Sustainable Office Design for a Greener Tomorrow

In the last few years, sustainability and eco-friendliness are slowly making its way into office design and etiquette. Going “green” is a huge trend that is very beneficial for everyone from workers and business owners to our struggling planet. Yes, sustainable office design can also boost employees’ productivity and well-being: scientists from Exeter University conducted a study that concluded that green design boosts productivity and performance by 15%. Here are just some of the green office design ideas that can provide us with a green and healthy future.

Image source: re-publicspace.comgreen office design

Biophilia

Biophilia, although a new idea, is a notion that humans are genetically predisposed to seek nature. That’s why many people report feeling relaxed and focused when surrounded by greenery and natural sounds and smells. This philosophy has been present in homes for some time now, but offices are slowly catching up, too. Modern offices with a variety of plants in the interior and pleasant natural views from workstations are becoming a new trend, and for all the right reasons. Plants not only improve the aesthetic appeal of the space, but also boost workers’ motivation, performance and focus, provide people with cleaner air and reduce the number of sick leave days.

Energy saving policy

Even though renewable energy is becoming more and more popular, most energy is still generated by burning coal. That’s why conserving energy is becoming a big concern that can potentially change the way our offices look and function. Investing in electronics that carry an Energy Star label, especially bigger items such as printers, scanners and computers can help save both energy and money. Additionally, new office rules should be implemented to encourage workers to use energy-saving modes, avoid screensavers and unplug their devices overnight.

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Invest in the right materials

Materials used in office building and decoration have a huge effect on the environment. Their impact starts with their manufacturing process and ends with demolition and unfortunately landfills. However, a sustainable office that invests in non-toxic materials that are eco-friendly and can be recycled, reused or repurposed will help keep many a landfill empty. For instance, one of the best ways to reduce pollution is to choose zero-VOC paint, recycled worktops, repurposed floors, double-duty furniture and carpeting made from natural or recycled fabrics.

Additionally, the focus should be put on materials that have good noise reduction. Implementing various noise control products can reduce distractions and improve workers’ performance and focus. Further on, it’s always better to invest in locally harvested materials. This both reduces pollution caused by transport time and helps the local economy, especially small manufacturers.

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Boost natural lighting

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting is the biggest electricity consumer in commercial buildings with an estimated cost of almost $40 billion per year. However, natural light is completely free and much healthier for workers. Natural lighting can make the space look more pleasant and improve workers’ well-being and performance. So, applying day lighting techniques (the controlled admission of natural light into a building) is a great way to save money, achieve better work results and reduce energy consumption. Installing skylights and sloped ceiling, investing in solar harvesting and reflective surfaces, as well as getting good shading devices that will reduce glare and heat can all improve the office’s lighting control. Additionally, replace traditional lighting with LED and installing sensors and smart dimmers can also control the power usage.

Improve the commute

Even though it’s impossible to bring office closer to workers to reduce commute time, there are things that can help improve that commute and reduce pollution. For instance, encouraging workers to use public transport (providing them with passes) and giving them practical bicycle parking can all get them out of their cars. Plus, workers who bike to work report feeling healthier and take fewer sick days.

If we wish to flourish on this planet, we must do our best (both at home and at the office space) to keep it healthy and safe. Greening up the workspace is such a great movement that has amazing benefits for workers and employers and it could ensure humans flourish on Earth long into the future.

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