Deloitte’s The Edge, Amsterdam pictured above (Photo: GRESB)
Make any office better with these sustainability and wellness features:
Low Carbon Transport Infrastructure
Low carbon transportation means public transit or walking, running and biking. To make this possible, the inclusion of indoor and secure bike storage, as well as shower units is extremely valuable.
This added physical activity can also help boost employee productivity and also has a positive impact in terms of reducing harmful emissions. Further, regular physical activity can reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It also boosts perceptions of happiness and satisfaction.
Specifying the right materials and equipment for a project reduces adverse environmental and health related impacts. Certifications like the WELL Building Standard and LEED provide guidance on certain products. These certifications look at various aspects of office materials, including VOC off-gassing. VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds are toxic substances that slowly break down and release into the air. They can cause harmful effects both short and long term. Considering how much time we spend in the office this is something that should be seriously considered.
Some certifications take sustainability in design further, looking at the life-cycle impact of products. Organizations like the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute list products that have met their rigorous criteria – including furniture and office products.
Access to natural light has a tremendous effect on our wellbeing. Natural light dictates our sleep patterns. This is based on years of evolution with a natural light and darkness cycle. In their paper published in Current Biology, Wright et al find that electric lighting and reduced exposure to sunlight delays circadian timing in humans. Delayed circadian rhythms can make it harder to sleep by disrupting a person’s sleep clock. Harvard research has shown that the average worker loses 11 days of productivity each year due to insomnia.
It’s no wonder that offices around the world are taking note of this. For example, Dream office REIT’s office recently renovated their space to remove corner offices (22 of them per floor) and replace with open areas that let light shine throughout the floorplan. Natural light also reduces the amount that you have to rely on artificial lighting, reducing electricity use and GHG emissions.
The average U.S. office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year. That equates to 4 million tonnes of copy paper used annually.
As the world moves towards digitization of materials, offices are slowly following. Some firms like CBRE have implemented paperless policies. Going paperless allowed them to reduce paper storage requirements, creating valuable real estate cost savings. CBRE was able to move employees into workspaces that were smaller in size but still provided employees with the same desk area due to reduced paper clutter.