The first step to develop a resource library is creating a filing system that is intuitive. Many designers sort by product type, then sub-categories. For example, Annette Stelmack, Allied ASID, LEED AP BD+C, Inspirit-llc, organizes by CSI divisions to streamline the CD phase.
Is it live or Memorex?
Resource libraries can be physical or virtual, but many designers are trending toward electronic samples. While the biggest advantage to a physical library is the capability to manipulate products for color rendering and in-person presentations, cons include adequate space to house materials, upkeep, and disposal of unwanted samples. The benefits of a virtual library include unlimited storage capabilities, simultaneous access by multiple staff, ability to capture inspiration on the go, such as Pinterest and Houzz, and no waste issues. Drawbacks include the loss of tactile sensation of a physical sample and technology challenges.
The Internet has made it easier to keep a lean resource library without compromising selection or variety. Olga Alvarez, ASID, LEED AP or Project Coordinating Services, utilizes e-libraries such as TODL, Sweet’s, and Arcat to save time and space. Check out Tricycle and Tryk Tools. Remember to bookmark your favorite sites for quick access.
Striking a balance
Kirsten Flynn, Allied ASID, LEED GA of Sustainable Home, only stocks a few samples from trusted sources such as Yolo Colorhouse and O Ecotextiles because of their sustainable and health attributes. The constant improvement of materials motivates Victoria Schomer, ASID, LEED AP BD+C of GreenBuilt Environments, to assess products online, then order minimal and specific samples. She works with clients with multiple chemical sensitivities and cautions that samples that have been sitting on the shelf are not good representations of the actual product because their potential to trigger a reaction has diminished. Instead, Schomer recommends ordering a fresh sample of the exact product that will be used in the client space to gauge compatibility.
Set aside time on a regular basis to reorganize and update is essential. Laura Pehling of Zoe+Johnson Interiors purges her collection annually and gives carpet samples to childcare centers and animal shelters, floor tiles to art centers, and memo samples to elementary school art teachers. Businesses such as ZeroLandfill perform similar upcycling services on a larger scale. If you’re crafty, create some unique art with things such as these paint samples!
Lori Tugman, Allied ASID, LEED Green Associate, is the senior sustainable design associate at ASID. Email comments to SustainableDesign@asid.org.
Photo courtesy of Pinterest user Tabitha Becker