Trends, But Not As We Know Them! : Chapter I Sustainability
As part of the collection of blogs ‘Trends But Not As We Know Them!’ this week’s chapter focuses on Sustainability.
Sustainability has be come a emerging trend over the last few years in the commercial interior design and fit out industry. Year on year we are seeing it moving further up the agenda, and rightfully so!
The UK Government has committed to reaching net zero by 2050. Businesses account for a 5th of greenhouse gas emissions yet only 38% of UK businesses are taking any action to reduce their emissions.
[Office of National Statistics study Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) 2021]
Business owners have a responsibility to play their part in reducing carbon emissions. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) can evaluate the businesses current carbon footprint and create a baseline to work against.
Once this is carried out, clearly defined company targets and values can be created and, whether staying put, moving premises or having a refurbishment, these targets can be used to ensure sustainability is a focus when considering changes.
Those who aren’t considering a move or refurbishment could make small changes such as increasing the energy efficiency of their lighting, going paperless or creating a culture of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’.
When relocating or refurbishing commercial premises, business owners should consider choosing a designer and fit out contractor that is considerate to their carbon emission values. Whilst form and aesthetics are important within a commercial interiors scheme, they do not supersede sustainability and carbon emission should be a key focus when undertaking a new project.
Below are some key points for consideration:
Upgrading lighting and heating to products with increased energy efficient will be an initial expense but will create savings overtime, with the potential for up to an 80% increase in energy saving.
Occupancy sensors can be installed to increase efficiency by automating lighting activation only when spaces are in use.
Considering removing walls to create open plan environments can help with carbon emissions and costs. A flood of natural light is not only good for the soul but also means less need to turn on the light switch. It also allows for the opportunity for natural airflow, negating the need for constant use of mechanical ventilation.
Remember the old saying ‘Buy cheap by twice’? When considering sustainability, it is important to make purchases that are built to last. Cheap office chairs for example, with heavy commercial use may only last a short time. A reputable commercial furniture supply, sourced by your fit out contractor or interior designer, can offer guarantees of 5 years plus, and whilst they might be more expensive than the cheaper varieties, if they are built to last they won’t need replacing frequently.
There is an abundance of evidence to say biophilia has hugely positive connotations within a workplace. Putting aside the fact that plants look fantastic and are mood boosters, they are also natural air filters, removing many impurifications, including carbon dioxide. So when your interior designer suggests an array of trailing ivy, they might not just be thinking about its aesthetics!
The top 6 plants for indoor air quality are:
Snake Plant or Mother in Law’s tongue’
Reusing & Recycling
It might sound obvious but one of the key things to do, when undertaking a refurbishment, is ensure waste materials are responsibly disposed of. Contractors should be able to provide waste management information, showing what percentage of waste materials goes into landfill.
There are a number of companies that offer to buy used commercial furniture to resell. Buying secondhand is a responsible solution and consideration can also be given to reusing what you already have. Reupholstering existing furniture or wrapping / spraying an existing kitchen are both examples which will save money and be better for the environment.
The construction industry is a large contributor of carbon emissions. A responsible contract will consider its emissions when purchasing products and finishes on behalf of its customer.
Many manufacturers adopt the Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) approach, in which raw materials are not thrown away (from cradle to grave), but are reused indefinitely or serve as “food” for new products.
Consider selecting products made from sustainable material: Opt for fast growing sustainable bamboo over other slower growing varieties of timber; Timber products marked FSC (Forest Steward Council) promote responsible management of the forests; Eurpoean forests are protected by regulation but this is not the case for other parts of the world.
Designing a sustainable space take careful thought and consideration but every little helps and this goes part of the way to supporting the UKs aim to be Net Zero in 2050. Is your company doing its part? Would you would like Truline Construction & Interior Services to attend your premises to offer a free sustainability survey?
If you are interested in other chapters of the ‘Trends But Not As We Know Them!’ blog please follow this link
TO SPEAK TO ONE OF OUR OFFICE INTERIOR DESIGNERS ABOUT COLLABORATING ON A WORKPLACE OFFICE FIT OUT IN MANCHESTER AND THE NORTH WEST PLEASE CALL TRULINE CONSTRUCTION & INTERIOR SERVICES ON 01942 227333 OR EMAIL INFO@TRULINE-CIS.CO.UK.