It is no surprise green offices are a growing trend these days. Individuals and businesses are concerned with creating green spaces for themselves and their employees to work from. And, the “green” trend is completely justified. Every year, more of society seems to realize it needs to mend its troublesome relationship with the environment. However, when tasked with building a green office, where do you begin? How do you incorporate green design elements and balance productivity? What specific factors are the most important for you to consider when designing the green space? Well, if you are asking yourself these questions you are in luck. Each of these three questions will be answered below as design elements like natural lighting, eco-friendly materials, and insulation and windows are explored.
#1. Natural Lighting
Nothing simultaneously increases productivity and a building's energy efficiency more than natural lighting. When designing your green office space you should try to incorporate natural lighting wherever it is possible. One of the easiest ways to encourage natural lighting in an office is to opt for an open floor plan. Removing unnecessary interior walls and opting for glass partitions or a glass office wall can not only open a space up but will also increase the distance natural light can reach in your office. In addition, to an open floor plan, you can also incorporate large open windows into your office’s design to take advantage of the natural light that sets upon your space.
Obviously, in some areas in the office you will be required to utilize electric lighting. However, when you do make sure you choose long-lasting and low-energy lightbulbs and lighting devices. This choice will save your office money through the years and also honor its green roots.
#2. Eco-Friendly Materials
Just as was discussed with the lighting devices, a great way for you to design a green office is with the incorporation of eco-friendly materials. This incorporation can be carried out when choosing the building materials for your office and again when adding the finishing touches to your workspace. While designing the overall build for your office space try to incorporate recycled or reused materials whenever possible. As an added bonus, you may be able to secure these reused materials cheaper than purchasing new ones. After your office is constructed and you are incorporating design elements like paint, carpet, and furniture, it is once again a good idea to check for eco-friendly materials. Avoid paints and carpets manufactured with harmful dies and look for furniture and engineered wood flooring that is FSC-certified.
#3. Insulation and Windows
The third factor you should consider while designing your green office space is insulation and windows. Installing adequate insulation and energy-efficient windows is an excellent way to ensure your office space remains “green” for years to come. Proper insulation will reduce the severity of a draft your building receives in the colder months. This insulation will also limit the energy utilized to cool your building in the summer.
As your building faces the various seasons there are also smaller changes you can consider making to improve its energy efficiency. In the summer, you can implement a more relaxed dress code to cut down on air conditioning costs, while sealing windows for winter will allow your heating system to operate easier.
A Green Office Space
As you can already see, there are a variety of factors that need to be considered when designing a green office space. And, while the three discussed here: natural lighting, eco-friendly materials, and insulation and windows are a great place to start, you will surely be faced with more green concerns during different stages of the design process. Take these concerns one at a time and you will no doubt be able to figure out green solutions for each and every one!
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.