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International Journal of Advanced Computer Science, Vol. 1, No. 5, Pp. 202-208, Nov. 2011.

Survey on implementing sustainable issues into Interior Design Studios Project

Roslan Bin Talib & Mohd Zailan Sulieman
Abstract Interior Design works has become more important than it used to be as the interior works takes quite a big chuck in an overall construction works. Nowadays, the clients want to play bigger role in implementing the interior task and eager to use or have the green or sustainable building idea to be implemented into their interior and also on their exterior project. So, interior design with sustainable factors has become more important. Designers began to address the internal problems of their environment and recognize the importance of interior design role. In the meantime; while some interior designers using sustainable environmental design criteria in their design solutions, the study examines how they apply it as a component for the design problem has not been done. Thus, we must look back into the academic sectors where this field must play an important role in producing the designers especially the interior designer with fair knowledge on environmental friendly designs or in today term as design with sustainable or green design factors. Therefore, with the above goals, this research become an initial platform trying to measure on the students sensitivity in applying interior design sustainable issues into their academic studio projects. This study however will discuss on design studio project that addresses sustainability through an environmentally based research focus. Students somehow start the project with a research component, interpreting the usefulness of interiors sustainable material and the sustainable implications in the process of design decision been made. The process of recycling interior materials is advisable to use as well as recycling in the usage of interior products (i.e. furniture etc.). Furniture manufactured from not-recycled friendly materials are also been looking into not to be considered in the design. Therefore, this study examines the environmental conditions of a continuing practice of the sustainable interior design. Manuscript
Received: 7, Sep., 2011 Revised: 29, Oct.,2011 Accepted: 15, Nov.,2011 Published: 15, Dec.,2011

1. Introduction
To educate the next generation that sustainability is not a method, but standard practice, it is critical that we consider teaching practices that incorporate in depth understanding of sustainable practice. The sustainable envelope proposes the use of a more than typical building materials and decision in designing within an unarticulated shell - and as design process of conceiving a sustainable interior design. The investigation of sustainability in Interior Design necessitates the exploration of sustainability beyond the specification of materials to incorporate an appreciation for the limitations of the environment [1]. Although interior designers acknowledge the importance of environmentally sustainable design, its application to interior design projects did not reach the same level as its perceived importance [2]. There will be 16 third (final) [Batch 2] year students been selected in this research and for Phase 1; their Interior Design Studio projects conducting in Semester 1 Session 2010/2011 beginning in July 2010 and ends in November 2010 become part of the survey. There is Phase 2 study which is the continuation of Phase 1 being done in Semester 2 for more detail survey research. The students are in Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, Malaysia and all are the Malaysian citizens of Malay and Chinese descendent with one Saudi Arabian student. Initial also has been done on the previous batch focusing on 33 students; all local Malaysian with two Iranian students, two People Republic of China students and three Indonesian students (see Table 1and Table 2). Awareness of the practice will provide a basis for developing educational strategies for sustainable interior design. Interior designers can educate by identifying components that are less frequently applied in the ongoing design and develop teaching methods to further strengthen on individual sustainable understanding. While other sectors of the economy have their own programs to strive for sustainability, emphasis must be done in having the initiatives to change the physical outlook of future built environment in the tropical region particularly Malaysia [3]. A. Materials and Method This study will discuss on design studio project that addresses sustainability through an environmentally based research focus. Students somehow start the project with a research component, interpreting the usefulness of interiors sustainable material and the sustainable implications in the process of design decision been made. For example; the design process of using natural light for the interior is advisable to use; instead of using mechanical lighting fixtures to light-up interior spaces. Carpet or linen

sustainable education, teaching sustainable, sustainable interior, sustainable design.

Roslan Bin Talib et al.: Survey on implementing sustainable issues into Interior Design Studios Project.


manufactured from not-recycled friendly materials are also been looking into not to be considered in the design.
RDS 308 - ID Studio Year 3 Semester 1 (projects list) General summary brief indicated require green building oriented 1. Circulation RDS 309 -ID Studio Year 3 Semester 2 (project list) General summary brief indicated require green design Year 3 Interior Design Studio students (12-16 students, attending during year 2010 and 2011)

1. Conceptual model 9 nos. of Studio projects for Sem. 1 and 2 (Approx. 2,300 sq m, 2 storeys) Process in getting sustainable issues into projects in Project 1, 2, 3 and 5 (summary)

2. Form, space & function Process in getting sustainable issues into projects in Project 1,2, 3 and 4 (summary)

2.Major & Minor area interiors

SUSTAINABLE ISSUES: * 6 main sustainable interior principles by US General Services Admin. * Abstract on US LEED 2009 for commercial interiors * Other interior related sustainable issues from references ie. internet, journals, books etc.

3. Interior themes

3. Space, circulation & materials

4. Bill of quantities (base on initial design)

4. Model making Refinement of sustainable studio program 5. Bill of quatities (base on latest design) LITERATURE RESEARCHbooks, internet, journals

Fig. 2. Relationship in identifying sustainable principles

Fig. 1. The flow chart showing the process in getting the sustainable input being formulated from the students studio work

US LEED US Government Admin

SITE VISTE Sustainable project: Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Melaka

This research is meant to create a discourse in determining the sustainable qualities of a material used in the ID studio tasks. Material is integral to the palette of interior design. In this problem the students investigate material as a catalyst for encouraging environmental and sustainable research beyond material itself. The sustainable envelope as site investigates the consideration of sustainability both within the interior and through the structure. The paper will discuss how the sustainable envelope as a research base facilitates a broadening in the knowledge of, appreciation for, and approach to consideration of sustainability beyond the specification of material in Interior Design Studio projects. The research will incorporating two Interior Design Studio courses: RDS 308: Interior Design Studio 3 and RDS 309: Interior Design Studio 4 that commenced during Semester 1 Session 2010/2011 and Semester 2 2010/2011 respectively. Students will prepare a synopsis, including information sources, of an example of human interaction with the environment that shows either positive or negative impact. Students will select a material or product that is identified as environmentally friendly or responsible and evaluate the product to confirm or deny the truthfulness of the marketing presentation. Through-out the design process, evaluation and finding of the final report will be based on acquired knowledge about sustainable production and materials. Student teams will select a built interior design project that utilizes sustainable building techniques and/or green materials and products. Teams utilizing the US LEED standards, US General Services Administration sustainable principles as well as from other resources i.e. books, journal etc. to evaluate the project and to produce among the final presentation related drawings to be documented (for final report and book/monograph) in regards to their internal envelope or the interior spaces (see Fig. 1, Fig. 2 and Fig. 3).
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Bio-climatic buiding Eco-friendly buildings Sustainable design Input from USM Year 3 ID Green Studio for 2 semesters oriented design brief

Analyse data from site visit and from ID Studio

Tabling data and write findings

Fig. 3. Simple linkage diagram connecting various parties/stage in getting the green impact design in place

For this initial study, several conclusions can be made from the graph. By using US LEED sustainable rating system as a guide and having rating 1 to 5 (5 responds giving higher sustainable issues applied within the individual project), it seems like most of the students doing pretty well in making consciousness of the green impact input design [4]. The graph having up and down effects as students giving less and more sustainable gesture inputs i.e. some students only mentioned in text or only indicated briefly in their building quantity report (less) compare with those clearly shown in floor plan (with label on green input) and perspectives or even repeatedly clearly mentioned in the their building quantity report (more) (see Fig. 4 and also see Table 1 for the relationship).


International Journal of Advanced Computer Science, Vol. 1, No. 5, Pp. 202-208, Nov. 2011.

Sem.1 & 2 Sess.2009/2010 Year 3 ID Studio - Sustainable input based on LEED rating system.

having projects range from Barbie Doll Center in Penang (10 minutes drive from USM campus) to the exotic pet shop located at the tip of the Malaysia peninsular near Singapore (about 9 hours driving using the national freeway from Penang).







0 5

Location/Planning Water Efficiency

Sustainable Sites Energy/ Atmosphere Indoor Env. Quality Regional priority Fig. 5. Most of the study (especially on the graph studies) is based on the US General Services Admin sustainable principles followed by US LEED rating system and other available resources

Materials & resouces Innovation/Design process

Fig. 4. Using LEED rating for the initial study on Batch 1 group TABLE 1. EXTRACTING LEED RATING FOR GRAPHICAL SURVEY STUDY No. LEED Rating Related summary address 8 major areas 1. Location and Improve neighborhood Planning 2. Sustainable Sites Site selection; Public Transport; Parking. 3. Water Efficiency Water use reduction i.e. using toilet tank eco-water save 4. Energy and Control daylight; Comply Atmosphere Energy-STAR; Install light sensor; Using skylight 5. Materials and Material Re-use Furniture; Resources Regional Materials; Rapidly Renewable Material i.e. bamboo; Certified Wood 6. Indoor Low-Emitting Materials i.e. Environmental V.O.C. paints, composite Quality wood; Daylight gain 7. Innovation and Educate green to project Design Process team 8. Regional Priority Important to region


Figure 7 and Fig. 8 are the result from the extraction findings mostly from the Final B.Q. Project (Project No.4) booklet report and also some input from all previous three projects. The data tabulation from Fig. 7 and Fig. 8 are derived from input in relation to the sustainable design or materials which are being trace from the students reports and drawings. Semester 1 Session 2010/2011 duration is from July 2010 to November 2010. For information there are 2 full time lecturers involving teaching and critique for this studio. Also, the resources from US General Services Administrations 6 sustainable principles are being used regularly for this Batch 2 group on Semester 1 study (see Fig. 5).

3. Findings from Fig. 6

Column-free area showing no input at all been given by the students in making consideration on having sustainable factors to be considered to incorporate into their project. All students (except one student) consider to have LED lighting as an alternative to non-LED lighting for artificial lighting to be applied in their interior scheme. No student consider in applying all the sustainable factors into their design. The pattern for the above graph shows that the students level of thinking incorporating the sustainable issues into their project still have plenty of room to improve. Quite a big number of students not considering more than 3 sustainable factors being applied into their schemes. This trend shows students seems not making greater interest on having the ID sustainable issues as important elements in their design process from the studio works.

2. Discussion- Phase 1: Findings on ID Sustainable Issues Application in Semester 1 Session 2010/2011

Below are the analysis been done after Semester 1 ends having 16 students been selected for the survey. The studio also having one foreign student (form Saudi Arabia) and he is working on a project in Jeddah but still to incorporate the green factors into his project regardless its location at the Arabian desert. The rest of the students are Malaysian and

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Roslan Bin Talib et al.: Survey on implementing sustainable issues into Interior Design Studios Project.


Sem 1: Summary on Sustainable Input for Studio Project- Overall tabulation

1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0
Au gu st in a F Be uad eT in g Ja c So Joye o Ho e Le on eY in S g Fa in Y du i l Ri lah dz w Sh a n az w an Ad illa Izz Fa ati rh an Za a in ab


Sem 1: Summary Sustainable Input for Studio Project Individual Achievement

100% 50%
Augustina Fuad Bee Ting Jac Joyee Soo Hoon Lee Ying Sin Yi Fadullah Ridzwan Shazwan Adilla Izzati Farhana Zainab


Key: A= Courtyard for natural ventilation and natural lighting B = Harvesting rainwater for water feature at courtyard C= Skylight for natural lighting D= Sustainable furniture or interior finishes E= Sustainable interior floor finishes F= Sustainable interior wall finishes G= Sustainable interior ceiling finishes H= Using LED for interior lighting Fig. 6. Summary on sustainable input for Year 3 ID Studio (sem. 1) showing overall tabulation on overall students respond to sustainable issues taken into consideration on individual project

4. Findings from Fig. 7

The more divisional boxes within one column indicate that the student responds greater input on sustainable issues taken into consideration into his or her studio project. From the graph above shows only 2 from 15 students having 5 sustainable factors been applied in their design. Sadly, one student have not consider at all on having an interest in applying the factor into his design even after the lecturers giving individual critique ensuring having sustainable input into the design. 5 students having only one sustainable factor being applied in their tasks. The factor is on applying LED lighting for interior artificial light as they seem to have taken lighting class during their 2nd year semesters. It seems like there are still more input to be taken to ensure better graph been produced for next semester on individual student achievement in applying the ID sustainable issues into their studio projects.

Key: A= Courtyard for natural ventilation and natural lighting, B = Harvesting rainwater for water feature at courtyard, C= Skylight for natural lighting, D= Sustainable furniture or interior finishes, E= Sustainable interior floor finishes, F= Sustainable interior wall finishes, G= Sustainable interior ceiling finishes, H= Using LED for interior lighting Fig. 7. Summary on sustainable input for Year 3 ID Studio (sem. 1) showing overall tabulation on individual student responds to sustainable issues taken into consideration on individual project

Sem.1: Students respond using 6 Main Sustainable Principles Input on overall all ID Studio Projects for Session 2010/2011

3 2 1 1 0 2 3










4 5 6






5. Findings from Fig. 8

By combining the Six Sustainable Main Principles (refer to Fig. 8) with the Interior Design related Sustainable Input developed and summarized by the author; Fig. 8 graph above indicated that there are much empty room still can be seen clearly showing students lacking attitude in applying or considering using ID sustainable knowledge into their work. Factor 3 above shows combining 3 main ID factors i.e. floor, wall and ceiling into the sustainable products or materials input having may seems success where7 out 15 students did that.
Key: Students responded on Six Interior Sustainable Main Principles such as: 1= Optimize size potential/ Sustainable Furniture or Interior Finishes 2= Minimize non-renewable energy consumption/ Courtyard for natural ventilation and natural lighting 3= Use environmentally preferable products/Sustainable interior floor, wall and ceiling finishes 4= Protect and conserve water/Harvesting rainwater for water feature at courtyard 5= Enhance indoor environmental quality /Skylight for natural lighting 6 = Optimize operational and maintenance practices/Using LED for interior lighting Fig. 8. Students responded survey using 6 Main sustainable Principles Input on overall all ID Studio Projects for Semester 1 session 2010/2011

Anyway; the combining factors analysis helps to show

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International Journal of Advanced Computer Science, Vol. 1, No. 5, Pp. 202-208, Nov. 2011.

both factors are correlated and strengthening the issues hoping to see better students usage on applying the said factors. The combining factors versus student list graph above give an indication that a little bit more than half of applied column still flat meaning that the students only have half of their consciousness thinking in using sustainable ideas and still afraid to throw them into their individual project. As expected, there should be not a perfect graph been produced as the students still in the learning process but better and fair graph result can be seen for the next semester (Semester 2 Session 2101/2011) if the ID sustainable knowledge really been considered by them.

6. Discussion -Phase 2: Findings on ID Sustainable Issues Application in Semester 2 Session 2010/2011 Finding from Fig. 9
This analysis is based on the submission of project no. 1 (see Fig. 9) which is to do the sculptural model from the Langkawi Island visit. The sculpture will be put within an interior space to be located in an interior courtyard space of the individual project. The graph indicated that four main materials been indicated by the students in order to built this sculpture. Those are made of natural stone considering the local stone and considered as sustainable material use for making the real sculpture receiving the highest points. Next, the students seem to indicate to have either whole aluminum or the whole steel as their choice to build the monument. This is the type of material that majority of the students preferred and aluminum or steel are not really sustainable materials choice. The last two minor groups having a combination of sustainable material i.e. timber and bamboo together with non-sustainable material i.e. aluminum and steel; as their choice to build the conceptual model. This last group receives middle value of marks thus trying to balance the majority lower points in using non-sustainable material for the model. Overall, the graph clearly show that the students still not fully consider using sustainable material for the sculpture regardless the critique series done within the 2 weeks of project period. The critiques clearly giving awareness in option they have to opt sustainable materials being considered to use in order to build the sculpture.

Fig. 9. Graph analysis for Semester 2 Session 2010/2011 Project No.1 on using sustainable material for the sculpture. This particular exercise using scale 1 to 5 as the highest input have 5 marks

Sem.2 : Project No. 2 on internal landscape sustainable issues input for Year 3 ID Studio Green Wall Session 2010/2011
Recycle/ water pond

Recycle stone/bamboo floor Local plant Shading device Solar power

Natural light

Natural light

Local plant


Recycle/ waterSolar pondpower





Green Wall

Shading device




Recycle stone/bamboo floor

Fig. 10. Task 2 Internal landscape sustainable issues input for Year 3 Interior Design Studio Semester 2. Scale using 1-5 for frequency of application (5 is the highest frequent)

8. Findings from Fig. 11

A simple analysis conclusion can be derived from the above graph indicating most of students begin higher awareness in implementing green features into their design. Being the last project where green design can be implemented, most students seem looks much matured in applying the sustainable points in their schemes. However, certain issues still getting less attention i.e. using recycle glass or using eco-safe fabric. The most popular sustainable input seems using recycle timber for flooring.

7. Findings from Fig. 10

For this study, the sustainable inputs were driven from typical sustainable issues gathered from most of the printed sources i.e. books, journals etc. The graph shows that certain aspects of sustainable receive good response from the students i.e. using green wall and having local plant. However, lesser students are giving attention in applying solar power for this task.

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Roslan Bin Talib et al.: Survey on implementing sustainable issues into Interior Design Studios Project.


Sem. 2: Project No.3 on using sustainable material for task on spaces, circulation & materials.




Recycle timber ZAINAB BINTI HAMZAH Recycle timber floor Bamboo floor Recycle stone/concrete Water/landscape feature Eco safe fabric

Fig. 11. Sustainable input using typical green issues for Task 3 using scale 1 to 4 where 4 gets highest mark for green input

of the design process. With the option we have now of having no planet B, future generation of Interior Designer must well equip and well aware how important to have sustainable green design. Thus certain initial conclusion can be derived from the study where most of graphs indicated that by stressing the importance of the green design, students can be guided and produced satisfied results. There are still much rooms can be filled to improve the implementation process of the sustainable issue within the academic field. As Universiti Sains Malaysia already being labeled as the key player in having these sustainable role really being applied and the affords are well known and well receive among the region top universities; this Interior Design Sustainable Studio exercise can be made as standard practice. Whether lifecycle analysis, reducing landfill, buying local, downsizing, salvage, re-purposing, heirloom design, anti-allergy, reducing VOCS or day lighting for productivity. These are to name a mere few. Sustainable interior design pulls away from changing trends and synthetic culture, returning to a more traditional, local and natural way of living. Consideration of environmental

9. Findings from Fig. 12

Graph using US LEED 2009 for Commercial Interiors for Sem. 2 ID Year 3 Studio Projects

issues in construction projects has economic, ecological and social implications [5].
To combine these elements and accomplish a design solution that offers a practical, functional, stylish and ethical interior, alongside the occupants requirements can be quite a feat. In that challenge lays a new perspective. The holistic approach is to acknowledge that as humans we are only visiting the earth, we are not the owners. Together these offer a more intelligent method, one that respects our future. The research indicated that the up and down of the graphs lines giving better clues that the challenge in training students with green and sustainable design attitude received quite a good outcome. Furthermore, with the Federal

Augustina Bee Ting Soo Hoon Sin Yi 3 Nur Izzati 1 0 Farhana

Using alternative water sourse e.g., rainwater etc. Using/control day light and LED light Using recycle construction material e.g.bamboo floor. Using certified wood from wellmanaged forest ie. Naturally ventilated spaces/buildings Using Low-Emiting Materilas ies Zero VOC paints etc.

Using alternative water sourse e.g., rainwater etc.

Using/control day light and LED light 4 Using recycle construction material e.g.bamboo floor. Using certified wood from well-managed forest ie.

Naturally ventilated spaces/buildings

Using Low-Emiting Materilas ies Zero VOC paints etc.

Government policy in encouraging better living environment as shown in the Federal Government staff double storey terrace housing in new city like Putrajaya, Malaysia; looking into the comfort of having sustainable homes with sustainable interior feature can become the Malaysian trend lately [6]-[7].
For years we have been engaged in a consumer driven culture, buying without thought. Media has helped us begin to grasp the seriousness of our man made actions, making way for sustainable building methods and raised public awareness in Malaysia, Europe or in the USA. However, green principles usually stop on pre interior fit. Whats inside the building is just as important, as every part of an interior has an impact on our health, wellbeing and the environment. Its time to acknowledge the value of sustainable interiors as an integral part of design and build and not an afterthought.

Fig. 12. Extraction from US LEED 2009 in identifying green factors into the students overall design

From the graph, we can make a summary that by the time the students finalizing their projects end of the semester session, most of the schemes are more matured and loaded with sustainable inputs. For this analysis, by extracting US LEED sustainable ratings system in using scale 1-4 (meaning 4 point indicating highest sustainable response input; 1 is for less input) most of students give positive sustainable input into their projects.

10. Conclusion
The green approach is simply responsible design. Having a responsibility to sustain life and land with every design decision made are the great things to do. As we see bigger role playing by the Interior Designer in contributing the process of designing the built environment; green is an umbrella term for a myriad of elements considered as part
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The authors would like to thank to Universiti Sains Malaysia on providing research assistants (Ms Syairah Zaimah Shafie and Ms Wan Nur Liyana Wan Mohd) through USM Short Term Research Grant No.


International Journal of Advanced Computer Science, Vol. 1, No. 5, Pp. 202-208, Nov. 2011.

304/PPBGN/6310042 which enable the research to progress smoothly.

[1] D. Schneiderman, The Sustainable Envelope: Teaching Sustainable Practice in the Interior Design, Studio, (2008) International. Journal. of Envi., Cul. Econ. & Soc. Sustainability ; vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 11-18. [2] M. Kang & D.A. Guerin, The State of Environmentally Sustainable Interior Design Practice, (2009) Journal. of Envi. Sci, vol. 5; no. 2, pp.179-186. [3] A.M. Abdulrahman, M.H. Abdulsamad, A. Bahauddin & M.R. Ismail, Towards a Low-Energy Building design for Tropical Malaysia, (2009) Pulau Pinang, Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia, pp. 3-20. [4] R. Talib & M.Z. Sulieman, Survey on implementing sustainable issues into Interior Design Studios Project, (2011) Intternatinal Proceeding of ISEMS Conference, Thailand, pp.155-159. [5] D. Gauzin-Muller, Sustainable Architecture and Urbanism, (2002). [6] L. Sharkey, Dreaming Green. New York, Clarkson Potter, 2008. [7] R.Talib, P.O.E. on Selected Governments Double Storey Terrace Housing Units in Putrajaya, (2011) Malaysia, Journal of Asian Culture & Hist, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 125-37. Roslan B. Talib received his B. Sc in Arch. Studies at Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee USA in 1986 and Master of Architecture (Urban Design) at Kent State Univ. Ohio USA in 1988 . He will be pursuing his PhD in 2012 in managing sustainable interior for Malaysian houses and office buildings. Currently he is teaching interior design at Universiti Sains Malaysia and having university research grant doing study on students input on sustainable issues on studio projects. He is also have hands-on experience dealing with interior defects works as well as architectural design and project management through his 16 years experience working in public and private companies in Malaysia i.e. JKR and Renong Group; with projects ranges from National Science Center, National Stadium (including Swimming Complex and Indoor Stadium) to KL International Airport planning (with Netherlands Airport Consortium).

Mohd Z. Sulieman graduated in Surveying (Property Management) with honours from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in 1997 and earned his M.Sc. in Building Technology and PhD in Building Science and Engineering from Universiti Sains Malaysia in 2005. Currently he is a Building Surveying Programme Coordinator in the School of Housing, Building and Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia. He has 12 years hands-on teaching and construction experience. He has written more than 15 technical papers and was published in the local and international proceedings. Enjoys being part of, as well as managing, motivating, training and developing, a successful and productive team and thrives in highly pressurised and challenging working environments.

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