Spring into Sustainable Design: Brighter Spaces, Healthier Planet

Earth Day isn't just a single day of action; it's a springboard for a continuous movement toward a sustainable future. And what better way to celebrate our planet than by harnessing the power of natural light through sustainable design practices?

4 minute read

30th April, 2024 | Remarcable

Spring unfolds with longer days and a renewed sense of life. But amidst the blooming beauty, Earth Day this month is a timely reminder of our environmental challenges. This year's theme, "Planet vs. Plastics," underscores the urgency of tackling plastic pollution.

Earth Day isn't just a single day of action; it's a springboard for a continuous movement toward a sustainable future. Sustainable design sits at the heart of this movement, fostering healthy and responsible spaces that benefit both the environment and the people who inhabit them.  And what better way to celebrate our planet than by harnessing the power of natural light through sustainable design practices?

Designers can make a big difference by creating eco-friendly healthcare and commercial spaces that improve well-being and benefit the environment. At Remarcable Design, our team of experts helps you achieve this vision without sacrificing functionality or aesthetics.

Striking a Green Balance:

Sustainable design isn't just about choosing eco-friendly materials. It's about creating spaces that function beautifully and responsibly, a benefit to both human health and the environment.  In healthcare settings, this translates to designing spaces like patient rooms and treatment areas that promote healing and well-being while minimizing environmental impact through features like natural light, energy-efficient systems, and non-toxic materials.

Similarly, commercial spaces can benefit from sustainable design by fostering a healthy and productive work environment for employees. This can be achieved through improved air quality with natural ventilation and plants, ample natural light that boosts mood and focus, and responsible water conservation practices.

The key lies in striking a balance between adhering to the regulations and needs of both sectors, all while keeping sustainability at the forefront.

Regulations vs. Sustainability: Both healthcare facilities and commercial spaces must adhere to strict regulations regarding materials and construction methods. Sustainable design involves working within these regulations to find the most eco-friendly solutions possible. This might involve using recycled materials that meet stringent healthcare standards, using water-saving plumbing fixtures that meet commercial building codes, or specifying low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and finishes to improve indoor air quality standards for both sectors.

Collaboration between designers, architects, and relevant specialists (healthcare professionals for hospitals, and sustainability consultants for commercial spaces) is crucial to meeting these regulatory requirements while achieving sustainable goals.

Cost vs. Value: While the initial cost of sustainable design may be higher, the long-term benefits far outweigh the upfront investment. Studies have shown that sustainable design practices can lead to lower energy bills, reduced water consumption, and improved patient outcomes. This can translate to lower healthcare costs and higher patient satisfaction. In commercial spaces, this can translate to increased employee productivity, lower absenteeism, and attracting and retaining top talent who value sustainability. Additionally, many regions offer tax incentives or rebates for green buildings, further offsetting the initial costs for both healthcare and commercial projects.

We can help you navigate these considerations and identify cost-effective sustainable solutions for your project. You can get a free estimate for your healthcare or commercial design project using our cost estimator, to provide clarity and help you make informed decisions. Also, knowing how to use it effectively is key. Our pro tips can help you navigate your design project with confidence.

Functionality vs. Aesthetics: Sustainable design can achieve both functionality and aesthetics with careful planning and material selection.  Natural materials like bamboo or cork can be beautiful and eco-friendly choices for flooring or walls in both healthcare facilities and commercial offices.  Similarly, energy-efficient LED lighting can provide ample illumination while creating a modern and sleek look.

Earth Day Inspiration for Interiors

Here are some practical ways to incorporate eco-conscious design elements into your healthcare and commercial projects:

  1. Material Selection: Opt for recycled, recyclable, or natural materials. Bamboo flooring, cork walls, and reclaimed wood are not only beautiful but also environmentally friendly choices.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Embrace natural light! Maximize windows and consider skylights to take advantage of BST's extended daylight hours. Additionally, install LED lighting and choose energy-star-rated appliances to further reduce energy consumption.
  3. Biophilic Design: Bring the outdoors in! Studies show that incorporating plants and natural elements into a space improves air quality, reduces stress, and creates a more positive work environment.
  4. Water Conservation: Every drop counts! Install low-flow faucets and water-saving toilets to conserve this precious resource in both healthcare and commercial settings.
  5. Minimising Waste: Implement recycling programs to reduce waste going to landfills. Choose furniture with minimal packaging and consider refurbished or pre-owned options whenever possible.

Having explored some key eco-conscious design elements, let's delve deeper into how sustainable design harnesses natural light for a positive impact.

Sustainable design doesn't just mean installing more windows. It involves strategically positioning windows, light shelves, and skylights to maximise natural light penetration deep into a space. This not only reduces reliance on artificial lighting and saves energy, but also offers a wealth of health benefits. Natural light regulates your circadian rhythms, promoting better sleep and improved mood. Studies have also shown it can enhance focus and reduce eye strain, creating a more productive work environment.

Natural light isn't just good for the environment; it offers distinct advantages in both healthcare and commercial settings. In healthcare facilities, studies have shown that ample natural light can promote faster patient recovery times, improve sleep quality, and reduce stress.  Similarly,  commercial spaces bathed in natural light can enhance employee creativity, focus, and overall well-being, leading to a more productive work environment.

To further enhance the effect of natural light and create a more spacious and inviting atmosphere, sustainable design incorporates lighter colour palettes. Lighter colours, like whites, beiges, and pastels, reflect natural light more effectively, making a room feel larger and brighter. Additionally, strategically placed mirrors can bounce light around a space, further amplifying the natural illumination and creating a sense of openness.

With the British Summer Time bringing longer daylight hours, sustainable design takes advantage of this natural resource for a longer period throughout the year. This not only benefits the environment but also creates a brighter, more uplifting atmosphere within the space.


By incorporating sustainable design principles into your healthcare or commercial spaces, you're not just creating a beautiful and functional environment; you're making a positive impact on the planet, promoting occupant well-being, and potentially boosting your brand image.

Let's all take inspiration from Earth Day and embrace a more sustainable future, one thoughtfully designed space at a time. 

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