April 24, 2013 - 4 comments

It’s Easy Being Green: Sustainable Design in Hawaii

Things To Consider When Remodeling/Building for a Sustainable and Healthy Environment

Living in Hawaii, surrounded by such astounding natural beauty, has inspired many property owners to keep Mother Nature in mind when building and remodeling their homes and businesses. The trend towards sustainable design in Hawaii is encouraged and supported by the availability of many "green" products and suppliers. Although green design leaves less of an impact on the environment, it may have an impact on your wallet. According to Eco-Home Magazine's Sept. 2012 issue, “Homes labeled Energy Star, LEED for Homes and Green Point Rated sell for 9% more than comparable non-labeled homes.

Whether you're looking for improved energy and water efficiency, committed to using recycled or sustainable materials for your floor coverings and counter tops, or just want to use less toxic products in general, we say "kudos to you!"

Following are simple guidelines to help you have a more sustainable and healthy home and office.

Interior Finishes:

Use no-VOC paint. VOC = Volatile Organic Compounds: The unhealthy off-gassing from paints, adhesives, etc. For paint follow the Green Seal standard GS 11. Flat:50 g/L; Non-flat: 150 g/L.

benjamin_moore-no-voc-paint used in green design by Trans-Pacific Design in Hawaii

Benjamin Moore Natural® No-VOC Paint

sherwin-williams-zero-voc-paint1 used for green design in Hawaii by Trans-Pacific Design

Sherwin Williams ProMar® 200 Zero VOC Interior Latex Paint

For a natural, environmentally friendly finish. A non-toxic alternative to paint, wallpaper, cement, acrylic and gypsum based plasters, use American Clay Earth Plaster.


When adhering Countertops, wood flooring, etc. select low VOC content with an average of <50 g/L.


Use FSC or reclaimed wood or recycled content with no urea-formaldehyde resins.

ROS RediFinish Products used in the kitchen by Trans-Pacific Design green design in Hawaii

Roseburg decorative wood panels
on ‘green’ core.

fine-finished-bamboo-kitchen-cabinets used by Trans-Pacific Design in Hawaii for "Green Design"

Bamboo Plywood cabinets

Floor materials:

Select products that meet the Green Label Plus or Green Guard programs. For wood flooring this would include: Recycled content, rapidly renewable or FSC sourced woods.

Trans-Pacific Design works with green design materials-Crossvill Ceramic Tile

Crossville Ceramic Tile: Color Blox: Recycled content

Trans-Pacific Design uses green design concepts using Flor Carapet tiles

Flor Carpet tiles: 100% recycled face materials

Big Island interior designer Trans-Pacific Design suggests Terragren Bamboo flooring for green design

Terragren Bamboo Flooring: Rapidly Renewable materials

Counter Tops:

Recycled content or reclaimed and composite materials with low VOC sealers.

Corian Terra Collection Blue Pepple used in green designs by Trans-Pacific Design in Hawaii

Corian® Terra
Collection Blue Pebble

DuPont Zodiaq quartz surface countertops used by Trans-Pacific Design in Hawaii for green design

DuPont™ Zodiaq®
quartz surface

Vetrazza recycled glass coutertop material used by Trans-Pacific Design in Hawaii for "Green Design"

Vetrazzo Recycled Glass Countertops

Plumbing Fixtures:

Select high efficiency (low flow) fixtures & fittings:

  • Faucets: </= 2.00/gpm to </= 1.5 gpm
  • Showers: </= 2.00/gpm to </= 1.75 gpm
  • Toilets: </= 1.3/gpm to or dual flush or </= 1.10 gpm
  • Energy Star labeled lights using compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED lamping.
  • Add Solar Tubes or skylights in dark interior rooms.
  • Use motion sensors for exterior lighting.

Select Energy Star labeled refrigerators, ceiling fans, dishwashers and clothes dryers


Find furniture using recycled, rapidly renewable materials, FSC woods or re-purpose existing furnishings.


Image of sustainable design fabrics used by Trans-Pacif Design, Knoll Intrigue fabrics with renewable materials wool and cottonFind products using rapidly renewal materials.  Choose Tencel Plus Lyocell over bamboo fabrics as toxic chemicals are required to render the bamboo into fibers. Pictured rightKnoll Intrigue fabric with renewable materials including wool & cotton.

Resources & Glossary:

  1. US Green Building Council
  2. Green Guard: Third party health based certification to help identify healthier products.
  3. Green Squared Certified Products: “Industry standard for sustainable tile and tile installation products: ceramic & glass tiles, grouts, mortars, etc.”; Interiors & Sources May 2012
  4. LEED: Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design
  5. LEED AP:  LEED Accredited Professional: achieved through study and testing.
  6. Green Label Plus: Carpet & Rug Institute’s Eco-labeling program focusing on emissions to meet CA 01350 (A VOC test for emissions)
  7. Floorscore: Resilient Floorcovering Institute certification for products that meet CA 01350

Published by: Susan J. Moss, ASID, LEED Accredited Professional in Active Blog, Commercial
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July 28, 2014 at 7:00 am

Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as
long as I provide credit and sources back to your website?
My blog is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would certainly benefit from
a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you.

Comments are closed.

    Susan Moss
    July 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Aloha Arlie,

    I would be honored if you quoted from my posts as long as you provide the credit and sources back to my website.

    Thank you for asking!

    Comments are closed.

KM1 Modern Furniture Grand Rapids|
March 11, 2015 at 2:19 pm

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Comments are closed.

    Sue Moss
    March 11, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    I”m glad you found it useful! It hasn’t been updated in awhile so I hope all the info is still current!

    Comments are closed.