As the world becomes more and more aware of the need to be sustainable, people are adapting ways to make their lives more environmentally friendly. Are you in the market for a new office, or just looking to revamp your current one? If so, be sure to consider sustainability when designing it! Sustainability is no longer a trend or an optional extra; it’s essential for the future of our planet and the people on it.
Office space is notorious for being wasteful. But it doesn’t have to be that way. No matter how small or large your business is, creating a sustainable office is a key to protecting the environment and saving money. Designing a sustainable office starts with understanding what sustainability means for your particular business. There are numerous factors to consider, namely energy use, recycling and waste reduction, water conservation, and choosing environmentally friendly materials. By fabricating small changes in your office design and operations, you can create a more sustainable workplace that is good for the environment and your bottom line.
Here are ten tips to help get you started.
1. Choose furniture and fixtures that are made from sustainable materials.
When choosing furniture and fixtures for your office, making environmentally-friendly choices is important. Many furniture and fixture manufacturers have sustainability certifications like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Look for these certifications when shopping, as they ensure that the materials used in the products are sustainably sourced.
2. Use low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and finishes.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that vaporize at room temperature, and many of them are harmful to human health and the environment. That’s why it’s important to use low-VOC paints and finishes when you’re painting or decorating your office. They are better for your health, but they’re also more sustainable because they release fewer harmful toxins into the air. When choosing paint and finishes, look for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) label of approval.
3. Opt for energy-efficient lighting
Lighting is the simplest yet most impactful way to make your office more sustainable. LEDs use up to 80% less energy than traditional lighting, so make the switch! You can also install occupancy sensors, so lights only turn on when people are in the room. In appliances, look for Energy Star certified models. They use about 30% less energy than standard appliances, so you’ll save both energy and money in the long run.
4. Use recycled materials whenever possible.
Whenever possible, use recycled materials in your office design. It not only helps the environment by reducing waste, but it can also save you money. Recycled materials can be sourced from various places, so don’t be afraid to get creative. Try reclaimed wood, recycled plastic or even sustainable wool for your carpets and flooring. You can even find recycled paper for your walls and ceilings. These choices will help you create a beautiful and sustainable office but will show your employees and clients your concern for the planet.
5. Consider the lifespan of each product before you buy it.
When it comes to sustainability, one of the most important things to consider is the lifespan of each product. Ask yourself how long you think the product will last before you need to replace it. If you can’t see yourself using it for more than a year or two, it might not be worth buying. Look for products made to last and can be repaired or recycled when they eventually reach the end of their life cycle. It is especially important when it comes to furniture and electronics.
6. Use green cleaning products and supplies whenever possible.
Green cleaning products and supplies are not only are they effective at getting the job done, but they’re also safer for you and the environment. Plus, they often smell great, too! When it comes time to select green cleaning supplies for your office, take into account the type of surfaces you’ll be cleaning and the specific needs of your workplace. For example, if you have a lot of carpeting, choose an environmentally friendly carpet cleaner. If you’re looking for a general-purpose cleaner, try a product made with essential oils. Whatever you do, just avoid harsh chemicals and toxins that can be harmful to both people and the planet.
7. Maximize natural light and ventilation
Utilizing natural light and ventilation is one of the most effective ways to make your office sustainable. Place desks near windows, use light-coloured paint or furniture that reflects it nicely (to help increase productivity), install an air conditioner for hot days when you need relief from loud noises like fans spinning on their own!
8. Make use of recycling and composting facilities.
The first step to creating a sustainable office is to use the recycling and composting facilities available to you. Many offices have special bins for recyclable materials such as paper, plastic and glass. Composting is turning organic waste into compost, which can be used as a soil amendment or fertilizer. If your office doesn’t have a composting bin, you can easily start a compost pile in your yard or garden. Just make sure to keep your compost pile moist and don’t add any meat or dairy products, which can attract pests.
9. Install energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.
Installing a new heating and cooling system is one of the most effective ways to make your office more sustainable. Old, inefficient models often result in high energy bills that increase global warming pollution too! Upgrading can save you money and help reduce environmental impact for years down the line.
10. Educate your staff on green living practices.
One of the efficacious ways to make your office more sustainable is to educate your staff on green living practices. It will help reduce your office’s environmental impact, but it can also save your team money on utilities and reduce waste.
Some easy ways to get started include:
- Conducting an energy audit to identify areas where your team can conserve energy
- Encouraging staff to Bring Your Own Cup (BYOC) to reduce wastefulness in the break room
- Sharing tips for reducing paper use, such as setting up a shared inbox or using cloud storage instead of printing documents
- Setting up recycling and composting programmes to reduce the amount of waste produced by the office
- Hosting educational workshops on topics such as sustainable gardening, energy conservation or reducing your impact on the environment
Designing a sustainable office is easier than you think. From using recycled materials to implementing energy-saving measures, there are numerous ways to make your office more sustainable. So, what are you waiting for? Start designing a sustainable office today! With these few simple tips, you can make your office more eco-friendly and reduce your environmental impact.