Thinking and discussion around the environmental impact of yachting is growing, with propulsion and construction
the usual focus. But the sustainable design movement is also gaining popularity, with yacht owners desiring a variety of eco-friendly options, especially in sustainable decoration, furnishings and finishes. A pioneer of the green boating movement, we hear from Sunreef Yachts’ about its focus on sustainable yacht design.
We hear from specialist luxury catamaran yacht builder, Sunreef, about its drive to source and use sustainable materials and promote the concept of positive luxury.
Sustainability on all levels
When thinking about sustainable design you have to think globally and all-along the supply chain. Before focusing on the material itself, the origin of a given material or fabric has to be considered. Then, other factors come into play, such as packaging and transportation. Everything across the design and manufacturing process has an effect on the carbon footprint, so it is vital to cut down the amount of waste and emissions by, for example, focusing on local resources, because short transport means low carbon footprint. Focusing on the material itself, quality and durability play a huge role in sustainability as good materials will last for years with no need to replace them. A responsible material choice also takes the future into account. A product’s entire lifecycle plays a fundamental role, with how it can be recycled or reused. Similarly, good design should not go out of fashion quickly and so can remain in use for years.
A positive trend
Sustainable solutions in custom yacht design are tied directly to clients that are becoming more aware and responsible. They are very curious about eco-materials and it is the yacht designer’s job to be equally enthusiastic and knowledgeable, able to advise on what best options are available. Sunreef Yachts Eco catamarans have long been notable as hi-tech and sustainable boats in terms of construction and performance. Now, with its interiors equally coherent in the needs of sustainability, we have the very real opportunity for the complete green yacht. This eco-focus not only benefits the Sunreef range and yacht Owners but also contributes to a wider, pan-industry vision on design. Customers and designers have always generated trends that influence the whole industry. The customers’ role is vital: if the demand for eco materials grows, the producers will respond both in terms of supply and development.
Thinking and discussion around the environmental impact of yachting is growing, with propulsion and construction the usual focus. But the sustainable design movement is also gaining popularity, with yacht owners desiring a variety of eco-friendly options, especially in sustainable decoration,furnishings and finishes. A pioneer of the green boating movement, we hear from Sunreef Yachts’ about its focus on sustainable yacht design.
Eco materials: natural & recycled
Eco-materials can be naturally-sourced or recycled. Natural materials like linen, wool and bamboo are good eco-examples offering durability with refined aesthetics. The recycled material group includes a wide range of fabrics and materials such as ecological suede – made from recycled polyester – that ensures a low level of emissions and energy consumption during production. Recycling polyester can reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions into the atmosphere by 80% compared to the traditional petrol-based polyester production process. Recycled polyester derives from clothing fibers and PET (bottles, plastics). Fabrics that are offered on Sunreef Yachts Eco catamarans have a Life Cycle Assessment analysis (LCA). By reusing discarded goods or components adapted to another function, the material gets a distinct new life cycle, for example we use plastic from handbags. Converting old or discarded materials into something useful allows them to re-enter the economy. Repurposing enables financial savings through reduced cost of production by obtaining reclaimed material, or the reduction of waste.
The future of the sustainable yacht design movement
The main goal of sustainable yacht décor is the progressive reduction and hopefully elimination of waste – particularly plastics. Luxury brands collaborate with science based research to empower these ambitions. They obtain surprising effects so the visual and more importantly functional features are stunning. Hopefully all the materials available on the market will become sustainable, responsibly produced, reused, and eventually eco-décor will become the norm, mainstream and the unavoidable go-to quality standard. What can designers do? Enthuse, educate and influence consumers with a market that cooperates with and supports companies that are transparent about sourcing, manufacturing, and packaging their products. Integrating better practices, behaviors and taking small local steps will increase the global effect.
As part of its move towards eco-design in yachting, Sunreef uses the term ‘positive luxury’ to describe a quality of material that can be considered sustainable while also maintaining the highest standards. Indeed, sometimes it is hard to distinguish recycled materials from newly created luxury examples. With companies mastering the quality of recycled and eco materials, there really is no need for compromise on luxury.