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Sustainability in Design


Now more than ever sustainability is at the forefront of our objectives as humans on this planet. The built environment produces 39% of global greenhouse emissions – 28% from operational emissions & 11% from materials & construction.


(Image: Garage Doors – Elements Channel Cladding Thermal Hemlock Patina Oiled - modinex.com.au) Imaged courtesy of Modinex


In the design & building sector, there is a revolution in building materials. Suitability of considered sustainable materials is increasingly legislated. It is necessary that all designers are aware of how materials we use have vast effects on our environment.


Product durability means that it has no need to be replaced often due to its long life. This in turn avoids waste going to landfill, energy & resources required when replacing them.

We all need to do our part & apply the three principles of the circular economy; reduce, reuse, & recycle.


We look at some companies who are developing sustainable processes using recycled/renewable materials.



(Image: Dekton range - cosentino.com)


Cosentino, has made headway with sustainability. They use 100% renewable energy to manufacture their hybrid stone surfaces (Silestone & Dekton), 99% recycled water, & 0% water discharge to rivers & seas. Their products fit durability criteria & they are constantly working towards reducing their carbon footprint.



(Image: Ibrido Collection - smartstone.com.au)


Another hybrid stone surface supplier is SmartStone. They have introduced a new range of hybrid stone surfaces that comprises of 56% recycled materials. Additionally, they have focused on creating a product that is durable.



(Image: Kumo recycled colour Artichoke by James Dunlop – jamesdunloptextiles.com) Image Courtesy of James Dunlop


James Dunlop textile house, incorporating Mokum, is taking action to create a more sustainable world.

  • Their warehouses in Melbourne & Auckland have been equipped with solar panels providing renewable energy to the sites.

  • They are working towards removal of single use plastics or reusing them when unavoidable. 87% of their freight is now transported by sea, cutting down on excessive aircraft emissions.

  • With the technical advancement of recycled yarn production they are able to offer environmentally friendly fabrics that are minimum 50% recycled, along with becoming an official partner of TRAKS.

  • Unused textiles are taken to TRAK’s sorting facility for textiles, which are then transported to their partner mills in India, where the textiles are processed, contributing to a circular economy.


New textile range Kumo Recycled by James Dunlop consist of 92% recycled polyester & 8% polyester yarn. Post consumer PET plastic bottles are melted down, & converted into recycled polyester staple fibre which is spun into yarn.



(Image: Slabs & One-Off Timbers – thors.com.au)


Timber is a wonderful natural resource to which we all relate.

  • It possesses thermal qualities that keep cold air out in winter hot air out in summer and moderates humidity.

  • Containing small pockets of air in its cellular structure, timber can regulate itself acting as a natural insulating barrier.

  • It also helps hold harmful carbon from escaping to the atmosphere. Up to 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide can be saved by substituting other building materials for timber.


(Image: Forest Management - fsc.org)


When sourcing timber products, make sure the timber used is either PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. The PEFC & FSC ensures that plantations are being managed responsibly.


  • Ideally suppliers should source their timbers from plantations that use the selected logging technique.

  • This system allows an ecosystem to continue with minimal environmental impact.



(Left Image: Hidden Door in Luxury Home – Austratus Dowel 40x40mm. Project Credits: Wendy Holland Interiors – modinex.com.au)

(Right Image: Feature Wall – Austratus Wave Fin Concave - Hemlock - modinex.com.au)


Modinex supplies PEFC certified timber; the majority being locally sourced, generates a reduced carbon footprint.

(Image: EGGER Decorative Collection – egger.com)


Forest One Egger products are all wood based surfaces (laminates, joinery & flooring materials).

  • The company is committed to a closed material cycle & all their timber is PEFC & FSC certified.

  • Any wood residues or saw dust that cannot be used for products is used to create heat & green electricity in Eggers own Biomass power plants.


(Image: Polytec Samples – polytec.com.au)


Polytec supplies decorative surfaces that are PEFC certified.

  • They recycle vinyl, manufacture pallets from off cut waste, recycle their company grey water & harvest rainwater.

  • The company have installed solar panels across all their sites nationwide. Their Oberon facility is now considered Australia’s largest rooftop solar system.

  • Polytec have established a wood waste recycling initiative. Customers that buy raw & melamine coated particle board products, can opt for wood and off cut collection service, saving waste from landfill.


Building material companies are constantly updating their sustainability credentials with new products. At Agius Colour Interior Designs, we are conscious of this when specifying. By keeping informed of new products, we are able to deliver the best environmental options for our clients’ projects.


Get in touch if you'd like to know more!

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