Sustainability is one of the biggest concerns currently, and rightly so. More and more offices are making more environmentally-friendly choices that aim to reduce the carbon footprint of individual companies. Bloomberg, London won the title of world’s most sustainable office for purpose-building a state-of-the-art totally eco-efficient office building, the task of creating an eco-friendly office can seem like a daunting one – but it needn’t be. Many other large firms will now be striving towards this feat, especially in new office fit outs.
To go as green as possible, sustainability needs to be considered from the beginning of your office fit out plans, and incorporated strategically. Relocating offices or completely refurbishing your current office gives you a greater chance of achieving a sustainability. Energy efficiency performance should be a factor to consider when choosing your new office building and a keen landlord should supply you with energy usage data. Providing better recycling facilities means you will have a more circular workplace, which is also more sustainable for the environment.
Communication is key. If you tell your people your sustainability goals, and how they can help achieve them, they will care more and you’ll get better results and cut costs and carbon emissions. It’s as simple as that, in principle. Encourage employees to conserve resources and consider ways of making it easy for your team to do their bit. Incorporating better recycling stations into the fabric of the office and day-to-day working life and show your staff the difference they’re making – you’ll see your recycling rates really improve. Encourage employees to conserve resources and consider ways of making it easy for your team to do their bit.
Those aren’t the only areas where you cant make a difference of course. Other ways of making your office fit out sustainable includes sourcing your utilities from providers with proven sustainability credentials or asking your fit out contractor for advice on sustainable building finance initiatives means that you can invest in more to deliver a greater return in the long run.
While quick wins are great, it’s important about the long term. If your budget is tight now, scrimp on some technology by all means but don’t close the door to it. Incorporate the potential into your interior design and when the time is right and the money’s available, you can install the more expensive sustainability measures at a later date and begin to reap the rewards.
Choosing the right ‘green technology’ is important. Here are some tips on how to make your new office fit out as sustainable as possible…
Make use of natural light as much as possible, install PIR sensor / motion-activated lighting… even simply switching lights off when the rooms that aren’t being used and changing to energy-saving lightbulbs all works towards the goal of a sustainable office and is green technology that can save you money and reduce your carbon footprint. Eco-friendly LED lighting and harmless eco-friendly furniture is a non-negotiable consideration that must come in to play when designing an office space.
Limit Cooling and Heating
Dial it down! Moving your thermostat down just two degrees in winter and up two degrees in summer could save about 2000 pounds of cardon dioxide a year.
An energy usage audit of your office arrangement can also be highly beneficial – a process far less complicated than you might think, it provides you with an accurate way of bench-marking future performance and highlighting weaknesses in building, technology and working practices, showing where there is room for improvement.
Add plants to your space
There are so many benefits of having plants in your office space. First and foremost, plants absorb plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) during the day, to use in a process called photosynthesis. Indoor plantshave been shown to reduce CO2 levels by as much as 10% in air conditioned offices, and up to 25% in those without air conditioning. High levels of CO2 can cause headaches, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating.
Office plants can also help reduce the use of energy – when plants breathe they raise the humidity levels in the building, and enough of them can lower the temperature inside by 10°C (50°F) or more. One study showed that a single healthy tree can cool a building by the same amount as 20 air conditioning units working for 20 hours a day! Try some larger species of indoor trees to max out this effect and reduce the use of your office air conditioning. This may not make a huge difference to reducing your energy use, but it can sure set the office on a more eco-friendly path. Office plants have been shown to reduce stress levels in employees when introduced into the workplace.
Plants in the office space have also been said to lower stress, absorb sound, boost productivity and inspire creativity… what’s not to love!
Use reusable products, and sustainably sourced products
Encourage, incentivize or enforce the use of reusable water bottles and coffee cups as well as lunch cutlery and dishes. When picking office stationery, choose products that have the least environment-damaging properties. Any paper you do use, consider choosing recycled paper as well as sustainably sourced paper notebooks and diaries. When it comes to printing, encourage staff to be mindful of whether or not something genuinely needs to be printed. Get them into the habit of communicating digitally by email. You can also ask suppliers to send invoices electronically to remove some of the paperwork; this would reduce your company’s carbon footprint and improve the efficiency of the business.
Leverage green cleaning products
Choose natural consumables and furnishings for your office as much as possible. Many products used in the office environment contain unpleasant substances. From chemical cleaning products and toxic printing consumables that need to be handled with care and disposed of correctly, to furnishings and décor, which can leak less welcome compounds into the atmosphere, such as formaldehyde.
Encourage a green commute
Commuting to your business location by using a private car contributes to gas emissions that can harm the environment. Consider encouraging your employees to commute using public transportation or carpools – or ultimately to use an electric vehicle. You can even incentivize those that bike or walk to work.
Work with your suppliers
Consider consolidating any orders/deliveries as much as you can – make a conscious effort to reduce emissions from the multiple delivery vans that would otherwise be required for several smaller orders. Buying in bulk will cut down on planet-damaging plastic packaging and decrease the transport costs and administrative resources that your office orders necessitate – ultimately shrinking your company’s carbon footprint.
Revamp your internal ‘binfatructure’ to increase recycling rates
Recycling more (IE sending less to landfill or incineration) can make a big difference to your carbon footprint. Read more about how recycling helps the environment here. We speak to many organisations that are tearing their hair out because their staff and visitors do not do the right thing when it comes to the right thing. People putting waste in the wrong bin means contaminated waste, so more goes to landfill. Read how landfills harm the environment here.
What waste streams you choose depends entirely on what waste your office produced. A common configuration is general waste, mixed recycling and food waste. But you may want to go more specific, depending on what your waste provider will collect. An example of this is paper, metal, or even e-waste. It’s estimated that for every tonne of paper recycled, about 17 trees and some 26,500 litres of water is saved. Recycling helps to reduce eight types of water pollutants and 10 varieties of air pollutants and eases the strain on landfills. This is particularly important for office electronics and batteries, which contain chemicals that could contaminate groundwater, yet according to the EPA, only 18% of e-waste is recycled.
Dragging your old bins back into your new office fit out will do nothing to increase engagement in recycling. Improving your recycling bins can make a massive difference to recycling rates. We’ve helped large organisations like Microsoft, Adidas, H&M and more transform their internal recycling rates. We believe in keeping bins all in one station, and banishing under the desk bins, giving people no excuse but to recycle correctly. We tailor office recycling bins to your specific recycling needs to make it easy as possible for your staff to recycle, and to reach the best possible recycling rates. With options for custom waste streams, custom signage, and even custom finishes, you can truly make your recycling station your own!
Sustainability is at the core of waste management programmes, but how can it be achieved when selecting a recycling solution? We have specifically designed our latest recycling bins and recycling stations to evolve with the waste management needs of the business. These innovative, multi-compartment solutions help you create the configuration you need in the space that’s available, while encouraging users to segregate their waste efficiently, boosting recycling rates now and in the future.
Multi-Bin Recycling Station
The Unisan Multi-Bin Recycling Station can be tailored to your specific recycling needs to make it easy as possible for your staff to recycle, and to reach the best possible recycling rates. With options for custom waste streams, custom signage, and even custom finishes, you can truly make your Multi-Bin your own! We have helped transform recycling at many large organisations such as Microsoft, Adidas, Adobe and more.
Aspire Recycling Station
Our new, most popular bin, the Aspire, can also be tailored to exactly suit your organisations waste needs and interior design. Haven’t got room in your office or break-out area for a big recycling station? Not to worry. The Aspire bin is compact enough to fit into almost any office space, without compromising on recycling excellence or quality & design – obtain the best possible recycling rates and make office recycling easy, however limited your space may be.
Vogue Recycling Station
The beautiful, Scandinavian style Vogue bin can be tailored to suit the colour of your offices, and also the amount of waste streams you require. Our recycling stations are fitted with the Longopac continuous liner system, proven to save on labour and waste collection costs, as well decreasing plastic usage by up to 70%. Each liner only takes 20 seconds to change and the next liner is always there ready to go, which can cut your time spent emptying bins by 38%!
Zero Recycling & Sanitiser Station
Ever thought about combining your recycling, waste and sanitiser into one station? Zero contaminated waste, and zero germs! The Zero station includes your choice of waste streams, as well as a hand sanitiser and sanitiser wet wipes dispenser, encouraging improved recycling and hygiene. This station can also be customised to suit your interior design and waste needs. The perfect option for a new office fit out in the current climate.
Bespoke Recycling Station
Entirely customisable. The sky is the limit. Think outside the box for a stunning recycling station to catch the attention of every employee/visitor, for excellent recycling results!
CafeCrush Reverse Vending Machine
CafeCrush is a reverse vending machine recycling system that has so many benefits, including making recycling both easy and fun. With customisable receipts that print out once a bottle or can has been placed in the machine, you can give rewards such as a voucher code for a free coffee, to incentivise positive recycling behaviour at work. The wrap can be completely tailored to suit your brand and show your company’s commitment to recycling. This has been proven to really engage employees and the general public in recycling, and can be seen at many theme parks, motorway services, and corporate offices.
Sustainability: A value, not a chore . The emphasis on sustainability and being environmentally responsible has never been higher. We’re committed to supporting our clients with a ‘design for the environment’ approach by sourcing ethically sound materials and constantly reviewing our manufacturing processes., we’ve continued to make the environmental performance of our facilities the best they can be. A belief we embrace as a business to keep striving towards supporting and upholding green design and manufacturing principles. Maintaining sustainable practice is just what we do. Not because we have to but because we want to. So, when you’re looking at a new office interior – think about your own company’s green policy, and revamping the recycling bins. Then think about how using Unisan will assist you with that.