Just to recap, my 9-to-5 job is as general contractor, and I teach part-time. How I got into construction was by building window displays which led me to wanting to build bigger and better things. 15 years later I’m a general contractor who builds green (and is still addicted to fashion!).
I got into sustainability when I was joking with my boss on a former job that we could build a whole other house with just the stuff we throw away! I think we as display artists are kings and queens when it comes to recycling, re-using, refurbishing, renovating and any other “re” words!
When designing a store it is important to focus on the store layout, fixtures, lighting, and storefronts. It is now becoming equally important to look at sustainable design – Design work that is eco-friendly. I won’t go into a monologue on the benefits of building green, as I’m sure a few of us are probably suffering from green fatigue because we’ve heard it so much, but whether you are opening a new store or working on your displays it is good to keep it in mind.
Some helpful tips:
I always use low or zero VOC (volatile organic compound) paint and finishes, luckily for those of us here in California almost all of our paint sold in stores meet this requirement. Benjamin Moore is my favorite, for color choices and quality of paint.
Whenever we need wood for a display or prop I use scrap wood I’ve been saving or reclaimed wood I’ve purchased from my favorite junk yard. I very rarely use brand new lumber for display work as it does not require the same structural integrity a house would need.
I’m starting to source fixtures from places that specialize in manufacturing fixtures in a sustainable way. This also forces me to look at new ways of using non-conventional items as fixtures (e.g. barrels, luggage, wine crates,etc….) and come up with new ways to incorporate them into the design plan. Check out Green Store Inc.
I’m NOT a fan of carpet, but I have installed them for clients, luckily there are some great choices that use renewable materials. I recently installed FLOR into an office space. I like this floor covering because you can easily determine how much you want to use. I use it for a lot of office/retail environments. Natural linoleum is also a good choice for high-traffic areas.
When your old incandescent light bulbs burn out I hope you are replacing them with CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs), and if you have lighting in your cabinets you had LEDs installed.
Do you offer your customers a small discount if they bring their own bags for their purchases? The Goodwill I shop at does this.
I could preach ad nauseam about this subject as it’s my lively hood, but I won’t bore you. I am more than happy to answer any questions. Go Green!!