policies surrounding the use of non-toxic cleaning products
  • Use of low-flow toilets and waterless urinals


 Eberly, David A. “LEED EB(R) Case Study: Achieving Platinum and the Energy Star(R) Label for Corporate Headquarters.” Energy Engineering (2008): 23 – 28.


US Green Building Council. Project Profile: Armstrong World Industries Corporate Headquarters. 2008. 28 January 2009 <>.               

Posted by: Maggie Zilke