What to Consider When Designing a Green Office

What to Consider When Designing a Green Office
Green office space in Chicago

With climate change, a major hot button issue in 2020, many offices and commercial spaces are making an effort to go green.  On top of reducing carbon emissions, environmentally friendly offices can help companies save significantly on utility costs, which can directly impact the business’ bottom line. 
The following are some tips and ideas you can utilize when designing green office spaces.

Choose Office Surfaces that are Easy to Clean

Significant energy resources are consumed by custodians running vacuums and shampooing carpets and rugs. To cut the cord on this electricity consumption, consider using polished concrete floors. These surfaces are classy, durable, and can be easily cleaned with the push of the broom. They are also non-staining, meaning that no additional energy will be needed for deep cleaning or replacement.
In addition, consider using desks and countertops that are fabricated from white solid surface materials. Not only will these surfaces do a better job of reflecting natural light to lower electricity consumption, but they will make cleaning a snap, reducing the use of questionably sourced cleaning products needed to tackle troublesome stains.

Open Spaces to Allow the Flow of Natural Light

The traditional office or cubicle consisted of gray walls and uninviting surroundings, causing employees to plaster pictures and newspaper clippings over every square inch to give their workspace a hint of humanity.

Fortunately, key decision makers realized that this was not the ideal environment for inspiring the creativity and collaboration necessary for productive work, and they opted to tear down walls and open up office spaces.

In addition to providing a more pleasant work environment, open office spaces allow for natural light to flow freely, reducing the energy costs previously required to light dozens of sequestered spaces. By adding oversize windows and glass walls, the natural-light benefits of this open design can be leveraged even further.

While the open office environment has gained a lot of momentum over the years, some may be concerned about sharing open spaces in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. If this is an issue for your office, consider adding some demountable glass walls to your open spaces. This can add a partition to break up large groups while still allowing for the flow of natural light. As an added benefit, the eco-friendly design of these structures will help your business qualify for multiple LEED credits.

Install Blinds to Help Regulate Temperature

The sun is the world’s most powerful source of green energy, and every effort should be made to use it as a primary source for light and heat in your office space. However, especially during the summer months, the sun can actually get to be a little too much, causing certain areas of your building to overheat.
As such, sun-shielding measures, such as adjustable awnings and canopies, should be considered to block unwanted sun. In addition, blinds should be installed on all office windows and closed after hours to help maintain temperature and prevent the HVAC system from kicking on when nobody is in the building.
Despite all of these green measures, there will still be some times when the outside temperatures get extreme that the HVAC system turns on to maintain comfortable working conditions in the office. If this is the case, look into industrial dampers to help regulate the interior temperature by controlling airflow and preventing inefficient backdraft.

Use Motion Activated Lights

It is easy to get detained when working in an office environment. Meetings can run longer than expected, casual conversations turn into full-scale discourses, and a quick trip to the restroom can lead to an unforeseen string of errands. 

If your office lights are on during any of these encounters, electric bills can skyrocket. As such, have motion activated lights installed to ensure that the lights are running only when you are in the office.
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.

Steve Goldstein  / About Author

Steve Goldstein / About Author

In 1991, Steven founded ChicagoBroker with one goal in mind. Help business owners negotiate the best possible lease or purchase for their commercial space.

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