How to retrofit your office into a sustainable workspace

Sustainable building and sustainable retrofits of older buildings are gathering pace while workers are demanding more environmentally-friendly workspaces

Sustainable building and sustainable retrofits of older buildings are gathering pace. Companies have internal ESG goals to meet and in an increasingly competitive recruitment environment, younger workers are demanding more environmentally-friendly workspaces and evaluating potential employers’ sustainability in making their choices. 

The US Energy Information Administration revealed that buildings consumed around 40% of the country’s electricity in 2020. These buildings are also responsible for 37% of the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions, excluding those from refrigerants. Companies are facing pressure to be more sustainable in their workspace with the demand they contribute to global climate goals and embed those efforts within modern-day recruitment strategies.

Millennials and Gen-Z show clear concerns about climate change and other environmental challenges.


Maximise the use of natural light

Skylights will flood your office with natural light, which will reduce not just the energy being used but also energy-related costs since there is little to no need to use electricity for lighting. You can also say goodbye to desk lamps and overhead fluorescent lighting.

If a skylight is not possible, you can always install bigger windows. You can also install both. In contrast to tiny cubicles and windowless offices, large interior spaces and expansive windows are key characteristics of modern offices.


Use more sustainable products

If you have the budget to buy exclusively sustainable products, start with certain areas that have a substantial overall impact. More efficient electronics, like eco-friendly printers or light bulbs, will help your office save more energy, avoid dangerous e-waste, and stay productive.

For example, Kaiser Permanente purchased greener electronics in 2016. The helped prevent the disposal of 124 metric tonnes of hazardous waste in the future.


Upcycle and repurpose

Design your workspace around upcycling and repurposing themes using discarded pallet wood, aluminium cans, or prefabricated construction materials made from recycled wood, aluminium, copper, and other materials. This move significantly diminishes landfill waste and adds a distinctive character to your office.

There are many examples of great office architecture, for example, reusing discarded aircraft parts


Go paperless

The paperless campaign is still one of the best approaches to take in any workspace. Corrections, revisions, and updates on printed documents contribute to at least 90% of all office waste in the US alone. The remaining 10% is taking up space in office storage facilities, even though much of that is now obsolete. 

Print less, send documents digitally, and use payment automation services. 


Automated energy consumption

Install systems that turn lights, air conditioning, and heating off when areas are not in use. For internal computer networks, lower lights and automate lower brightness after the sun goes down. 

Many modern office spaces will offer systems like this but they are always innovating. 


Create a green company culture among employees

Making divisions responsible for recycling, reusing, and other green efforts creates a sense of duty and team bonding. Management can help by creating incentives and setting goals. 

Start small by asking the employees to bring their own lunch instead of ordering, bringing in desk plants, and managing their energy consumption. 


• Join global business leaders and sustainability experts taking meaningful action at Sustainability LIVE, held at Tobacco Dock, London, 23-24 February 2022. Register to attend today! Click here to learn more.

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