With the environment front of mind for today’s workforce, customers, suppliers and communities, sustainability is no longer just a nice to have for business owners. Sustainable office design should be an important element of your community and corporate social responsibility policy.
If you are planning a new office fitout, or relocation, now is the perfect time to incorporate a strategy to minimise your environmental impact.
On top of doing your bit for the planet by reducing your carbon footprint, integrating ethical business practices and sustainable office design can improve the wellbeing of your employees, boost your corporate image and make you a sought after business by suppliers and new talent.
A survey based on conversations with 1,000 corporate employees found:
More than 70% of respondents were more likely to choose to work at a company with a strong environmental agenda. Nearly half said they’d be willing to accept a smaller salary to work for a company that’s environmentally responsible1.
With so many environmental, economic and social benefits of environmentally sustainable design (ESD), it is no wonder it is fast becoming a priority when doing office fitouts in the Sydney CBD.
5 ways you can make your business more environmentally-friendly with a sustainable office design
1. Invest in the latest sustainable materials
While it was once a niche area, major providers of office interior products have an emphasis on offering cost-effective and attractive recycled, renewable and sustainably-sourced materials.
From eco-friendly paint and timber flooring to office furniture made from recycled materials, there are many ways to make sustainable choices when creating a new office fitout.
A good fitout partner can work with you to help you make sustainable choices and ensure your furniture, fittings and fixtures create a productive workspace.
2. Save money long-term with energy efficient choices
Saving energy will not only reduce your electricity bills, but it can also cut greenhouse gas emissions. Here are a few ideas to help you improve the energy efficiency of your office:
- Make use of natural light where possible, for example through windows and skylights
- Turn off equipment and computers at the powerpoint over long breaks
- Use energy saving light bulbs, sensor lights in places that don’t need the light on all day and turn off lights when not in the room
- Buy electrical equipment and appliances with energy efficient features such as power saving mode. Use the ENERGY STAR® to help you make energy efficient decisions.
- Cool or heat the office selectively, with intelligent systems that can focus on the areas where your employees spend most of their time.
3. Embed recycling into your fittings and layout
Incorporating a recycling station and dedicated recycling bins into the design of your office spaces from the outset will make it as easy as possible for your employees to recycle.
From paper, plastic and glass to organic waste and e-waste, there are many materials found in the office that can be recycled. Placing sorting bins onsite where these materials are used builds recycling into your processes without adding complexity.
There are also a large range of recycled office products you can purchase such as stationery and ink cartridges. And you can save on waste by using reusable coffee cups, dishes and cutlery in the kitchen.
4. Go green, literally, by bringing the outside in!
Bringing nature such as potted plants, hanging gardens, living walls or even an edible garden into your office space can not only look amazing, but they bring many other benefits.
Not only do they have the potential to improve air quality in the office, but they can also boost mood and productivity. According to a study by UTS Sydney2, having indoor plants in the office could reduce stress and negative mood feelings by over 40%.
For more on the benefits of plants in the workplace, check out our related post: Live plants vs artificial plants: What’s best for your office fitout?
5. Go paperless where possible
Yes, even in today’s digital economy, it’s amazing how much paper gets used in a typical office, and in many cases there are more environmentally-friendly alternatives.
If your business has a secure document storage and retrieval system, along with digital storage and approvals software, this will reduce the need for hard copy documents, and free up more office space. If you do need to print something, where possible print on both sides of the page, set the printer to toner-saving mode and use colour printing only when essential.
Make sure you recycle paper once it’s been used, and if your business has a lot of sensitive data, consider investing in a shredder. If you find yourself on unwanted mailing lists for cataolgues or magazines, request to move to the online version or remove yourself entirely, and ask to get all your bills electronically.
Aim for the ‘Green Star’ tick of approval
Founded by Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), Green Star is an internationally recognised rating system that provides a framework of best practice benchmarks for sustainability. It is Australia’s trusted mark of quality for the design, construction and operation of sustainable fit-outs and buildings.
According to the GBCA:
“A Green Building incorporates principles of sustainable development – meeting the needs of the present without compromising the future”.
Green buildings have design, construction and operational practices that eliminate or reduce the negative impact on the environment and the building’s occupants, using resources effectively and creating healthier environments for people to live and work in3.
At Vestra we have a comprehensive appreciation and understanding of the Green Star sustainability rating system, and take pride in including their principles in our office fitouts in North Sydney, the Sydney CBD and its surrounds.
Looking for a more sustainable office design?
With a portfolio of successful fitouts, Vestra’s experienced team can help you design, reconfigure and fit out a modern and sustainable office space.
From concept and design to project management and construction, we offer a fully integrated service. With our personal and collaborative approach, you know you’ll be in safe hands.
If you would like to discuss how to create a sustainable workspace for your business, get in touch today to arrange a no-obligation consultation.
- Fast Company: Most millennials would take a pay cut to work at a environmentally responsible company, Adele Peters, 14 January 2019
- University of Technology, Sydney: Indoor Plants Work
- Green Building Council Australia: What is green building?, Webpage accessed February 2022