With the current global climate crisis, it’s important we not only consider our personal impact on the environment but also our impact as businesses and communities. In the UK, the service and industry sectors are responsible for 30% of the UK’s energy consumption. Changes made by UK businesses can go a long way to improving sustainability and helping tackle climate change, while also creating opportunities for cost-saving and boosted employee wellbeing.

Here are our tips for creating a more sustainable office that enables teams to make ethical decisions in their day-to-day working lives.

Energy Usage

Before any office re-design, think about typical energy usage and what can be done to keep this as low as possible. Make sure the office space is properly insulated, and temperature controls are appropriate for your team, it can make a big difference in reducing your environmental impact.

To make sure energy isn’t wasted while the office is empty, heating and cooling systems can be set on timers and automatically turned off during evenings and weekends. Programmable thermostats give you the ability to adjust temperatures of different sections of the office, letting employees set the temperature that suits them, and turn the systems off when rooms aren’t in use.

Suppliers

Where you source furniture and supplies for an office re-design can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint. Think about every item you will need, what materials are used in production, and how far each piece needs to travel before arriving at your office.

Do your research and make sure you agree with the values of the suppliers you choose, that you understand what their products are made from, and know how they are getting to you. This is an opportunity to support local business and ensure your air miles are kept as low as possible.

Lighting

Lighting choices can have a huge effect on both your carbon footprint and your employees’ wellbeing. According to Finder, lighting takes up 26% of the average business’ electricity bill. Switching to more sustainable lighting solutions can save energy and reduce costs.

Making use of natural sunlight is the cheapest and most effective way to reduce energy consumption. Ensure your office design makes the most effective use of natural sunlight according to the space available, this can greatly reduce energy bills and is proven to improve productivity and lift employee’s mood. Win win!

Where it isn’t possible to use natural lighting, LED bulbs are up to 80% more efficient than traditional fluorescent lighting. Additionally, smart lighting solutions such as timers and motion sensors are effective at making sure lights are never left on overnight or during weekends.

Furniture

There are so many options when it comes to office furniture. Before making the investment in brand-new furniture, it’s worth considering the value of what you already use. Are there items in your office currently that you can re-use in your new office design? Can pieces be painted, modified, or re-upholstered to fit with the new interiors?

To save your furniture from landfill, donate anything you don’t want to local shops, charities, or start-ups.

When buying new furniture, look for sustainable materials such as wood that has been reclaimed or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. Also look for natural fabrics such as wool, silk, and hemp, or make use of recycled fabrics like recycled polyester.

Employee Habits

Every office operates in its own unique way and it is vital that employees’ habits are considered when an office is re-designed. Try to create an environment where it’s easy for employees to make sustainable choices in their everyday lives.

Make sure there are facilities available for employees to cook or reheat food, cutting down the need to buy lunches and reducing food waste and single-use plastic. Encourage recycling by ensuring bins are readily available and easy to make use of. Accessible bike storage also encourages team-members to cycle to work and cut down the environmental impact of their commute.

We work closely with our clients to ensure their new office interiors tick every box, from beautiful designs, specific functionality, and a sustainable approach.

For an example of how we can to create an eco-friendly working environment, see our design and re-fit plans for the University of Hull.