1652338129377 Climatechangeinteriordesign

Climate Change vs Interior Design

Oct. 18, 2018

A new report by the IPCC warns that sweeping changes must be made now to control global warming. Architects and interior designers can impact climate change by employing more sustainable and green solutions. 

Now is the time for far-reaching action to control global warming, according to a new report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the leading world organization for assessing the science related to climate change.

For years, climate change has been a trending topic due to a barrage of natural disasters, and the issuance of several international agreements committing to limit the rise of the Earth’s temperature to 1.5 degrees C (about 2.7 degrees F). This report, however, shows that goal is now impossible to meet without sweeping changes that affect energy, land, transportation, industry and buildings. 

Design as Part of the Climate Change Solution

Architects and designers know all too well the economic, and health and safety impacts that climate related changes can have on buildings, and the people and property those facilities shelter. Being prepared for catastrophic natural disasters and embracing green options to reduce your carbon footprint are both part of the solution.


Global warming has increased 1 C (1.8 F), since the Industrial Revolution. The change is attributed to greenhouse gasses (primarily methane and carbon dioxide) brought about by human activity.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1 C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” states Panmao Zhai, co-chair of IPCC Working Group I, in a release from the IPCC.

The panel concludes—based on current levels of greenhouse gas emissions—that if aggressive action isn’t taken, global warming will increase to 1.5 C by 2030 and 2 C (3.6 F) by 2050. They warn this will lead to catastrophic, irreversible changes. 

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Fortunately, employing sustainable solutions and using green products has become a mainstay for architects and interior designers. Industry professionals and companies are at the forefront of embracing sustainability, whether it be through installing an on-site water recycling system, harnessing solar energy or participating in the Living Building Challenge.

Yet, more can be done. And it starts with designers like you.

“The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5 C are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, co-chair of Working Group I, in a release from the IPCC.

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About the Author

Rachel Kats | Former Staff Writer

Rachel was an interiors+sources staff writer. She has years of experience covering everything from government and education to feature topics and events. A Wisconsin native, she holds a bachelor’s in mass communications and journalism from St. Cloud State University.

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