Guest Blog: Sustainable Office Design for a Greener Tomorrow
The modern world directs a harsh rhythm for both small and large businesses. They all strive to get better technology, faster internet, cooler furniture, more satisfied clients, and the most productive employees. However, sometimes the very design of the office may put restraints on achieving the best results and higher profit. Facility managers are the ultimate organizers, whose job it is to make sure that a workplace meets the needs of its employees.
The Green Office concept is based on constructively using natural resources, such as the light, air and energy and preserving them at the same time. This can be done in many different ways, from placing energy efficient windows to cleaning the air with several plants.
Recent research shows a direct correlation between sustainable work spaces and a more efficient work environment.
Switching the office design to a green one can benefit a company on many different levels – from reducing costs, to creating stress-free workplaces with high productivity levels; there is no better place to start than from the facilities department. Below are some tips on where to begin:
Computer Energy Should Be Conserved
Investing in Energy Star labelled computers has proved to conserve energy and save money. Computers should always be set to energy-saving mode. Try to avoid screensavers as they do not save energy. When leaving work, employees should turn off their computers and unplug power adapters when they are not in use.
Remember to Recycle
Waste from everything that people use in the office can be handled sustainably: from envelopes, papers and cardboard boxes, to ink cartridges, computer monitors and even food. Employees should be regularly encouraged to recycle. Do this by placing bins in the lunch area for organic waste, as well as plastic and tin containers near where people throw things out. Have easy to understand guidelines for your employees to follow.
Make Use of Daylight
It’s been stated that employees who are exposed to daylight work much better and concentrate more easily than while working under artificial light. In addition, relying more on daylight means saving on electricity. Even if there are places with no direct light, there are clever devices that will redirect the sunlight.
Value the Plants
Being in a natural environment increases our ability to concentrate and be more productive.
If your office is lacking windows or green spaces, make sure you have various plants placed around.
Apart from making the atmosphere more pleasant, plants also provide cleaner air as they increase the flow of oxygen.
Lower Your Bills
One of the most persistent myths in the business world is that we must trade economic growth for environmental sustainability. Going green is not an inconvenience for the business anymore; it has actually become a good way of saving money while, at the same time, helping the environment. In order to change expenses, there are a few changes facility managers should introduce:
- Switch to LED light bulbs, which are more durable than the regular ones and save energy.
- Bigger appliances, such as refrigerators, computers, printers, scanners etc. should be replaced with ones with Energy Star label.
- Use motion sensors in rooms that are rarely used to avoid lights being unnecessarily left on.
- Buy and use recycled paper.
- Use reusable or paper cups instead of plastic or Styrofoam.
Invest in energy-efficient windows that will provide enough natural light into the office.
Think About the Numbers
According to German-based Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, by 2020 the global market volume for “green” or “environmental” technologies will reach $2,740 billion. Going green is making a huge impact on businesses worldwide and many facilities managers stated that having a green office is an example of a well-organized, motivating space.
The case can be made that employing corporate environmental awareness will help your company stay competitive in the marketplace.
A recent study done by the MIT Sloan School of Management found that:
- 67% of respondents say that sustainability strategies are necessary to be competitive.
- 68% of respondents say their organizations increased their commitment to sustainability in the past year (that’s a dramatic increase from 2009, when only 25% of respondents said that).
- Sustainability is becoming increasingly important to top management, survey respondents say: 28% believe it’s a permanent consideration and 42% say that although it’s not a core consideration, it is nonetheless on the agenda to stay.
When compared to traditional office spaces, the greener ones showed increased employee productivity. The very concept and atmosphere of the green office helps bring positive results. It also helps facilities management keep the work space much better organized, keep the air clear, and have enough light to help employees stay focused and motivated.
An environmentally conscious facilities department will do their best to help the company Go Green. The Green Office concept is beneficial for everyone both on a social and economic level, plus it helps save the world.
If you like writing about facilities management, and are interested in contributing to our OfficeSpace Blog series, please contact Zoe North.