Incorporating sustainability in office design

We previously covered ‘the Office Design Trends to Expect in 2020’, with sustainability and green office spaces being at the forefront of these. From sustainable materials to finding ways to control energy usage, and complying with stringent ecological restrictions, organisations are now making more concerted efforts to incorporate sustainability in office design. Businesses can have a greater impact on sustainability initiatives by following current building trends that are being found in both commercial and personal properties. Here are some tips for going green in the workplace:

Implement proper waste management

Although many things are now digital, mountains of paper continue to go to waste daily. Businesses are big contributors to this, and also generate other waste from product packaging to ink cartridges, batteries, plastic, food, and everything in between. Implement proper waste management by putting up designated composting, reusing, and recycling bins throughout the office so that people have no excuse but to take part in these practices. You can go through reusing and recycling bins and see how to best utilise paper, folders, notebooks, and the like. Several commercial companies also accept old cartridges and batteries.

Get your heating system checked and updated

How you heat the office can have a huge impact on how sustainable the building is. Most buildings in the UK use traditional methods of heating which account for up to 19% of the country’s total carbon emissions. The good news is that the UK’s home property market is reacting to this with the target to eliminate gas boilers by 2025 in new properties being developed. With more homeowners becoming eco-conscious at the thought of updating their heating systems, HomeServe are suggesting to their 1.8 million customers that they check their boilers and heating systems to see if they need upgrading. This is advice that commercial buildings can also follow in order to reduce their own emissions. Something that modern office buildings are doing, with Bloomberg’s London HQ hailed as the most sustainable office in the world due to its advanced temperature control systems. While most commercial buildings won’t be able to go that high tech, many can do a lot more to be sustainable through upgrading their current heating systems.

Choose sustainable manufacturers

If you believe in having a green office, take into consideration suppliers and manufacturers who operate under the same ethos. Look for manufacturers who can supply you with the raw materials that they have used, and those who avoid banned materials and chemical treatments. Make sure that your suppliers also use green measures in delivering furniture, have low volatile organic compounds from manufacturing these materials, and also uphold fair labour practices. Opting for sustainable manufacturers means that you are consciously making environmentally aware decisions and are taking note of your own role in the supply chain.

Consider your lighting

It is a given that lights should be switched off in rooms when they are not in use. If you still find this to be a problem, put up signs beside switches to remind people to turn the lights off once they leave the room. Consider replacingincandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps or LED bulbs when you can; these are proven to use 75% less energy than your standard bulbs while still offering the same amount of light. This is the same lighting being effectively used in smart homes, where LED light bulbs or switches have wireless sensors to automatically switch off lights to conserve energy. This is another simple step from the home property market that commercial buildings should be following. To make the most out of natural light and thus reduce the need for artificial light, paint walls a lighter colour to reflect sunlight as much as possible.

There is no longer an excuse for forgoing sustainable practices when it comes to office design. Knowing that we all have a role to play in reducing our carbon footprints and fostering eco-friendliness starts from our own spheres of influence – for many people this means where they live and work. 

Written by Sandra Whitaker exclusively for cskprojects.co.uk