The decade of certifications and rigorous industry standards. Sustainability is now high on the agenda for nearly all interior design and specifiers are making more sophisticated demands for environmental performance. The industry is now educated and aware of the impact their choices leave on the environment – from sourcing to manufacturing to the end user.
The decade opened with the unveiling of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system. In 2002, chemist Michael Braungart and architect William McDonough published Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, which suggested a new manufacturing paradigm. Many companies quickly made significant strides. Designtex, for instance, was able to offset the full carbon footprint of its global operations — the kind of achievement that would have been inconceivable in a previous decade.
In 2000, the USGBC unveiled LEED. In March of that year, they announced the first 12 buildings (new constructions) to be certified under LEED version 1.0. By May, an updated version was released. The following year, scientist Dr. Marilyn Black established the Environmental Institute in 2001, bringing indoor air quality and emissions into the purview of sustainability with GreenGuard Certification.
In 2006, BIFMA created Level as a third-party environmental and social impact certification program. The certification contributes to several sustainable buildings rating systems. Five years later, in 2008, the National Science Foundation (NSF) launched a sustainability program for companies to reduce the environmental impact of products, supply chains and operations through a range of standards applicable to various industries.