The green pressure is on the rise. As the world moves towards more sustainable products, services and processes, there is growing social pressure on businesses to adapt and comply. More and more organisations, as well as property owners, are becoming aware and now concerned with reducing the environmental impact and improving the well-being of their staff, tenants and clients.
Investing in a sustainable fitout means investing in a healthy and environmentally sound office environment, and by extension protecting the planet. Moreover, there are different ways to integrate sustainability into your workplace design. Imagine creating a replica of the “outside” atmosphere through plants and natural light or other ecological structures in your workspace. This doesn’t only improve employee wellbeing, productivity and mindfulness but also makes you a favourite of those seeking environmentally conscious business.
It’s often thought that being sustainable is expensive but an eco-friendly fitout doesn’t have to cost more! You’ll find some great ideas on how to reduce waste, design your office space more consciously as well as make a great investment for your business (and the planet) in the long run. We’ve summarised our top 5 tips for creating sustainable fitouts in the workplace.
Tip #1 Go Green with Office Partitions
Workplace partitioning is a contemporary method of organising and spacing an office to benefit employees. The days of permanent separating structures in offices are long gone. These days, workplaces make use of flexible partitions made of renewable materials.
Instead of erecting permanent dividers, use office partitions such as glass office partitions, aluminium partition systems, movable office partitions, and cubicles made of bamboo or recyclables. These partitions are made of renewable materials, but they also contribute aesthetically to the office environment.
Office partitions enable the space to be divided into distinct spaces for certain tasks while keeping a natural sense of flow. With ease, employees may move between private offices, collaboration areas, and meeting rooms. Knowing that each location has a specific function can help employees focus and be more productive. Check out our sustainable fitout for Whispir where we created a shelving system of plants and perspex screens to partition and divide space.
By using flexible partitions, it makes it easier for a growing company to adapt the work environment to their changing needs. Not only does it allow for change, but partitions can also improve work productivity and creativity. Even though partitions still ensure privacy between colleagues, it doesn’t create a ‘standoffish’ environment where colleagues cannot interact.
Tip #2 Eco-friendly Lighting to Illuminate your Workspace
When planning a sustainable fitout, lighting is important. Without good lighting, employees cannot be expected to accomplish their tasks productively and efficiently. That being said, lighting can be considered an expensive expenditure in a workplace, as it’s sometimes expected to run for 10-18 hours every day, depending on the nature of the business. But this doesn’t mean you need to scrimp on lighting; rather, it should motivate you to think in other directions when designing your fitout —like trying out sustainable lighting options.
Cost shouldn’t be the only factor why you consider when looking at sustainable lighting; the effects of traditional lighting systems on the environment are another crucial reason. Lighting is responsible for almost 5% of worldwide CO2 emissions. So, switching to energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) technology may save approximately 1,400 million tons of CO2 and prevent the building of 1,250 power plants throughout the world. Switching to energy-saving light bulbs and turning off lights in rooms that aren’t in use all contribute to sustainability —plus, it could save you money and lower your carbon footprint.
In addition to sustainable lighting options like light-emitting diodes, offices can consider the optimal utilization of natural light with the incorporation of renewable materials like glass for the large overhead windows or ceilings with bamboo panes for support.
Tip #3 Improving Water Efficiency with Water-Saving Devices
When planning a sustainable fitout, it’s important to consider one’s water use and water efficiency. Water efficiency refers to the proper use of our water resources through water-saving devices and simple actions. Water efficiency today and for future generations will assist ensure a stable water supply. It might come as a shock, but water usage also contributes to the growing carbon footprint of the environment. Water conservation, particularly less hot water, may significantly reduce an organization’s carbon impact. The former can save around 700kg of CO2 per year compared to running a tap when washing up.
Achieve water efficiency in your next sustainable fitout through the use of water-saving devices. Dishwashers and laundry washers are the most frequent water-saving appliances, while toilets, showerheads, and faucets are popular fixtures. They can use less water while achieving the same results. Additional ways that offices can achieve sustainable fitouts is by installing more environmentally friendly plumbing fixtures, which are an efficient approach to reducing water waste and property expenditures. Low-flow plumbing fixtures can help you save money and water by reducing the water you use. Another wonderful technique to keep water bills low is to monitor water pressure levels on water-saving devices.
Tip #4 Incorporate Biophilic Design in your Fitout
Office space and design play a key role in improving creativity and productivity in the workplace. With a large portion of our days spent at work, it’s necessary to make the office space conducive and ready to enable productivity. This should be a resounding mantra when designing a sustainable fitout for the office, hybrid workplace, and even those who work from home.
One such addition to an aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly sustainable fitout is the use of biophilic design. Using natural resources to create a sense of harmony between modern architecture and the natural environment is known as biophilic design. When creating a sustainable fitout, the technique of biophilic design brings people closer to nature. Set up indoor plants and vertical green walls to bring life to your work area. Indoor plants have been demonstrated to lower CO2 levels by up to 25% in air conditioning workplaces and up to 10% in offices without air conditioning. High CO2 levels can induce headaches, sleepiness, and concentration problems.
Allowing your workplace to grow and breathe is an inspirational method to minimise your carbon footprint while also allowing for optimal brain performance. Another way that biophilic designs help in creating sustainable fit-outs is how they can be used as sound barriers to reduce distracting inter-office chatter. The use of vertical wall gardens also creates a sense of serenity for your employees and guests, and clients alike. Who knows, this green space you’ve created might attract talent and bring in more profit than you realise.
Tip #5 Opt for a Sustainable Stripout
During the lifecycle of your fitout, you may need to have your space renovated or when the lease ends, return the property to prelease conditions. In this case, your company may have to perform a strip out, i.e. a procedure for safely removing and disposing of any non-essential and/or dangerous items before restoring the interior to its original state. Sustainable Stripout helps tenants and landlords to reduce waste and increase their resource recovery efforts.
You’re probably wondering, how does Sustainable Stripout reduce waste? Well, typically, all your stripout waste goes straight to landfill. Sad, right? That also comes with expensive landfill fees. With Sustainable Stripout, a resource recovery plan is conducted to identify any unwanted equipment that can be reused.
Old desks, fixtures, furniture, and other items are sold. All profits from sales are donated to a charity of choice. Anything leftover is donated to schools, community groups and other charities that are in need of such secondhand products. If that doesn’t work, these products are split and recycled where possible with landfill as a last resort. The end result for tenants and landlords is support for local communities, reduced waste (up to 70% is diverted from landfill) and happy recipients of second-hand items.
Greener building and fitouts with Agero
Going green is not only the new thing; it’s the most important thing right now. Your creative juices should be thinking up a storm on how or when you will be incorporating these tips.
To be as environmentally friendly as possible, sustainability should be addressed from the start of your workplace design and strategically included. We recommend conducting a workplace strategy workshop to map out a blueprint of your office environment, people and technology and how this aligns with your business objectives and goals.
But why not take it a step further and use Agero’s services to get your sustainable fitout dream off the ground. From a sustainable stripout to improved office partitions, Agero offers you many fitout solutions to reduce waste and make your office more eco-friendly and attractive to tenants and their employees. So, what are you waiting for? Take that first step and contact Agero today for your sustainable fitout needs.