Sustainability in Office Design

18/08/22< Back to news index

During lockdown, daily global carbon emissions and pollution both declined. With reduced commuting, air quality improved. So now we are back at work, we have a great opportunity to focus on sustainability, and keep these advantages. This fits with new legal obligations in many countries; in the UK, the 2008 Climate Change Act has set 5-year emission reduction targets.

Sustainable office design is cost-effective, boosts the company's image, and increases productivity. Climate change is hot topic, and many consumers prefer to work with companies who can demonstrate that they are working towards a more sustainable model.

One recent study showed that 70% of people are now more concerned about the environment than about infectious diseases. Many workers, especially Millennials and younger, also report that they are more likely to apply to a company with strong green credentials.

Start by leasing, building, or adapting premises with sustainability in mind. Energy efficiency, insulation, and efficient use of space make a big difference. Carry out an energy usage audit to help find the areas which need most attention. Some organisations advise on best methods, and give recognition for achievements. These include The Green Mark, The Planet Mark, and CoolEarth.

Research has shown that most offices have areas which are seldom used and could easily be adapted to suit specific needs. While working on this, it's worth including staff well-being. Natural lighting, insulation, natural features, and greenery have proven value in enhancing physical and mental health.

Choose the most environmentally friendly furniture, lighting, heating, air-conditioning, and waste disposal systems. Use sustainably sourced materials at every level of production. When purchasing new technology or appliances, always check sustainability issues, such as energy consumption.

Data storage and digital communications are easier on trees but can use a lot of electricity and generate carbon emissions. If you buy something with "recycled components", it's worth checking out this claim. Even little things, like switching off equipment not in use, and recycling all waste will help in the long-term, if done conscientiously.

Include positive attitudes to sustainability in your company's culture; consider it in all decision-making, and reward relevant initiatives. Encourage staff participation by establishing a "Green Team" to monitor trends and adapt new ideas. If conditions allow, you could also provide bike storage, so your staff can commute sustainably too.

During the pandemic, we learned to modify our behaviour. Now we need to respond to climate change by adopting and promoting Sustainable Office Design.