6 Tips for building a sustainable workplace

Green buildings are becoming very popular nowadays, with many companies opting to choose them for their myriad benefits. These include minimizing construction costs and protecting the environment by saving natural resources and recycling construction waste. If you are in the process of constructing a green office, here are some handy tips that would help you plan and execute your project better.

Choose a Green, Sustainable Site

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The first step goes into choosing the site for your green building. Adding the tag ‘green’ to your building means you will not be able to choose places like a historic site, parkland, farmland, wetlands or endangered wildlife habitats.

An ideal sustainable site for your green building would be limited to properties like vacant lots, parking lots, remediated brownfields, rail yards and redevelopment sites. This would prevent your office from contributing to the deterioration of environmentally important sites.

Integrate Green Principles into Construction rather than in renovation

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Studies have revealed that integrating green principles during the building’s design and construction phase can provide an energy savings that is 40% more than the savings reaped by integrating green technology to a traditional building. If you want to build a green company within an allotted budget and reap the rewards for the same in the long run, you would need to incorporate the green mindset into each and every developmental decision you take.

You would also need to hire professional engineers, contractors, consultants and architects who are not only knowledgeable about green buildings, but have ample experience in building them as well. Only then will you be able to realize your goals without encountering any serious issue midway.

Use alternative, sustainable materials

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Green buildings promote a healthier work environment for employees. Hence your choice of materials for the construction of the building should involve only alternative, sustainable materials. These materials will be VOC free, lead free and literally free of any other chemicals that might harm the environment as well as the health of the employees. Some alternative materials you can opt for in this case would include jute and linseed oil based linoleum floors, recycled steel, reclaimed furniture, acoustic ceiling tiles, soy bean based insulation and VOC free paints.

Design with Green in mind

Busy secretary

The plan for your green building should incorporate a design that is energy efficient and sustainable. Start off with the architectural framework. A long, narrow shape would allow for cross ventilation and exposure to natural light while skylights and operable windows offer light and ventilation during temperate weather. Choosing windows that come with low emission standards also prevent heat gain indoors.

Calculate the Return on Investment before embarking on a project

Hand drawing ROI (return on investment)

Do the math first before starting a project. Would you be able to see significant returns for the same in the next few years? How much money would you need to invest upfront? These are some of the questions need answering before starting a green project for your building.

Some areas that offer wonderful returns on investment include green roofs, south facing solar panels and landscaping, etc. You should also include factors like tax breaks and financial assistance along with other incentives offered by utility companies and the government while calculating the return on investment.

Conserve Water

waterless urinals

Your green building should have provisions to store and utilize water in a proper manner so as to minimize wastage. Installing waterless urinals, low flow showerheads, aerator faucets and dual flush toilets in the bathroom can be a start. You can also opt to install appropriate plumbing and irrigation systems to reuse grey water for flushing toilets or watering plants in the garden. Landscaping with native or drought tolerant plants will also help minimize the water used in the garden on a daily basis.

More and more companies are opting to construct green, sustainable offices that would not only be environmentally friendly, but would also offer a safe, healthy environment for employees. These tips will help you achieve your goals of building a greener office space.

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