How to Design and Operate a ‘Green’ office
COP15, the anticipated UN’s Climate Change Conference held at Copenhagen is approaching, it is in fact only 41 days away… December 7th is the commencement and here www.en.cop15.dk you can find many more details on the momentous event.
If you don’t make a habit of taking part at such world wide events but still wish to do something, then perhaps the following ideas by a highly successful commercial Interior Designer will be insightful on designing and operating an environmentally friendly office can be something you can do and contribute towards the worldwide action. These ideas do not just focus on protecting our natural environment but also improving the conditions staff work in and providing financial returns to enable continuation.
- Reduce Energy use: Install window blinds or adhesive window ‘frittering’ that reduces direct sun light and heat gain into the interior. Be careful to not diminish the outside views as that can affect staff’s mental wellbeing.
- Reduce Energy use: Set all PCs and screens to standby mode after 5 minutes of inactivity.
- Reduce Waste: If you are looking to buy a new desk, meeting table or chare first check what other local companies are selling off. If you are replacing or moving and need to offload furniture sell/donate them instead of sending to landfill. These are some useful links: Community Recycling Network http://www.crn.org.uk/ – a membership organization supporting not-for-profit and community groups involved in recycling, reuse or waste minimisation projects. There are a number of organisations that specialise in the redeployment of office furniture. Two of the most well known are Green Standards Trust http://greenstandardstrust.wordpress.com/ and Green-Works http://www.green-works.co.uk/; their websites provide useful information and guidance on this subject. WRAP http://www.wrap.org.uk/– the waste and resource action programme.
- Reduce Energy use and improve Wellbeing: a) ‘Hibernate’ areas of the office during out of hours working or in hot-desking areas. This will reduce energy consumption from lighting use and services operations. It will also assist the security operations and staff’s feeling of safety. Pooling staff has the positive effect of increasing social interactions and a feeling of comradeship. B) clean your air services ductwork filters and duct runs!
- Overall improvement: Create a Building Use Guide (BUG), which is a little booklet that contains the main principles behind the design of the interior and how to ‘use it’ to achieve the best results. This introduces, educates and reminds all users of the common goal and the impact they can make as “an individual part of the total”.
- Reduce Carbon Footprint: There is one large footprint that belongs to the ‘business’ and then there are many more smaller ones that belong to each employee, manager and director. Create the Low Carbon Championship, where there are weekly/monthly/annual winners with the lowest personal emission rate. These following sites offer calculators; WWF http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/, BP BP energy calculator,
- Staff Wellbeing: Review the location and position of staff desks to ensure that all staff are able to have a view out from a naturally lit window or an internal naturally lit atrium.
- Reduce VOCs: There are certain materials used daily in interior spaces that emit during application and through the initial months of installation volatile organic compounds. These gases are what ‘trap’ the heat in our atmosphere and also cause health problems. If you are re-decorating your office ensure that you only use VOC free or VOC-low paint products and varnishes.
- Reduce Carbon Footprint and Row Material use: Install an energy efficient water cooler instead of using bottled water.
- Reduce landfill and Raw Material use: Use biodegradable bin bags if you actually HAVE to use them at all! Marks & Spencers sell them as do many other stores.
- Reduce Water use: Install spray or shut-off style taps to washrooms and install floor by floor water meters to benchmark consumption.
Being Green does not mean having less. Being Green is about having more, improving, innovating and feeling happier!
If you would like to discuss further about making your office more environmentally friendly contact Elina Grigoriou Interiors on the following details:
T 020 894 69 299