Whether your office design project incorporates building a new office from scratch, relocating to new premises or refurbishing your existing offices, sustainability and improving the overall environmental impact of your office should be a key consideration. Specifying sustainability objectives right at the inception of your project with clear and measurable targets is important.
To truly achieve the best when it comes to sustainability, the building itself is a key factor. When it comes to new buildings, there are many standards, such as BREEAM, SKA and LEED that must be adhered to in order to ensure that new buildings meet sustainability, efficiency and environmental criteria. If you are moving to new premises, it’s recommended that you research the energy efficiency of any building you are considering moving too.
Whilst there aren’t as many strict sustainability rules or guidelines when it comes to office interior design, it is good practice to ensure that offices are designed to meet your sustainability objectives in mind.
The third factor to consider when you’re setting sustainable targets for your office design is your employees. Having a sustainably designed building and office interior won’t reach its fullest potential unless your employees are brought in and coming on the journey too. Sustainability needs to be inherent throughout your entire business, making the commitment to environmentally friendly and sustainable activities isn’t just about your building and office design. It goes much deeper than that, with a companywide commitment to doing your bit for the environment being essential.
So, what are the benefits of designing a sustainable office?
A common misconception is that being green costs money. Research by Energy.gov indicates that making a building design sustainable can reduce annual energy costs by 30-50%, creating an ROI in five to 10 years. This can be achieved through using energy efficient technology and materials throughout your office interior, installing sources of renewable energy such as solar panels, and installing zonal occupancy lighting controls and demand control ventilation. Similarly, you can see considerable cost savings through specifying and installing numerous ways to reduce water usage, such as dual flush toilets, waterless urinals, and sensor-driven taps.
Carefully considering your company’s waste management will also bring huge cost savings. As part of your sustainable office design process, it’s advisable to consider which materials can be repurposed, recycled and re-used elsewhere within your office. Ensure that you source items that have been manufactured in the UK or the country/region where your office is located in order to keep transportation costs and negative environmental impact at a minimum. Furthermore, specify furniture that has been responsibly designed with sustainability in mind.
You want your cost savings to continue through to when the office is fully operational and occupied, so encouraging day-to-day cost savings is essential. Specifying general good practice when it comes to heating, cooling, water usage, printing and general waste will continue to bring on-going environmental and cost efficiencies.
A sustainable office should provide more natural light, better air quality, optimum temperatures, and improved acoustics, which in turn means a happier and healthier workforce, leading to improved employee productivity.
From the quality of the air that’s breathed by your employees, to more control over the temperatures of the spaces they are working in, the positive effect of a sustainable office on your employees’ output can range from 6% to 16% increase in productivity.
Everything from increasing the number of plants and using more natural and organic products for your furniture, fixtures and fittings have a positive impact.
Creating an environmentally friendly and sustainable office shouldn’t stop with the physical building or office interior. It should run through the core of the organisation and culture of the business.
From an office design point of view, it’s important that the office is designed with being environmentally friendly on a day-to-day basis in mind. This means giving consideration to and provisions for well-positioned recycling points, for example, and designing a flexible and agile office so it can be adapted in the future to accommodate the introduction of more sustainability measures further down the line.
Ultimately, with reducing our negative impact on the environment being an important aspect of our everyday life, by designing a sustainable office and encouraging everyday good practice when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint and impact on the environment, you will be making your company an attractive place to work. This will mean you are more likely to attract top talent and like-minded partners and customers.
Sustainability is an important factor to consider when designing your office, give us a call to discuss how we can help you.
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