Designing Sustainable Offices
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/ Designing Sustainable Offices

Designing Sustainable Offices

Dr. Greg Dooley - Design and Build Specialist

Dr Greg Dooley

Digital Marketing Manager

Content Specialist in Office Design & Build

  1. Towards Sustainable Offices
  2. What is Sustainable Office Design?
  3. The Importance of Sustainability in the Workplace
  4. Greening the Office with Biophilia
  5. Supporting New Ways of Working
  6. Helping Your Office Achieve Environmental Credentials
  7. FAQs
  8. Sustainability Resources and Further Reading

Towards Sustainable Offices

Sustainable office design aims to reduce the negative impact of buildings on the environment by incorporating innovative green methods and principles into the design and build of offices. These methods include energy-saving technology, sustainable materials, recycling, repurposing, and other elements that promote long-term ecological balance. In fact, the importance of sustainable offices has never been greater.

According to the World Economic Forum, the built environment, which includes offices, accounts for nearly 40% of global energy consumption and around a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Newly constructed buildings are more energy efficient, but a real issue is with existing buildings. Indeed by 2050, we will be in a situation where 80% of buildings have already been built; so a major priority is decarbonising our existing building stock. As a response, companies are looking at ways to reduce their impact on the environment.

In this article, we will explore the latest trends, best practices, and ideas for sustainable office design. We will look at the benefits of green office design, eco-friendly office interiors, and net-zero office buildings. We will also examine case studies and success stories of companies that have implemented sustainable office design. By the end of this article, you should have a clearer understanding of the importance of sustainable office design and the steps you can take to create an eco-friendly and energy-efficient workplace.

Potted plants lighten up an office space

What is Sustainable Office Design?

Sustainable office design is the design and construction of office spaces in a way that has minimal impact on the surrounding environment while conserving resources like water and energy. To say an office design is sustainable means it’s environmentally friendly and resource-efficient. This includes things like the use of sustainable materials, the incorporation of natural light and ventilation, energy-efficient systems, the use of daylight harvesting and occupancy sensors, and the use of renewable energy sources.

Sustainable office design is the concept of creating an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient workplace. It comes with numerous benefits including improved cost savings, improved employee well-being, and a reduced environmental footprint.

One of the main benefits of green office design is energy efficiency. By designing buildings that are energy-efficient, companies can significantly reduce their energy consumption and costs. This can be achieved through a variety of means, including the use of natural light, the installation of energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems, and the use of renewable energy sources.

The use of natural light is an important aspect of green office design. Natural light not only reduces the need for artificial lighting but also improves employee well-being and productivity. The use of skylights and large windows can bring natural light into the office, reducing the need for artificial lighting and cutting energy costs. Energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems are also important components of green office design.

LED lighting, for example, uses significantly less energy than traditional incandescent lighting and has a longer lifespan. Similarly, energy-efficient HVAC systems can reduce energy consumption and costs.

Extreme Group's modular shelving with biohplic features

The Importance of Sustainability in the Workplace

In order to address the challenges of climate change and the impact that buildings have on CO2 emissions, it is crucial to design and construct new office buildings in a sustainable and energy-efficient manner. This involves using materials with a low environmental impact, incorporating renewable energy sources, and designing the building to maximise energy efficiency.

In addition to their positive impact on the environment, green buildings can also benefit employees, businesses, and investors. For employees, green buildings can provide a healthier and more comfortable work environment, which can lead to improved well-being and productivity.

For businesses, sustainable buildings can lead to cost savings on energy and resources, as well as improve the company’s reputation and attract top talent. Investors can also benefit from green buildings, in the sense that they become more attractive to new tenants and have a higher resale value. Overall, incorporating sustainability into the design and construction of new office buildings can have numerous benefits for all stakeholders involved.

Boosting productivity and creativity with office greenery

Greening the Office with Biophilia

It is increasingly important for organisations to prioritise sustainability in their operations, and one way to do this is through greening the office. By bringing elements of nature into the built environment, companies can create a more healthy, more productive, and more enjoyable workplace for their employees.

Incorporating natural light, fresh air, and greenery into the office can improve the health and well-being of employees, leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction. Greening the office can also help to reduce energy consumption and improve indoor air quality, leading to cost savings and a more comfortable environment.

In addition to the benefits for employees, greening the office can also enhance the corporate image and reputation of an organisation by demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and the well-being of employees. By considering the environmental impact of their operations and making conscious efforts to reduce it, organisations can contribute to a more sustainable future.

DTRE achieved BREEAM accreditation creating a vibrant, inviting space for their clients and team

Supporting New Ways of Working

K2 Space is committed to helping businesses create sustainable and responsible workplaces through the use of sustainable materials and practices in the building process, as well as obtaining building accreditations such as BREEAM and the Considerate Constructors Scheme.

We can assist companies in assessing the impact of their office design and build projects against ESG goals, and provide guidance on design and build criteria that support ESG objectives. By working with K2 Space, businesses can create a positive and effective work environment that aligns with their values and goals.

Helping Your Office Achieve Environmental Credentials

Our team can help you achieve environmental credentials by designing and building office spaces that meet the stringent criteria for sustainability in schemes like BREEAM and LEED. This involves full assessments and audits of your office building, reviewing things like energy-efficient lighting, controlling glare and light, and implementing other sustainable design features to create a high-performing and environmentally-friendly office space. In addition to designing and building the space, our team can also manage your environmental assessment programmes to ensure that the project meets all of the necessary requirements and achieves the desired rating.

As an example, we helped DTRE (a market-leading property advisory business) achieve BREEAM status by designing and building an 11,000 sq ft office space that met a stringent set of criteria for sustainability. The project took about four and a half months to complete and the BREEAM accreditation was awarded a “very good” rating in August 2022. To achieve BREEAM status, the project team had to fulfil a range of requirements in nine categories: management, health and wellbeing, energy, transport, water, materials, waste, pollution, and innovation. These included using energy-efficient light bulbs with motion sensors and controlling glare and light to create optimal working conditions for employees. The assessment was broken down into 56 target criteria, which were set as design-stage evidence and credit requirements. K2 Space was responsible for managing the entire fit out project against BREEAM responsibilities and actions which led to the final attainment of DTRE’s “very good” rating.


Sustainability Resources and Further Reading

What Does BREEAM Mean for Office Fit Out Projects? – a good read for any company interested in sustainable building design and the benefits of BREEAM certification.

Smart Office Guide 2023 – The “Smart Office Guide 2023” is a comprehensive resource for businesses looking to create a more resource-efficient workplace.

ESG in the Workplace – This article discusses the concept of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and its importance in the workplace. It also highlights how ESG principles can be integrated into business practices to create a more sustainable and responsible workplace culture.

Hybrid Office Design – Aligned with sustainable work practices, hybrid office design looks at principles that accommodate both remote and in-person work with a focus on increased flexibility, cost savings, and improved work-life balance for employees.

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