July 22, 2022
How Do You Make an Office Design Greener?
This post takes a closer look at green office design to determine its main benefits. We will also highlight expert strategies that you can use to green your office. Do not be left behind as others join hands in saving the planet.
The planet is faced with major challenges that are threatening it plus everything in it, including humanity. The most notable of these challenges are global warming and the loss of biodiversity. By adapting cities and buildings, we will be able to address these issues, little by little. In terms of your office, here are some sustainability tips that you can adopt to create a green office design.
The Benefits of Green Office Design
The main benefit of using a green office design is helping to provide the right working environment for staff. The design factors in all the crucial aspects of work to ensure that employees get a healthier working environment to increase productivity at work. Other notable benefits of green offices include:
- Helps to cut down the cost of running an office through energy saving strategies.
- Excellent in reducing the carbon footprint of your office or product.
- Green office design is important in company branding. More stakeholders, from customers to investors, want to be associated only with companies with responsible and eco-friendly operations.
- It can be one of the main topics in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting efforts.
Expert Tips to Help Make Your Office Design Green
There are different strategies that you can use to make your office green. Here are some of the best options that you should consider:
Review the Office Design and Set Clear Targets
As more stakeholders, from investors to regulatory authorities, emphasize sustainability, you need to set clear goals for your green building. The best method is to make the green initiative part of your sustainability reporting focus. This means that it will be purposeful, and your stakeholders will be able to see the efforts. Common targets or goals might be:
- Cutting carbon footprint and achieving carbon neutral status within a specific period. This implies that you identify all the sources of greenhouse gasses and reduce them to help address the challenge of global warming.
- Help promote cohesion and integration of the office community. There is nothing as effective as having a community that is committed to sustainability. When you make this part of the green office design, it becomes easy for people to meet, support each other, do business, and become successful together.
- Supporting the natural environment. A green building should help to enhance the natural environment both in the neighborhood and away. You can do this by identifying projects that are working on promoting forest regeneration in Singapore, Asia, or across the globe. You can also target to plant and nurture vegetation around the office.
With the targets clearly set, you can go ahead and draw a plan for achieving them. You should also set aside adequate funds for the identified activities and follow up to ensure the targets are achieved. Remember to accurately capture the achievements in your sustainability report so that the world can see and appreciate the efforts.
Use Natural Daylight
Healthy and efficient lighting is very important for any office. However, many are the offices that have lighting that was done as an afterthought. If the lighting in the office has a heavy glare, it is likely to hurt workers' eyes resulting in straining and reduced productivity. So, what is the best office design to make lighting eco-friendly?
One of the best options for making your office design green is by utilizing natural daylight. It helps to make the office look natural and optimize sun radiation. You can achieve significant energy saving levels because natural lighting will replace most of the lamps during the day. There are several ways of natural daylighting an office.
- Where possible, design office windows facing the direction of the sun.
- You can also set reflective materials so that natural lighting is directed to the offices.
- Design the office with easy-to-use and accessible outdoor spaces. For example, some people find it very impressive to conduct business under the shade, perhaps enjoying a drink. This can result in significant energy saving because lights will be off as you work outdoors.
Use LED Lighting Instead of Incandescent Lamps
We grew up with incandescent lamps, but the truth is that they are not sustainable. They work by heating the metal filament until it becomes hot enough to produce light. A lot of energy is lost in the process, and the lamps can significantly grow your office carbon footprint and bill with a huge margin. It is a good thing to ditch them for more energy saving models. One of the best options is LED lamps.
LED lamps use advanced technology, where energy passes via semiconductors to generate light via light-emitting diodes. Most of the electricity, about 90%, goes into producing light in LED lamps. When you install LED lamps, they deliver about 75% energy saving compared to the standard lamps. Other benefits of LED lamps for your office include:
- Produces high-quality light.
- LED lamps last about 25 times compared to incandescent lamps.
Every year, millions of trees are cut down to make papers that people use in offices. Because trees are natural carbon sinks, cutting them can come with devastating implications. It reduces the ability of the planet to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, damages habitats, and puts biodiversity at risk. Therefore, your effort to go paperless can be an excellent energy-saving and greening strategy.
The best alternative to papers is going digital. Instead of printing meeting memos or minute updates, they can be done via document-sharing platforms. Indeed, you can even hold meetings online to reduce the need for all office members to travel to the office, which results in significant emissions, fuel, and parking-related costs.
Insulate Your Office Area
To achieve optimal energy performance in commercial offices, you need to ensure they are properly insulated. The primary goal of insulation is providing thermal comfort, but it also helps to enhance energy performance, improve workplace safety and make offices more peaceful. To achieve all of these, it is important to ensure that insulation is done correctly because inefficiencies can result in energy loss, high power bills, and a higher carbon footprint.
Thermal insulation is installed on the walls and gaps on windows and doors to help reduce the loss of heat from the HVAC. When you set the air conditioner to specific temperatures, the level is achieved fast because the insulation helps to retain the energy in the room.
To advance your green building initiative to the next level, consider using eco-friendly insulation materials. Good examples are recycled plastics, plant-based polyurethane rigid form, and straw bales.
Use Energy Saving Devices in Your Office
A significant amount of energy bill, about 40%, goes into the HVAC system. Therefore, this is an important area to focus on for your office greening efforts. There are a number of methods that you can use to make your HVAC more efficient.
Install the Right HVAC System and Repair It Property
There are different types of HVAC systems, and it is important to only select the model that works best for your office. If you have a small office, a single-split system can be an excellent option, but a large central air conditioning system is the best for companies with large, multiple rooms. Remember to factor in the possible need for expansion in the coming months or years when selecting the HVAC system for your office. It will be an excellent idea to work with a professional to determine the best HVAC system for your green building.
Apart from selecting the right HVAC system, make sure it is installed by an expert and maintained in top condition. For example, the ducts should be checked and cleaned regularly to ensure they do not have debris or dust. The heat exchanger, combustion chamber, evaporator, and thermostat should also be maintained in top condition to increase energy saving.
One of the main causes of inefficiencies in HVAC systems is electrostatic disturbance. It is caused by the continuous production of electrostatic charges as the air passes through the HVAC system. The disturbance makes the systems work harder, increasing their energy consumption by a huge margin. However, you can use CONTINEWM, which generates negative charges to reduce the buildup of positive charges.
The impact of using CONTINEWM is the creation of a smooth flow of air through the HVAC. If the air getting through the system contains odor components that are positively charged, CONTINEWM also eliminates them. This helps to reduce the work done by the HVAC, enhancing energy saving and cutting down power-related bills.
This post has demonstrated the best office design strategies to help enhance your sustainability efforts. Your goal should be to adopt sustainability as part of the office operations, to ensure you reduce the negative impact on the environment and positively impact the workers. To get even more from your efforts, consider working with experts in office design that support sustainability efforts and combine several strategies for sustainability.