How can you make sure that you build a sustainable office for the future? The sustainability of your office needs to be considered right form the beginning of the process of your office fit out and sustainable elements need to be incorporated effectively.
There are so many ways you can influence the environmental performance of your building, from added insulation to the inside of external walls, to maximising the use of natural light to reduce dependency on artificial lighting.
- Choosing the right technology
Sensor lights are a great form of green technology that can not only reduce your carbon footprint but can also save you money, however, they may not always be the right fit for your office. The technology needs to be carefully considered while implementing it into the design to make sure it will suit your office environment. In every aspect of M&E there are ways of reducing the amount of energy used, whether that using LED lighting or sustainable eco friendly furniture.
An energy usage audit of your existing office arrangement can provide an accurate way of bench marking future performance and highlighting weaknesses in building, technology and work practices.
- Creating the right company culture
If you have a culture where your employees care about sustainability you will get better results and cut costs and carbon emissions. Employees will need to be encouraged to conserve the resources and consider how they are using them in the office. You will also need to consider ways that employees can actively contribute to the sustainability of the office. For example, you can incorporate a recycling station in the office with difference sections for difference materials to encourage employees to actively think about their impact on the environment. If they can see the difference they are making, then it will encourage them to continue to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
While quick wins are great, it’s important to consider the long term. If you do not have a large budget now to get the best sustainable technology don’t completely close the door to it. If you design with the potential to incorporate new technology when the time is right and the money is available, you can install more expensive sustainability measures at a later date.
A sustainable workplace is not limited to only saving energy and natural resources, its needs to successfully enhance wellbeing. The focus around wellbeing has already become a natural addition to any forward-thinking office design.
In the UK, we spend on average between 80-90% of our time indoors. A poor office design can heavily impact an employee’s wellbeing and reduce productivity. If at the beginning of the process you establish a well-balanced design you can deliver a space that is efficient, healthy and productive. Taking light levels, thermal comfort, indoor air quality, access to amenities, noise and acoustics into consideration at the design process can result in improved productivity and reduce staff stress levels.
The World Green Building Council has produced a report looking at the business value of delivering healthy, green buildings and have found that there was a 101% increase in cognitive performance for workers in green, well ventilated offices. They also found that workers near office windows get 46 minutes more sleep a night.
Using a wider definition of a sustainable building to not only include resource efficiency, but also impacts on health and wellbeing will help your workforce move away from a negative approach to sustainability and towards a more positive view on how it can enhance our lives and help individuals and businesses perform better.