November 11, 2021

Sustainable Offices: What Should Companies Consider?

With COP26 well underway in Glasgow, the climate crisis is once again front and centre of the public psyche. The conference – underway from 31st October to the 9th November – is of huge consequence to all of us. 


So what does that look like for our sector, and more specifically for businesses with bricks and mortar locations?


We’ve explored some of the considerations for businesses either looking to move into a new office or refresh their current place of work.


Is the building environmentally sustainable? Since our establishment in 1989, we’ve seen the proverbial ball being kicked further and further down the field when it comes to legislation and accreditations around sustainable office design and fit outs.


When looking at offices, selecting a BREEAM or LEED accredited building before you even start the fit out. 

Another example was RICS 2009 introduction of their SKA Rating, promoting greener non-domestic fit-outs through a set of sustainability good practice criteria. They estimated that 11% of UK construction spending is on fit-outs and that buildings may have 30-40 fit-outs during their lifecycle.


It’s important for businesses to consider the impact of the buildings they are moving into. 


Energy efficiency options


A major part of sustainable office design is determined by what energy sources the office uses. 


There are many areas to consider. Take lighting, where LED lights and lighting with built-in PIR sensors use less energy. At the design stage, you may want to think about solar gain and maximising natural light in order to reduce you dependency on artificial lighting. 


Another crucial area of energy saving is insulation, as well insulated building is not only a great way to cut energy costs but also acts as a platform for growing technologies such as heat pumps to perform better. 


It’s important to find a design partner who recognises the importance of sustainability. 


Eco-friendly furniture and other materials


It may be useful to check the impact of furniture and other materials before you fit the office. Try and discuss this with your design partner at the start of your project versus attempting to shoehorn them in in at the end. 


Even smaller investments such as office paper has an impact, with fully-recycled or FSC certified options available. 


We ensure that our range is sustainable at all points along the supply chain, as well as ensuring the latest sustainable features remain at the forefront of our office design services.


Creating a culture once you’re moved in


Recycling bins. Bicycle storage. Sustainably designed washrooms to encourage cyclists, runners and walkers. A dedicated and advertised internal area for green ideas and hacks for the business. These are just some of the ways a business can promote a sustainable culture that forward-thinking talent will be drawn to. 


Closing thoughts 


Knowing where to start can be daunting as a business owner when looking to create a low impact office environment. 


Support is out there, and thinking about sustainability sooner than later may well prove good value long term. Let’s hope more and more UK businesses lead the way on more responsible office spaces for generations to come.


Whether you’re in need of office design, or you’d like to make your current office space less impactful, you can get in touch with us here to find out more about how we can help. 


Note – is there anything we haven’t mentioned in terms of the way Whiteleys operate sustainably that they’d like us to include?

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