Being sustainable, green, environmentally aware, responsible… these are all terms we are likely accustomed to by now, and for good reason. We are in the midst of a climate change crisis and whilst personal changes to how we live are necessary, businesses are also collectively tuning into the need for more eco-friendly offerings for their staff and HQs.
Office spaces have been complicit in releasing high levels of CO2 into the atmosphere for a long time but are gradually being designed with carbon emission levels in mind. Additionally, reducing waste, offering flexible work to encourage staff to alter their commuting habits and being savvy on energy usage are all being utilised to stay in line with what is required.
A shift in attitude from younger generations and an environmental awareness from the government means that newer commercial buildings are having to meet specific regulations to comply with the current policies for emissions and energy use before construction. With the likes of the Bloomberg building in London and the Tate St Ives renovation, there are now many examples of sustainable architecture within the UK.
Whilst you may not be able to rebuild your office to match the levels of sophisticated low energy, high performance structures of new, you can make changes to reduce pollution, waste and excess in your company culture (alternatively, if you do want to hunt for a sustainable office space then we can assist and shortlist some options). What you can do, is implement some simple changes to the way your office and team operates. See below for some simple tips that can cut down on the office energy output and may even increase productivity in some cases.
1. Reduce printing and paper filing where possible. With so much data being stored online, there isn’t often a need to print pages of files. Paper production, the energy used to recycle it and transport it can be massively cut back on if paperless work is encouraged. Schemes in offices such as printing credits have been shown to reduce unnecessary printing as employees will link value to the number of credits left, for example.
2. You can calculate your office’s rough carbon footprint with online calculators and even hire a team to give you your output. They can then consult and offer best practice for reducing your output if it is deemed high.
3. Make sure you turn off all electricals fully when not in use rather than put them in standby mode. For lights you can install movement activated lights so that they will shut down when the office does and not have to worry that someone (you) left them on overnight.
4. Recycle! Linking back to point one and paper wastage, providing recycling bins for paper, food and plastics etc will make it easier for your colleagues to get on board with the correct way to dispose of stuff. This has to be backed up by a recycling scheme from the building though, so look into the wider waste collection protocol.
5. If you are able to change the energy to renewable sources then that’s a huge benefit as non-renewable energy contributes up to 50% of the UK’s carbon emissions. Otherwise, improving insulation and reducing the heating by even a degree or two will lower the overall carbon emissions from your office.
6. Reducing business travel and commuting where possible. Can your staff work from home on some days? Having bike racks and promoting cycling, again if viable, can spark a change and lower staff vehicle use, another huge contributor to climate change.
If you are able to make minor changes then the rewards will be measurable. As businesses thrive, the focus on being sustainable is only going to increase, so it is worth getting into good practice until a longer-term option, such as an office move, is feasible.
If you have any questions on the matter or want to discuss energy efficient, sustainable some building options then get in touch.