The Green Office - first in a series of small steps to a big impact
Over the last couple decades, the idea for companies to "Go Green" has been trending. We always hear about it in the media, but it feels like no matter how you look at it, the office lifestyle, despite its flexibility, will always promote a "wasteful" feeling. Until new technologies or methods are created to truly reach a self-sustaining work environment, we’ve started compiling some opportunities for building owners/managers as well as tenants, to jump on the green trend and find some financial efficiencies as well. Today, we’ll tackle temperature and materials.
Heating and Cooling
There's no doubt that offices can be inefficient when it comes to heating and cooling. Luckily, there are some simple (and some a bit more involved) to help:
Window shades and blinds - decorations were never so useful! Reducing the direct path of sunlight can have a huge impact on the amount of heat an office can receive, helping reduce AC usage. For ease of use, look for blinds that are motorized - you can open/close with a touch of a button or even create a schedule that closes based typical sun patterns.
Designated thermostat keeper - giving a team member or two access to the thermostat can prove to be beneficial. The weather changes every single day, so instead of relying on an automated system to control the temperature in an office, sometimes a human touch can be more precise when deciding how much or how little cooling may be required on a given day.
Zone controls - when renovating a space, look for HVAC systems that have zone controls. These allow for low traffic areas of offices to output lower amounts of cooling. Also look for settings that allow the HVAC system to be less active after dusk when the outside temperature is lower.
Materials may not seem like they can have a huge impact on our carbon footprint, but when multiplied across multiple offices, can quickly add up.
Recycled Materials – using sustainable materials like recycled wood and steel alone can reduce the amount of energy required to actually finish the spaces we work in. And many times, look quite stunning.
New Materials – technology keeps advancing in more environmentally friendly materials like plant-based polyurethane rigid foam for wall insulation, plant-based materials like Hempcrete, AshCrete or Ferrock for walls and structural materials.
The more efficient we are about our energy consumption, the better for our environment and our wallets. We’ll be back with more changes that can turn in to huge results when multiplied on a massive scale. In the meantime, let us know what ways we can help make your office environment more green.