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Sustainable construction in office refurbishment projects Sustainable construction in office refurbishment projects

How Sustainable is your Office Design?

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Rap Interiors

How Sustainable Is Your Office Design?

In November 2020, the UK government announced it is investing £12bn to kick start a “green industrial Revolution”. The ten-point plan includes investing in the electric cars and vans to end the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, introducing cleaner public transport and more cycle lanes, and dedicating £1bn to reducing energy bills in homes, schools and hospitals.

As the UK government moves forward with its scheme to make the country cleaner and greener, now is a good time for businesses to stand up and be counted too. Indeed, the news is likely to have prompted many business leaders to ask the question: “Can we do more?”

If you are one of those business leaders and need some ideas on how to make your space and working practices more eco-friendly, then this article is designed to help.

As an office design company, we have helped countless clients to make their workspaces more sustainable, so we’ve listed just some of the things you can do to ensure you are doing your bit for the environment.

Read on for some great ideas and join the green Industrial Revolution today!

Lighting

A good office design should always maximise natural light to ensure employees are exposed to the sun’s rays. Improved productivity and mental health are just some of the benefits of doing so. That said, it’s impossible to eliminate the need for artificial light completely, particularly in the dark winter months when the nights start drawing in early.

One solution is to introduce energy-efficient light bulbs such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and/or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). These use less energy than a standard bulb, which is particularly important in workspaces where lights are left on for a long time.

It is also worth noting that these lights must be disposed of correctly to ensure they aren’t harmful to the environment.

Another great way to reduce light usage is to introduce motion sensor lights. These will only activate when someone enters a space, meaning you don’t have to remind people to turn off light switches!

This is a sure-fire way to reduce energy consumption and, in turn, lower your electricity bill.

 

Office meeting room in Manchester with a linear light and furniture solutions Office meeting room in Manchester with a linear light and furniture solutions

Exposure to Natural Light

If your office is dark due to a lack of natural light, then this inevitably means you will be using more energy by turning on the bulbs.

One way to increase exposure to natural light is to knock down window-blocking walls and put glass partitions in their place.

Additionally, you could introduce a skylight, which works particularly well in open plan offices where centrally located desks are located further away from windows.

A Glass Meeting Room Installed for a Commercial Fit Out Project in Kent – Rap Interiors A Glass Meeting Room Installed for a Commercial Fit Out Project in Kent – Rap Interiors

Water

It’s easy to overlook water conservation as a means of helping the environment. To many, a tap is a tap and a toilet flush is a toilet flush. But by embracing new technology which helps to reduce unnecessary water consumption, you can make a real contribution to improving the world we live in.

For example, you can reduce the energy needed to pump, heat and treat fresh water and protect drinking resources for our growing population.

But where do you begin? Here are a few ideas:

In addition to these elements, which can be installed during an office fit out or refurbishment, make sure you check regularly for leaks within your internal plumbing.

If you happen to find a leak, this means you’re wasting water unnecessarily and paying for it too.

That’s bad news for you and the environment.

Walthamstow Academy washroom refurbishment project by Rap Interiors Walthamstow Academy washroom refurbishment project by Rap Interiors

Furniture

Office furniture is at the heart of every office design. It’s used all day, every day, and, if chosen correctly, can really help businesses to foster a productive, efficient environment. In addition to its use value, it can be key in helping to build a workplace that is kinder to the environment.

If you’re in the market for new office furniture, the key is to seek a manufacturer with an eco-friendly ethos.

For example, a good, responsible manufacturer will hold one or more certifications from recognised bodies. Typical certifications include the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and the Furniture Industry Sustainability Programme (FISP).

Frovi one of our suppliers is a shining example of an eco-friendly furniture manufacturer.

Take a look at the company’s sustainability page and you will see that it has made great strides in reducing its environmental impact. The steps it has taken include increasing recycling rates, designing products that are environmentally conscious and using alternative means of travel to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

Modern office furniture solutions by Frovi for creative collaboration Modern office furniture solutions by Frovi for creative collaboration

For office furniture inspiration, check out our Pinterest board here

Encouraging “Go-Green” Initiatives

It’s Monday morning, 9am…

An employee walks into the office in full cycling gear hot from the journey in. That go-green initiative you put in place is really gaining momentum.

As an employer, to provide staff with a showering facility would be a huge bonus to working in an office where they can enjoy cycling/running in and introduce ultra-secure storage area for bikes.

These will ensure that employees are more likely to follow through with go-green initiatives such as cycling (or even jogging) to work and help to reduce your carbon footprint.

Just make sure that the shower unit has a water saving head!

World of Books in Goring Toilet Refurbishment and-Design by Rap Interiors World of Books in Goring Toilet Refurbishment and-Design by Rap Interiors

Insulation

Do you find that without the heating on your office is like sitting in an iglu?

If that is the case, then it’s likely that you’re sitting in a space that’s poorly insulated and leaks heat. Buildings like this have a poor air-tightness rating and are heavily reliant on electric heating methods as a result.

With this in mind, it’s a wise move to call an expert in to look at the building’s fabric and identify and draughty gaps or holes in walls, windows, doors, and skylights.

By addressing these issues, this helps to lock in the heat and greatly improve the energy efficiency of the building.

Window Overlooking the Scania Warehouse in Kent Window Overlooking the Scania Warehouse in Kent

Flooring and Carpet

As you walk around your office looking for areas to improve in terms of sustainability, don’t forget to look beneath your feet! There are a number of office flooring and carpet solutions these days to help you go green, including the following:

  • Cork Flooring — Cork flooring has seen an upsurge in popularity in recent years. Made from the outer bark of a cork tree, it has a beautiful warm, natural look that looks great in a contemporary office setting. What’s more, cork is incredibly eco-friendly. It’s an excellent heat insulator, uses less carbon and chemicals than alternative flooring products, and regenerates itself after harvesting.
  • Eco-Friendly Carpet — If you’re in the market for an eco-friendly carpet, make sure you go for one which has natural fibres and little to no chemical treatment. Ideal eco-friendly materials include wool, natural sisal, jute and seagrass. There are also plenty of carpets out there made from recycled materials.
  • Sustainable Hardwood Flooring — Always a popular choice, and eco-friendly too when chosen correctly. For a really sustainable hardwood floor, make sure you go for one with the aforementioned Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label. This will ensure you maintain high social and environmental standards.

The great thing about all of these options is that they tick the boxes for both style and eco-friendliness. Neither is compromised, so you can trot through your beautiful office knowing that the floor beneath you is contributing to a better environment.

The Little Things …

If you’re not quite ready to overhaul your office design with new floor and lighting, then there are a few little things you can do to help the environment in the meantime.

Here are some suggestions:

Even small things like these can have a positive impact on the environment, and they can get the ball rolling for what might turn into a wider scheme in the future.

The great thing about embracing sustainable interior design is that it can benefit your business and the environment.

From a business perspective, going green results in a better company image, improved employee performance and potential tax relief incentives for buying energy-efficient technology.

With those benefits in mind, in addition to the contribution you will be making to saving the planet, joining the green Industrial Revolution is surely a no brainer!

Are You in Need of an Office Refurbishment Company?

If you’re looking to make your space more sustainable, then Rap Interiors can help.

With over 30 years transforming workspaces, we can guide you on the best solutions to make your space a green haven.

Get in touch today by calling 0333 600 1234 or via the details below to book a free consultation with our friendly workplace strategists.

A colourful breakout space designed by Rap Interiors with versatile office furniture A colourful breakout space designed by Rap Interiors with versatile office furniture

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