Green Design is becoming increasingly important not just in homes, but in offices as well. Green buildings use less energy, and are most cost effective to maintain. They’re also often healthier with fewer VOCs, as well as more comfortable with fewer drafts or temperature fluctuations. Most importantly, for people who care about the environment, working in an office that puts a focus on sustainable design can be a big motivator to want to go to work for a specific company. These 5 tricks & tips for green commercial office design ideas will help you create a better workplace for you, your company, and your workers.
1. Increase Natural Lighting
No matter how well-lit you think your office currently is, if you’re using artificial lights, you’re missing out on a lot of benefits. Artificial lighting not only costs energy to produce and run, it’s also more limited in what it can illuminate when compared with natural lighting. Natural lighting is what’s known as “full spectrum”, meaning that it illuminates many more colors and details than artificial lighting does. What does this mean for your office workers? Better concentration, as well as better attention to detail, and fewer bouts of depression or office-induced anxiety. If the bulk of the lighting in your offices is natural, it also means that you’ll have lower energy bills as well as better employee productivity. To achieve better natural lighting, you’ll need to not only increase window sizes and sources, but also tear down more interior walls. Use glass whenever possible to let light pass through, and turn to more open working spaces where natural light is more abundantly available.
2. Environmentally Friendly Flooring
Flooring is an enormous part of any room’s interior design, including commercial office designs. A good floor needs to looks great and perform well year after year with minimal maintenance. Therefore, more and more people are beginning to invest in quality, sustainable flooring choices including cork and bamboo floors, both of which are made from fast-growing products that can be harvested again and again. That doesn’t mean, however, that if you have a more traditional office design that you need to deviate from your previous design; it’s still possible to get classic material such as maple hardwood flooring, but with a more environmentally responsible construction. Engineered wood flooring allows as less as 1/6 the amount of virgin wood as its top layer, giving you a better product for the environment while you maintain your classic good looks.
3. Bamboo Lumber Furniture
A large portion of any office design includes the furnishings. Desks, worktables, conference tables, and workstations are all integral to any commercial office design. The way that these surfaces are used is changing, however, with more and more companies switching to communal work stations, well as to open office layouts and dynamic furniture that encourages creativity. So, while you’re in the process of investing in new furniture, go the extra mile to invest in green furnishings as well, such as those made of bamboo lumber. Bamboo lumber is just as hard and versatile as hardwood lumber, but much more sustainable. It’s also better for you, with fewer VOCs and no urea-formaldehyde to contaminate your office air.
4. Open Office Layouts
Open office designs are becoming increasingly popular, particularly as many studies are beginning to show that they increase employee collaboration and decrease some forms of office stress. It turns out, that these types of designs can also be considered greener as well.
An open office layout is by nature much denser than one that’s divided up. Fewer breaks in the design mean that more people are situated in a smaller area. This means fewer zones for things like heating and air conditioning, as well as less energy usage overall. Open designs are also conducive to letting in more natural light, which further helps employee productivity and lowers energy bills even more.
5. Introduce Nature and Plant Life
Many studies have found that introducing plants and nature into the workplace can make employees happier and more productive overall. And while even just a photograph of nature can have similar effects, introducing living plants into your office design can have added benefits as well. Many plants help clean the air, improving office air quality while reducing employee stress at the same time. There are many ways that you can include plants in your design as well, from simply adding more plants to desks and walls, to including a living wall of plant life within your building. Just make sure that the plants are where your employees can see them to help reap the most benefits from their placement.
Increase Your Green Status
Green offices are healthier, more comfortable, and better suited for employee happiness and productivity. They also cost less to run overall. Increase your green profile within your commercial office design to see the benefits for yourself.
Until next time,
K Lilia Interior Design Team
Zach Williams, communications coordinator at Kireiusa.com. Kirei has been providing interior designers and architects with innovative materials that are visually interesting, functional and environmentally friendly.