Ten Ways to make Your New Office Green
“There must be a better way to make the things we want, a way that doesn’t spoil the sky, or the rain or the land.” - Paul McCartney
The clock is ticking. In all probability the planet will run out of its oil and natural gas reserves by 2063. We have just 40 years left to switch to greener energy source for all our needs. The urgency is slowly but steadily visible around us. The last few decades we only spoke about sustainability. It is time to act now. Workplace studies have shown that greener offices often mean healthier, and productive employees. When the offices rise to adopt green building standards, the planet wins.
To help you and your organisation to quickly adapt to a more sustainable workplace here are the top ten ideas to embrace and implement:
#1: Design Outside Inside
The new age office design brief should begin with bringing the outside inside. It is now proven that biophilic design can be equated with more productive, less stressed and healthier employees. Lots of natural light, open space and community areas with nature is the key to unlock green potential of your workplace.
#2: Encourage Hybrid Working
Hybrid Working as a work philosophy has gained ground rapidly post pandemic. Encouraging employees to stay home and work twice a week is essentially good for the environment. You save on office costs, and your employee saves on their carbon footprint. Flexible work as and when possible should be encouraged wholeheartedly.
#3: Conscious Consumption of Power
It is extremely important today to know and identify the primary energy sources to run an office. In all probability the HVAC load will be fifty percent of your total load. There is definite merit in understanding the solutions available in terms of energy sources, equipment and design before taking the final decision. Think long term (at least 5 years) while comparing capex and operational costs.
#4: Choose Materials Wisely
Choosing the right materials while building a new office is critical with respect to sustainability. A responsible architect will choose materials which are locally available, have a low carbon footprint and can be easily recycled. As the End User it makes sense for you to do a detailed green analysis of all construction materials chosen to build your office.
#5: Energy Accreditations
As an organisation you may or may not have a mandate to opt for Energy accreditations or certifications. But that does not stop you to request Designers to design your office based on a standard Energy rating checklist.It will help you to make your office future ready and also send a clear message to your employees and customers.
#6: Monitor Wellness
Please ensure your new office is equipped with all required gadgets and systems to monitor and track essential wellness influencers like air and water. Quality of air, both internal and external must be monitored real time to keep employees safe. It is important to track usage and quality of water available in the washrooms and pantries. The data once collated and analysed can help you to manage your spaces optimally.
#7: Audit Your Office Supply Stream
To create your eco-friendly office, keep a close watch on your monthly business supplies and stationeries. Evaluate their source and composition to check their sustainability quotient. Switching to supplies manufactured by sustainable focused vendors again sends the right message to your employees and customers.
#8: Avoid Printers and Plotters
In addition to making a conscious effort to make the office paperless, it is a good idea to limit access to printers and plotters. When employees are discouraged from printing at work, there is less paper waste which in turn leads to less energy consumption.
#9: Invest in Green Technology Initiatives
Technology today is available to help you to reach your sustainability goals. It can be in the form of reworked energy-efficient lighting, IoT devices, green data centresor human centric lights. Applications to optimise energy consumption, collate workspace data and support facility management practices are available. Find the right fit for your organisation and use them to demonstrate real value.
#10: Create a Green Culture
Culture counts especially if it is green. Create green teams to implement innovative ideas , recycle food waste, reward employees who are championing green causes and actively participate in sustainability campaigns arranged by local communities.
All the above measures can be implemented with minimum cost and effort. The real need is awareness among End Users and responsibility among Designers. The future of the planet will be decided by what we build for tomorrow, today.
“Sustainable development is a fundamental break that’s going to reshuffle the entire deck. There are companies today that are going to dominate in the future simply because they understand that.” - Francois-Henri Pinault