When looking at the environmental impact of your company we suggest you consider all aspects of your business. There are numerous strategies in place to help you create an environmentally friendly business, such as industry accreditations and codes of practice. There is less support, however on creating an environmentally friendly office refurbishment. We believe that bringing carbon neutral design into your office fitout is an effective way to do this.
If you are undertaking an office refurbishment, making it carbon neutral can be highly effective and cost efficient. Considering carbon neutral design in your office refurbishment can support sustainable practice in all aspects of your office space. Implementing sustainability at the core of your office design ensures carbon neutral practices continue to occur throughout the business practices. So how can you be carbon neutral in your office refurbishment?
Consider your appliances
When creating a carbon neutral office space refurbishment, considering the carbon footprint of your appliances is an easy place to start. Energy-saving appliances are a simple but effective change you can make to significantly decrease your office carbon footprint. This simple change will positively affect both energy wastage and your bills.
Utilise sustainable lighting sources
Many forms of office lighting are highly harmful to the environment as they contain toxic chemicals and elements. Using sustainable lighting sources can help significantly reduce your office’s negative environmental impact. Utilising natural light sources reduces the need for artificial lights. Consider the locations of work and communal spaces: how are spaces considered in comparison to windows and skylights?
All office spaces will need artificial light, ensuring you select the most environmentally friendly options is key to helping you create a carbon neutral office. LED lighting is a more sustainable option; they have a longer lifespan and consume less energy than other forms of artificial lighting. This reduces their overall carbon footprint of your office lighting.
Ensuring all electronics are switched off at the end of the day and when they aren’t in use can also help reduce your carbon footprint. Including automated systems into your office refurbishment will enable you to control your energy usage and limit your carbon footprint. Smart systems like these can link up all your electric systems (lighting, heating) to timers ensuring that they are all switched off when not in use. Installing an automated system in your office will help you reduce your office’s carbon footprint, while also extending the lifespan of many electrical devices.
Reduce your waste
Creating an office refurbishment is a great opportunity to address waste within the office. Implementing waste reducing features into your fitout can help your employees build carbon reducing practices into their daily routines.
Plastic waste is a huge cause of environmental damage. By adding water filters and dispensers into your office refurbishment you are providing employees with an alternative to bottled water. Additionally, providing reusable or recyclable cups by these will further encourage a move away from plastic waste.
Utilising Biophilic design elements can help to reduce the need for other environmentally damaging features. As well as utilising natural light- as discussed earlier in this article- adding plants into your office refurbishment provides natural air filtration for your office space. Not only does this reduce the need for electronic air purifiers but Biophilic design also has a positive effect on mental health for your employees.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
When doing an office refurbishment, it can be tempting to purchase all new furniture and fittings. Reusing existing furniture and materials not only provides a financial benefit for your business but also reduces the waste created during the office refurbishment process. For the materials you are unable to reuse, recycle as many of these as you can to further reduce your environmental impact.
Whether it is labour or materials, sourcing locally can greatly reduce your environmental impact by minimising your carbon footprint from transport. Consider discussing the carbon footprint of materials provided by the companies you are working with to ensure you are aware of the environmental impact of your office refurbishment.
Updating old appliances, introducing more efficient energy saving measures, and changing the way your office uses energy can create a huge difference to your businesses carbon footprint. Having a carbon neutral office is an increasingly popular goal for companies. Above are simple factors you can consider during your office refurbishment to help you achieve this goal.
Want to know more about sustainability within the design and construction industries? We have recently published a white paper! We wanted to create a conversation starter, in order to continue our learning and develop our knowledge and understanding of sustainability, as well us encouraging others to do the same. You can download it here.