At Soul Spaces, sustainability is ingrained into every refurb or fit out project we take on.
But there are extra things you as a business owner can do to minimise waste and environmental damage as part of the process.
In this article our co-founder Joe Gillam shares his top five tips for keeping your office refurbishment project as green as can be.
If you’re about to embark on an office refurbishment and your existing space has whiteboards, seating and storage — do all you can to avoid it going to landfill.
Whiteboards can be washed clean, storage doors can be changed and seating reupholstered. A good design team can find good solutions to your existing problems.
The truth is it takes more time and talent to look at the existing items and design them into the new office.
Creativity will be required but, if done right, it will make for an amazing workplace design and much reduced carbon footprint.
The pre-loved furniture market is going through a revival. There are more options than ever before if you decide to procure via this method.
You may not get ALL desks or ALL task chairs to be uniform but we don’t think that’s a huge issue within the design or the management of the workplace. If you are trying to be sustainable with your workplace design, you need to be open minded and able to act quickly if a product is available.
This procurement method definitely needs time and management but will have a positive impact on the green credentials of your new office.
Vinyls, plastics, acrylics, anything that looks like it isn’t a natural material will generally be a worst investment. Timber flooring for example can be re-used to be wall panelling or sawn down to create other items. Plastics… well generally they remain as plastics!
Timber flooring is more expensive but provides you with a better product. You do still get what you pay for.
There are worktops made of recycled plastics or egg cartons, chairs made from old fishing nets. Any product with a clear story and traceable history aligns within a sustainable office design project. Most commercial suppliers have done a good job at this over the years but most companies will sell themselves at net zero via carbon offsetting and loose baseline testing as opposed to having completely sustainable products.
One of the biggest mistakes we find our clients make is buying too much or just doing too much.
Less is more. Higher quality products and finishes, but fewer of them, give a classier, more timeless feel to the office space.
Curtains – do you really need them?
Signage – does it need to be plastic and bespoke and backlit?
Wallpapers – invest in artwork instead and support local artists
Flooring – too many finishes encourages waste, keep it simple and invest in better product
Breakfast Bar – a vintage table will probably work better
If you work with what you need rather than what you like, I think a clearer, cleaner, greener workplace design will start showing and for the better!
A less physical and tangible point but just as important. A new office is a new opportunity to encourage new behaviours.
Ensuring the recycling bins are out and everyone is a part of the process. You may need signage at first. Gymbox do a good job at making the mundane amusing. This tactic can be used similarly for the workplace.
A building with bike storage, a location that encourages riding rather than driving in a smart building that conserves energy are easy wins and should be looked at from an early stage in the workplace project.
If you’re embarking on an office refurb project and are unsure how to embrace these sustainability practices, feel free to get in touch and we can help guide you through the process.