Going green is no longer just a trend to be half-interested in to make you feel good. It is now a worldwide movement and businesses are becoming a bigger part of it.
‘almost two thirds (62.4%) of midsized businesses in the UK have invested in new technologies for energy efficiency’.According to a 2019 article in the Telegraph, using NatWest research.
But technology is not the only big way to create a sustainable office, and we have outlined below 6 of the top ways the office can become more sustainable.
We are inspired greatly by many companies who have taken the plunge and either gone completely green, or are working towards it in the best ways they can. It is something that we, ourselves, want to work towards and are starting our journey with our latest sustainability mission.
Take a look below at some of the products and companies that have inspired us on our sustainability journey.
Flooring is a huge part of your office space- it covers every inch. It has the power to make the whole place bright and airy, or dark and dingy. So it is very important to get the look and feel of your flooring just right. But the size of this product is exactly why it’s so important to go green! Eco-friendly flooring has two paths to follow; reclaimed flooring, and flooring made from sustainable materials. These both have great benefits. Mainly using wood, reclaimed flooring simply takes used materials, cleans them up and re-uses them! Havwoods International has a selection of beautiful flooring that proves that going green does not have to mean sacrificing style.
For carpets, check out Ruutu. Their ‘Urban Dimensions’ range uses 100% regenerated ECONYL which is 100% recycled. This incredible initiative uses thrown-away fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpets and industrial plastic from landfills to recover as much nylon as possible. The ‘waste’ is then put through a ‘radical regeneration and purification process’, which allows the nylon to be completely stripped back to its original purity. This regenerated nylon, or ECONYL, is then used to create yarn for carpets and textiles. Ruutu’s innovative and planet-saving product is helping to reduce the ‘global warming impact of nylon by up to 80% compared to the material with oil’ – What an example.
The soundscaping of an office is a vastly important part of a fit-out; the correct acoustics can reduce noise and increase concentration. Companies like Refelt and Allsfär have made the decision to be more environmentally conscious in their manufacturing process and pride themselves on keeping their stylish aesthetic whilst also cutting down on waste. Both use recycled plastic to make their panels and Allsfär commits to all of their products being made from up to 60% recycled PET, and being recyclable at the end of their life. When generating a product that is designed to cut noise pollution and create a space for clear thinking, it makes sense for it to be environmentally conscious and doing their bit to cut down on other pollution too. We are huge fans 🎉
Sustainable fabric is a great way of bringing your office into the green world, whilst keeping the style and look that you love, making this a great place to start your eco journey and transform your office space.
At Stansons we aren’t only interested in performance and aesthetics, we go a step further with sustainable textiles which are made from recycled PET bottles. You can be confident that you are not only protecting the planet from waste but also taking proactive steps to clean it. Our fabrics are PVC-free, and our production processes are environmentally focused from start to finish. We are excited to be taking on a new sustainability mission of our own this month, and have our own range of sustainable fabrics in both blinds and curtains, including 3 products all available in a range of colours.
Another company that we love for their sustainability is Camira Fabrics. Their website proudly says that they are ‘Passionately Responsible’, which shows their commitment to the cause, and their love for the product. A number of their products are made from 100% recycled polyester, and they are in partnership with ‘Wools of New Zealand’ to produce sustainable, high quality wool. Their passion and expertise really shine through and it’s a great inspiration for us.
Biophilic design focusses on a love of nature. First introduced in the 1980s, when urbanisation was disconnecting humans from nature, biophilic design found a way of combining the two and incorporating nature into human spaces. There are many health and well-being benefits that come with this form of design as it taps into a genetic connection that we have with the world around us. Wall coverings are widely acknowledged as a great way to add style and sophistication to a bland office, and biophilic wall coverings are the next step, not just to a sustainable office, but to a visually stunning office, too.
Bark offers more options as there are 3 variations within this material; cork, poplar and birch. Each natural material offers a different texture and tone, which can change the look you might be going for. They are all available in a range of colours, and can even be mixed with other materials, such as moss or foliage.
Their Wood wool is hand crafted with wood, cement, and water. It can be made to your design in any shape or colour and also mixed with other materials.
Moss is another great option. It is attention grabbing and states your status as eco-warrior from the moment you step foot in the room. The design isn’t even the coolest bit – it doesn’t need any watering or sunlight, and yet is 100% alive and real!
If you really want to prove your commitment to the cause then you’re going to need a talking point. If the wall covering won’t do it, how about a worktop made of recycled yoghurt pots? A desk made (and smelling) of vanilla pods? A floor or wall covering made from recycled plastic bottles, chopping boards, or packaging? With the right determination, the reused and recycled materials can become almost any part of a modern office.
Smile Plastics create materials that are hard, dense and rigid from yoghurt pots, chopping boards and plastic to be created into a desk or worktop. These materials vary in colour and pattern but are all gorgeous and bear resemblance to a granite worktop. This kind of work is fascinating and truly inspiring! Why are we throwing things away when they can be transformed into something completely new for a whole new life?!
Another great company doing similar work is Foresso. Foresso is a new material composed of timber, wood dust, plaster waste, and 0% VOC resin cast onto an 18mm birch plywood substrate. Why not have your table/floor/display created with this ethically sound, locally sourced, sustainable material to really help the environment?
Our new favourite innovation, though, is the work of Organoid. They take closeness to nature to a whole new level by making their materials an experience of the senses. Their patented technology takes plants and flowers and gently presses them into materials for almost any purpose. The gentle process creates a tactile surface that lets you feel each stem and flower. It also keeps a delicate scent – why not have a refreshing lemon, stimulating coffee or relaxing lavender to heighten your day in the office?
Our final suggestion towards a sustainable office fit-out is for furniture, namely office chairs. The office chair is almost an extension of our own body; we spend so much time sat in it. It’s important that it is comfortable, supportive and smart – to be in keeping with the look of the office. Chairs are such an integral part of your space that it just makes sense to be able to provide sustainable options for something that is bought, used, and worn out so often.
Humanscale have introduced the ‘Smart Ocean’ office chair, which is the first chair to be made with recycled fishing nets. It takes on the smart chair technology by adjusting to each user, taking away the need for manual adjustments and levers. Clever technology, smart design & sustainable material… what more could you want for your eco-friendly office?
The first thing we do when someone visits the office is offer them a seat, so it’s vital to make sure that the seat you’re offering is comfortable and memorable. Sixteen3 have achieved this with their ‘Reece’ product. When specifying recycled plastic board, the product is over 83% recycled. It also combines polyester fibre cushions with reflex foam padding to give the comfort desired. The finishes and configurations allow for this product to be fully customized to your space.
We thought it was really cool to hear that Coca-Cola had a product with Emeco that launched in 2010 and was 4 years in the making. They were slightly ahead of their time when they approached Emeco in 2006 and asked for help to remove all of the empty Coca-Cola bottles out of landfill and upcycling them into an ‘iconic structural item, made to last’. The 111 Navy, the name given to the chair, has certainly done just that. In the 5 years since its launch, over 15 million bottles have been saved from landfill. They create a cool, modern looking chair that comes in a variety of colours and tells a story of new purpose and a better world.
There are many ways to make your office fit out sustainable and introduce environmentally friendly design. Easy, quick to start initiatives like recycling and saving water are a brilliant start. Then as your building becomes more intelligent you can explore integrated smart lighting and management of daylight.
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