Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is eco-friendly design?


Eco-friendly encompasses both sustainable and non-toxic. Sustainable design seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize waste, minimize carbon emissions and ensure workers across the product's life-cycle are treated well. Non-toxic products in interior design have minimal or no chemicals that are harmful to both the earth and human health in their production, use, and end-of-life. We look for products and materials that have been awarded 3rd party certifications.




What is greenwashing?


Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company's products are more environmentally sound. Greenwashing is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company's products are environmentally friendly. For instance, a company producing teak wood furniture may claim it's eco-friendly because teak lasts a long time. While longevity is one aspect of sustainability, they may not have disclosed irresponsible harvesting of old-growth rainforests or toxic sealants used on the end product.




What chemicals should I look out for?


While only a small handful of chemicals are banned in the US, there are thousands of chemicals to look out for. Instead of listing the individuals, we will list the classes and concerns here:

  • Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), sometimes referred to as highly fluorinated chemicals or PFCs, are used in many consumer products and industrial applications because of their oil-, stain-, and water-repellent properties. Examples of chemicals in this class include PFOA, PFOS, and more than 3000 related compounds. The most studied of these substances is a chemical called PFOA, which is linked to kidney and testicular cancer, elevated cholesterol, decreased fertility, and thyroid problems and decreased immune response to vaccines in children.
  • Antimicrobials are chemicals added to products to kill or inhibit the growth of microbes. They are also called antibacterials or biocides. Antimicrobials of concern include halogenated aromatic compounds such as triclosan and triclocarban, nanosilver, and quaternary ammonium salts (quats) such as benzalkonium chloride. Antimicrobials may have adverse effects on beneficial microorganisms and other living things. For example, triclosan can disrupt hormone functioning and is associated with developmental and reproductive effects, allergen sensitivity, and antibiotic resistance. Some studies suggest it may also harm beneficial gut bacteria. Quats are associated with asthma, dermatitis, and allergies.
  • Flame retardants are chemicals that are supposed to slow ignition and prevent fires. They are used to meet flammability regulations. Flame retardants of concern include organohalogen and organophosphate chemicals such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and chlorinated tris (TDCPP). Some flame retardants are associated with lowered IQ and hyperactivity in children as well as cancer, hormone disruption, and decreased fertility in adults.
  • Some Solvents are a diverse class of chemicals that are used to dissolve or disperse other substances. Some solvents of concern include aromatic hydrocarbon solvents (e.g., toluene, xylene, benzene) and halogenated organic solvents (e.g., methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene). Breathing solvent vapors may lead to temporary nervous system symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, and brain fog. Long-term occupational exposure to some solvents (including methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, and benzene) may increase cancer risk.
  • Bisphenols and phthalates are chemicals that have many uses, including making plastics stronger or more flexible. Even at low levels, bisphenols and phthalates can mimic or block hormones, disrupting vital body systems. Young children and fetuses are especially vulnerable.
  • Some Heavy Metals like Mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and lead are elements that occur naturally in the earth’s crust. Mining and smelting, fossil fuel combustion, industrial processes, and the use and disposal of products containing them have led to widespread environmental contamination and human exposure and health harm. Exposure to mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and lead in the womb or in early childhood can harm brain development, leading to learning and behavioral problems. In adults, each metal is associated with increased cancer risk.




What products and materials do you use?


At EMI, we intelligently incorporate sustainable and non-toxic products and materials into each of our designs in a way that works with the project budget, aesthetic and requirements. We look for vendors who pride themselves on the same standards that we uphold and are constantly searching for the best sources for our lumber, paint, lighting, furniture, fabric, textiles and more. We look for sustainable, non-toxic, fair-trade, quality products from makers that are also high-style and quality. We find them from online research, trade shows, referrals, and more and we update our database on a regular basis.




Who do you work with?


It takes all sorts when designing peoples homes, offices, investment spaces and life events. Below is a sample of our currated list of pros we like to call on when needed. Click here to ask about becoming a partner. Izumi Tanaka - Green Home Advisor • Realtor • Developer (424) 442-9091 Emily Friedman - Full Service Art Advisory Art Dimensions - Full Service Art Leasing and Sales Treeium - Green Contractor 5Blox - Contractor 88 Design Wood Works - Carpenter L'Artist - Muralist And Artist My Design Assistant - Our Favorite Virtual Assistant Company Green Graphics and Printing - A Local Eco-Friendly Printer




Where do you work?


Eco Method Interiors is happily based in Los Angeles, CA where we serve residential, commercial, short term rental, and special events clients. However, we offer e-design services to residential, commercial, short term rental clients all over the world, which involves assisting you with your design from concept to purchasing.




What is E-Design?


Our E-Design also known as Virtual Interior Design or Remote Interior Design, our version offers the same professional interior design process conducted remotely for clients outside of our local area. How do we do it, exactly? First, we have a our intake session over a webcam call. Then, we have a handy helper measure your space and take photos and videos* Next we draw up and send your floor plans as well as our EMI proprietary Green Guide, which outlines our green goals for your partcular project. For the crux of the design plan, we send a written summary of what we want to achieve in each space, and a narrated video walking you through the 3D model of your space. Next we source all the products and materials and create an itemized list for you to take over purchasing. Lastly we send you a delivery tracking worksheet to help keep your deliveries organized. *This is included in your cost of your project for most metropolitan areas.




How long will my project take?


This depends on: The size of your space, How decisive you are, The lead times of the pieces you need, Your schedule availability to take meetings and review deliverables.




How much should I expect to spend on furniture and finishings?


We are experts in sourcing and working within your projects' goals. The overall cost will depend on the size of your space, and the quality of the products and pieces you invest in. We send a breakdown for low, medium and high ranges for each room of the house in our proposal materials.




Where do you get your scientific info from?


We know, like and trust: www.sixclasses.org www.sustainablefurnishings.org www.declare.living-future.org www.NRDC.org www.greensciencepolicy.org www.EPA.gov www.acceleratingcircularity.org www.ipcc.ch




Do eco-friendly products & materials cost more?


Sometimes. Often, things made responsibly are made with high quality materials throughout the supply chain. Depending upon the availability and technology inherent to the processing of the material, we sometimes have to pay a little more for ethically and quality made materials. Here's some data on green product price premiums from the Sustainable Furnishings Council: Organic Textiles: 0 - 20% Rapidly renewable materials (i.e. bamboo): - 0% Certified responsibly sourced wood: 5% - 10% Bio-hybrid foam: 0% Latex/down: 20% - 30% Water-dyed leathers: 0%




What are your favorite eco-non-profits for the interior design industry?


These folks are doing great work closing the gaps in the circularity of products and materials common to this industry. Closing this gap helps reduce energy use, water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and to protect natural habitats. www.quiltsforkids.org - They divert discarded fabric samples from showroom and designers and transforms them into patchwork quilts to comfort children facing serious illness, trauma, abuse and natural disasters. www.ridwell.org - They pick up your stuff at your front door and we make sure it gets sustainably reused or recycled. You know your stuff stays out of the landfill. They also help consumers shop from responsible companies.
www.fabscrap.org - They collect excess scrap fabrics and recycle and repurpose them for various end products using an innovative business model. www.renovationangel.com - They divert kitchen, bath, and home appliances and furnishings from the landfill and repurpose them while providing jobs to the community and offering tax deduction receipts to donors. www.habitat.org/restores - A project by Habitat for Humanity collects kitchen, bath, and home appliances and furnishings from the landfill and repurpose them while providing jobs to the community and housing to those in need, with tax deduction receipts to donors. www.reconsideredgoods.org - They collect unwanted raw materials and connect donors to teachers, artists, makers and kids to reuse for their purposes while offering tax deducation receipts to donors. www.paintcare.org - Collection sites take leftover paint to be reused recycled or repurposed. www.thereusepeople.org - They divert what would-be demolition sites into deconstructed construction materials that are then redistributed to those in need while providing training to unemployed workers and offering tax deduction receipts to donors.




How do you charge?


Full-Service Projects: - We charge a monthly retainer (a flat fee). - The amount is calculated based on the scope of work and estimated time. - This is a win-win solution: you get a highly competitive rate and all-inclusive services, and we love the simple billing structure. E-Design Projects: - We charge a flat fee. - 50% is charged up front, and a payment schedule is organized for the remaining 50%. - The amount charged is based on the scope of work and estimated time. The hourly rate used for calculating service fees is $115