Workplaces and businesses worldwide constantly adapt their strategies, resources and spaces to improve sustainability and lower carbon footprints. This can be done through several approaches and is something the majority of small and large companies now prioritise in their targets and values. One of the leading causes of environmental destruction and carbon emissions is the workplace itself including energy usage, construction work, technology and electricity and the wider community effects. Investing in a sustainable, low-carbon workplace is one of the main ways a business can meet its ESG strategies and environmental targets. So what is a low carbon office fit out and how can this benefit a business?
What is a low-carbon office fit-out?
A low-carbon fit-out is an interior development that is low carbon through design, process and lifecycle. Carbon output can be classified into two areas; operational and embodied. Operational carbon refers to the carbon emissions created from the operation of an office such as lighting, ventilation, IT equipment, heating and air conditioning. The other form of carbon output is embodied carbon which refers to all the carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) emitted in producing certain materials. This includes the energy used to extract and transport the raw materials, emissions made during the manufacturing process, any maintenance work and actions taken at the end of the lifecycle. Any low-carbon office fit-out will ensure these processes are kept to a minimum, reducing the production and release of carbon from the beginning right to the end.
How to create a low-carbon office
Designing and implementing a low-carbon strategy within your business is an intricate and significant task where many different areas are involved. Each part of the process must be thoroughly thought through including design, materials, construction methods, transport, maintenance and lifecycle management.
- Review business carbon targets and contributions
- Set new carbon targets
- Consider whether your business needs a full fit out or refurbishment
- Hold stakeholder discussions to discuss objectives and requirements
- Plan and discuss the expectations of investors, customers and employees
- Consider your property strategy
- Communicate to your key decision-makers
- Set out a clear project brief which includes your carbon targets, how you will achieve these and any other business objectives
- Consider both types of carbon emissions
Key features of a low carbon office
Each business and company will have different features and aspects they prioritise in terms of office design and layout. Whilst one company might want to lower their carbon in terms of technology and equipment, another business might want a completely new foundation and transform its sustainable approach. Here are some of the main features which contribute to a low carbon office.
Your building can lower its carbon emissions through the initial design concepts and plans. Incorporating elements such as natural light, insulation and space planning can come together to create sustainable solutions which reduce high-energy equipment or resources. The design process also includes the involvement of raw materials and everything used to create the space which could contribute positively or negatively to the carbon targets.
Energy-efficient office systems
To avoid energy waste and keep carbon emissions as low as possible, businesses and designers can choose energy-efficient equipment which comes from a sustainable power source, is reliable and reduces power usage. This efficient equipment can be incorporated into a number of different parts of an office fit out including IT and computers, security, air conditioning, heating systems, lighting, washroom facilities and kitchen appliances. Businesses can also invest in smart technologies and automated systems to reduce wasted energy and
Ensuring your building is healthy
A ‘healthy building’ not only benefits those within it but the planet too. Creating a healthy workplace is a lot more than installing fire exists, sprinklers, hand sanitisers and cyber protection, a healthy building also protects the surroundings and outside space. Businesses must ensure they invest in high-quality, smart features which require minimal maintenance and repair work. By limiting these aspects, a company is therefore limiting the technicians and engineers called out, thus the travel emissions and road pollution. A health building will also have sustainable strategies in place such as recycling schemes, reusable water and renewable energy.
Low carbon office fit outs by ACI
Our design, engineering and installation teams are open to any requirements or specifications, including low carbon and sustainable offices. We will support you and your company from the very start including the initial design to construction. We can help to turn your standard office space into a more ethical choice no matter how big the change might be.
If you need support or any advice on your new office fit out, please get in touch and we can get the process started!