Incorporating green initiatives into an office design is proven to have substantial benefits on energy costs, employee wellness, and productivity. Sustainable office spaces provide more comfort, have better air quality, and are energy-efficient compared to traditional ones.
As sustainable practices and methods become widely adopted, large companies have started embracing green systems to reduce their carbon impact. This comprehensive guide will highlight the vital elements to consider when upgrading to a sustainable office space with much information and strategies.
- Sustainability Objectives
At the early stages of the project, you can set sustainable design layouts. Identifying your desired level of sustainability is integral to ensuring success. Establishing the acceptable level of complexity for your business will help steer the project in the right direction and promote structure. It will also help create a checklist of your project objectives to accomplish your environmental goals.
Here is a checklist sample that you can use or serve as a guide:
- Increase energy efficiency to reduce ongoing costs
- Reduce carbon emissions
- Make better use of your space
- Boost productivity
- Create a healthier workplace (reduce VOCs3, improve air quality)
- Communicate a sustainable method to staff, stakeholders, and clients
It’s critical to find a fit-out partner with a solid understanding of sustainable policies and trends to make your office space more environmentally compliant, as well as propose a design scheme that perfectly balances your needs and aesthetic while subtly incorporating efficiency.
- Green Building
There’s always room for improvements, whether renovating your current office or moving to new business premises. Choosing a LEED-certified building will help establish sustainability even before fitting out your office. A green building with international accreditation helps validate the renewability of the establishment and manage cost-efficiency within the property.
Depending on your budget, there are many ways to influence your environmental performance, from considering material efficiency to increasing insulation with any surface insulated access doors. Here are other ways to boost your office sustainability:
- Maximize natural light with green office interiors to reduce dependency on artificial lighting.
- Installing an adequate space for bike parking can help motivate your employees to undertake a green travel policy to reduce fuel emissions and gas costs.
- Encourage employees by enabling a recycling program or monthly green competitions.
- Desk plants
- Go paperless by keeping digital files and backup on the computers.
- Switch off all lights and electricity at night.
It is critical to observe energy efficiency, water usage, carbon emissions, lighting, and air quality during the building selection and fit-out. Ask the building manager to provide you with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to help you make informed decisions. The data gathered is valuable if you aim to achieve a high level of sustainability in your office space.
- On-site Delivery
Your office project’s site management and construction phase is crucial in ensuring that your office is sustainable. Suppose you have just selected an accredited building for your business and are in the process of choosing eco-friendly materials and equipment for your space. In that case, it is essential to have your contractor understand your sustainability choices.
Your construction team must efficiently build a proper waste management disposal for any materials stripped from the existing space. It is ideal for refurbishing recyclable materials accordingly and procedures set in place for safely disposing of hazardous waste.
If you are remodeling your current space, you can take advantage of any reusable furniture by upcycling it to minimize the number of materials used on your project rather than throwing it away. It will also promote material efficiency and save you some on-site expenditures.
- Designing with Sustainably Sourced Materials
When choosing furniture and equipment, sourcing products with sustainability credentials is an excellent foundation. The materials you install in your office will significantly impact your office’s environmental performance, mainly related to the flooring, insulation, finishes, and even the fabrics used within the workplace.
Incorporate sustainability in the first stages of planning and design by actively speaking with your contractor to recommend which products to use at the onset of the project. Choosing repurposed, reusable, and recyclable furniture and materials are great solutions for an eco-friendly space.
- Lighting and Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is a top priority in sustainable office designs, with the primary goal of reducing power consumption and waste as much as possible. A thorough energy usage audit of your existing office arrangement will provide you with a reliable and accurate way of standardizing future operations and identifying weaknesses in the office structure and work practices. Reduce your carbon footprint by implementing some of these sustainable methods:
- Put reasonable limits on your temperature controls for day-to-day use
- Install an automatic shut-off system for equipment on standby
- Choose a Building Management System (BMS) to turn off power at night and on weekends automatically
- Choose light fittings with built-in daylight sensors to make the most of your natural light
- Install timers to shut off lighting on weekends and at night
- Use more natural ventilation
- Use ‘low emitting’ materials, without volatile chemicals
When designing a renewable space, carefully consider the heating, HVAC, plumbing systems, and lighting fixtures. While LED light is an excellent choice for efficient lighting, consider installing large glass windows and skylights wherever possible. It will allow sunlight to enlighten your space naturally and give your employees a great view of the outdoors, which has energizing and therapeutic effects.
There are numerous ways to upgrade to a sustainable office and promote energy conservation. The focus on recyclability and green energy has significantly grown and become a broader lifestyle change. This sustainable shift has influenced the design and materials used in construction projects as it realigns outdated practices to help address the climate crisis.