What is sustainable design?

In recent years, sustainability has quickly become a forefront consideration in the process of designing and building workspaces. There has been a significant change of attitude to address the climate crisis which is evidently encroaching a crucial tipping point of no return.

The focus of what it means to be sustainable has progressed vastly as a result of this and where recycling and green energy were once seen as the most obvious ways of reducing our environmental impact, people are now opting for more sustainable lifestyle choices through other means including diet, fashion and social change.

As sustainable habits are becoming more widely adopted in all areas of society, the desire for this within businesses has also seen a huge incline. Whether it’s from a genuine and compassionate place or a way to be seen to be doing the right thing – it has encouraged a recent surge in companies seeking new ‘greener’ means.

How can sustainability be factored in when designing an office space?

There are varying levels of complexity to take into consideration when researching into the relevant sustainable practices of a project. The benefit of considering these early on in a project is being able to clearly set out your objectives and establish the results you wish to achieve through both the process and outcome of the build.

Air quality, energy efficiency, lighting and water usage are key factors to consider when selecting a new building and its fit-out journey. Energy usage data should be available to help make informed decisions on a new premises.

Thoughtful interior design – There are many ways to influence the environmental performance of a workspace through its interior design. Whether it’s down to strategic space planning to maximise the gain of natural light, or incorporating showers and bicycle racks into your new office to encourage cycling into work to therefore cut down on fuel emissions, an experienced interior designer will be able to guide you through what’s best for you and your business.

Sustainable procurement – Specifying environmentally friendly products and materials for your office is a great way to help achieve your sustainability goals. Just about every item you can see around your office space will have some sort of environmental story, so a great place to begin is to source materials that have sustainable credentials. There are numerous types of accreditations out there for different products, and these certifications help demonstrate how they’ve been sourced.

As well as considering the types of products used in the design of a new space, it is also key to recognise where these items have been sourced from and their carbon footprints. If possible, locally sourced products should ideally be favoured when sourcing new items, or, another great sustainable route to explore is the re-use of existing products that are still in working order.  For more information on this topic, read our blog on ‘What is Sustainable Procurement?‘.

Smart project management and logistics – The construction phase of a project is just as important as the design and procurement stages when it comes to fulfilling your sustainability aspirations. When coordinating the strip out of an existing space, the disposal of old materials should be carefully considered so that any waste can be recycled where possible and hazardous waste is disposed of safely.

Environmental Accreditations – There are more and more environmental accreditations cropping up in the design and build industry, catering for varying levels of sustainability grades. BREEAM and WELL are among the most recognised of the certifications and follow an in-depth assessment at every stage of the project process, touching on topics such as management, health and well-being, transport, water, materials, ecology and pollution.
Many design and build businesses are now incorporating environmental accreditations within their CSR and ESG commitments to show their understanding of sustainability in the design of workspaces.

When selecting a fit-out partner in the design of your new workspace, if sustainability is a high priority on your list of requirements, then make sure to work with a company that carefully considers these key factors in line with what you are striving to achieve as a business.  Here at Habit Action, it is an ever growing consideration on all our projects as we continually work with our suppliers and partners to sustainably design and build all of our projects.

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