The Society of British Interior Design and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) announced the launch of the first stage of its Environmental Strategy that puts the green agenda at the heart of architecture and interior design at the recent Sustainability Conference held by the Society.

The new joint research project is the key element of the Environmental Strategy, and will provide the link between sustainable buildings and organisational and economic performance. The aim is to assess each aspect of ‘bottom line’ sustainability, where interior design provides value and long-term savings in building refurbishment or new-build fit-out.

Nicholas C Thompson, senior partner, Cole Thompson Anders architects, who chairs the Sustainability Sub-Committee for the Society of British Interior Design, said: “There’s little in the way of case study evidence specifically relating organisational performance to good sustainable design. During the research we’ll assess case studies from the Society’s members to see how the sustainability of interior design and fit-out in the UK can be improved.”

Vanessa Brady, Chairman of the Society of British Interior Design added: “However this isn’t just a knowledge-sharing exercise. We realise the opportunity to exemplify and promote the role of design professionals in sustainable regeneration helps the environment and sustain resources. There are clear value-driven benefits for all areas of bottom line sustainability: social well-being, environmental regulations and economic profitability.”

The research project, the first of its kind between the BRE and the interior design sector, was launched by Thompson at the Sustainability Conference, held at the Building Centre, London. The conference was attended by world leaders on sustainability, architecture and interior design – including the John Alker, Head of Advocacy, UK Green Building Council and Thomas Vecchione, Principal at Gensler NY.

Jon Mussett, Head of Building Design Consultancy, BRE, highlighted that the key objectives for this research are:

1. To improve the sustainability of interior architecture, design and fit-out
2. To lead by example
3. To create a universal toolkit or organisational performance matrix for professionals that can be used to assess the impact sustainable designs have on productivity, well being and economic behaviour, as well as building performance

The Society’s Environmental Strategy is based on ‘The Big Idea’ which was identified by Thompson in a collaborative project with Orion Innovations for the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA). The second stage of this project is being taken forward by E C Harris and the BRE on behalf of the EDMA. This phase of the Environmental Strategy will be conducted over the next six months, with an ultimate aim to create a professional toolkit for the Society’s members.