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Why sustainable office spaces should be integral part of business organizations

By Jackie Edwards 

Practicing sustainability has become increasingly important for organizations to meet the ever-changing consumer demands, investor pressure, and regulatory requirements. According to an analysis by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, a fifth of the world's largest companies aim to reach net-zero carbon emissions.
While the worst climate offenders are in the gas, oil, and transport industries, it was found that building, fashion, and agriculture industries are also major polluters. These industries consume natural resources at an alarming rate and cause the most disastrous environmental catastrophes in history.
High rates of greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change, which causes damages to farmland, forests, water sources, and wildlife. With natural resources depleting and urban green spaces declining from 12.79% to 9.4%, modern businesses are responding to the need for sustainable solutions by increasingly making eco-conscious decisions. This includes creating sustainable office spaces to reach net-zero targets. Keep reading to learn what businesses can do to create sustainable spaces.

What sustainability means for business

The idea of building a sustainable or green business focuses on growth, wealth generation, and meeting customer needs while protecting natural resources for future generations to use.
Note that turning your business into a green venture entails combining sustainable resource usage strategies and ethical and responsible policies. You should also monitor your company’s environmental impact and remain proactive in implementing more eco-friendly practices.
Typically, sustainable organizations work with others to create an ecosystem that strives to maintain sustainability. Examples of businesses working towards sustainability are Ikea, Biogen, BMW, IBM, and Unilever.
Ikea, for example, creates products using recycled materials and recycles or disposes of 91% of their waste sustainably. Through their products, Ikea helps customers reduce their energy and water usage. By adopting sustainable practices, businesses enjoy high profits and improved reputation in the market.

Conserve energy

Energy consumption in businesses varies widely depending on the nature and size. But on average, businesses in the UK, for example, use 15,000 to 25,000 kWh of energy annually. To avoid wasting power in your office, there are several things you can do.
As a general rule of thumb, businesses should allow natural light inside their premises through windows and doors. Doing so helps reduce energy bills and can be beneficial for your overall health.
It's also advisable to remove large furniture or tech equipment that may obstruct natural light from flowing inside the office space. You may also opt for a bright color scheme on walls, furniture, and appliances to reflect light around the workspace. In spaces where natural light can’t penetrate, install motion-sensitive lights.
These lighting fixtures are ideal for reducing energy bills, as they turn on when needed and switch off when not in use. Besides letting natural light in your office space, make it a habit to open doors and windows to let fresh air inside. This will not only help remove pollutants inside but also cool the spaces, eliminating the need for excessive reliance on air-conditioning during summer.

Go green with landscaping

By creating sustainable and functional outdoor spaces, businesses can improve the overall wellbeing of their customers and employees, and reduce their environmental impact. For commercial outdoor spaces to be sustainable, businesses must rethink the design, materials, and plants.
For example, when choosing landscape materials, opt for those that guarantee durability and reduce waste. Hardscaping with materials like concrete pavers are perfect options because they are easy to source locally, which translates to lower transportation costs and environmental impact.
Meanwhile, installing permeable concrete pavers helps manage stormwater because rain water seeps inside the pavers. The water is collected and recycled to water plants, wash cars, and other outdoor maintenance tasks. Hardscaping with permeable concrete pavers can also be effective in creating wheelchair accessible outdoor spaces, as they solve terrain height differences.
A sustainable landscape design allows you to incorporate natural and modern elements. For example, consider growing native plants in flower beds bordered by rocks. Growing plants native to your business location helps reduce water usage and they are low maintenance.
Also, avoid using chemical-based insecticides and pesticides in commercial outdoor spaces. Adding modern or artificial elements like a man-made lake with a bridge, water fountain, street furniture, outdoor lighting, patio, and gazebos is a sure way of enhancing the style of your green landscape.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Another excellent way to promote sustainability in the workplace is encouraging the concept of reduce, reuse, and recycle. By reducing or eliminating the use of disposable plastic cups, plates, and other utensils in the office helps keep waste out of landfills. Consider replacing inefficient office equipment with efficient models to reduce energy consumption.
It’s also possible to reduce paper usage and waste by going paperless or reusing paper for note taking. For example, instead of throwing papers used for past presentations, reuse them to take note during meetings. When reusing or reducing isn’t possible, encourage employees to recycle.
Since recycling requires energy, you can achieve the best results by installing recycling bins for plastic, glass, paper, batteries, and old appliances. Then partner with recycling plants to transform the waste into useful items.
Today’s employees and clients want to live a balanced lifestyle with nature to reduce their carbon footprint. For this reason, businesses across all industries are implementing sustainable elements on their premises and turning to green practices in their day-to-day operations.
Things businesses are doing to promote sustainability include saving energy, reducing, reusing, and recycling items, conserving water, and creating sustainable commercial outdoor spaces.

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