How sustainable is your workplace?
Sustainability does more than just benefit our planet. Companies with a sustainable workplace can enjoy better talent acquisition, increased marketing kudos and lower operating costs. All these benefits ultimately result in a much healthier bottom line! Commercial fit-out company.
Evoke Projects has some tips to create a more sustainable workplace.
What is a sustainable workplace?
A sustainable workplace has been defined as establishing the “goal of balancing the planet, people, and profit to produce success and viability in the long-term”.1 True sustainability requires a holistic approach that covers workplace design, construction methods and sustainable practices within the workplace.
Benefits of a sustainable workplace
Corporate social responsibility is increasingly seen not only as an obligation, but also as a marketing and goodwill opportunity. This is particularly the case for companies that engage in social media as part of their marketing strategy. There’s nothing better for boosting company revenue than a good news story that goes viral! You also have the satisfaction of knowing your business is ‘doing its bit’ for our future generations.
When it comes to attracting and retaining talent, a Fast Company survey showed that 70% of Millennials said they prefer to work in a company with a strong sustainability agenda. About three-quarters of them are even willing to take a smaller salary to work for an environmentally-responsible firm.2
Other benefits of a sustainable workplace include:
- Reduced utility costs from more efficient lighting and water usage
- Potential access to government grant programs3
- A healthier workplace.
Sustainable workplace design and fit-out
If you are considering a new commercial fit-out, you have great potential for creating a more sustainable workplace. Even a minor office refurbishment can unleash many benefits!
- Lighting accounts for around 18–40% of electricity usage in commercial premises.4 Options to reduce costs and contribute to a more sustainable workplace include occupancy sensors to automatically switch lights on/off and responsive lights that change according to the amount of daylight. LED lights are a good solution for cost and energy savings. Taking an average 500 lumens of light output (a typical office), estimates show that LED lights cost 25% less per year to run compared to fluorescents and 83% less than halogens.
- Reduce water usage and bills with low-flow aerator taps and low flush toilets. Aerator taps mix air into the water to give the impression of a heavier flow but they use as little as 2 litres per minute, one third of a standard tap. New style toilets will typically use 3.5L per flush compared to 12L for an old single-flush toilet.
- Solar power is naturally generated and a great way to reduce your energy bills. Solar panels require minimal maintenance so it is a sensible investment that will provide cost savings in your office buildings for many years to come. Obviously, this may need to be negotiated with your landlord.
- Installing showers and bicycle lock-ups will encourage staff to cycle to work, rather than using cars or buses. A fitter, healthier workforce is a more motivated one!
- Minimising the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) reduces the negative health impacts associated with these products. Evoke Projects can advise you on sustainable choices of insulation, paints, coatings, adhesives, furniture and furnishings, composite wood products and flooring materials for your commercial fit-out.
Codes, rating and certification for sustainable workplace design
The National Construction Code covers legal requirements related to sustainability, including energy and water efficiency.5 Ensure you take these into account in your new workplace design.
There are several rating and certification systems to help demonstrate that you have a sustainable workplace. These also give marketing kudos!
- The WELL Building Standard focuses on health and well-being, including a building’s air quality, natural light and water efficiency.
- NABERS rates a building’s performance in energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and indoor environment quality.
- Green Star rates the sustainability of buildings and fit-outs against a range of environmental criteria.
- ISO is the benchmark for international standards; ISO 14001:2004 covers environmental management systems (EMS).
At Evoke Projects, we practise what we preach. Our CEO is a passionate Ambassador of the WELL Building Standard and our EMS is certified to ISO 14001:2004. We help clients create sustainable workplaces by selecting non-toxic materials, recommending sustainable furniture and find ways to minimise waste.
Sustainable practices in the workplace
Encourage your staff to reduce plastic bottle use by installing filtered water stations.
- Make it easy for staff to recycle their lunch packaging and other recyclables with dedicated ‘yellow’ bins. People associate yellow bins with recycling at home, so it becomes an automatic habit.
- Recycled paper is available around the same price as standard paper. Switch to double sided printing and halve your paper usage.
- Choose low-hazard and natural cleaning products for better indoor air quality and environmentally friendly cleaning.
When you invest in a sustainable workplace, you are investing in more than the future of the planet. Your business stands to gain from lower operating costs, marketing advantages, and talent acquisition and retention. A new commercial fit-out is a great opportunity to create a more sustainable workplace. Please call the interior design team at Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692 to find out more.