Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) in the Office

Imagine walking into a sunlit office adorned with green indoor plants and large windows. Doesn’t that sound more appealing than an artificially lit, sterile room with just one window? While the concept of ‘greener offices’ may sound like another industry buzzword, the finite amount of non-renewable resources and its negative impact on the environment, specifically climate change, are unavoidable. Across the city of Sydney, companies are understanding the environmental, social and economic benefits of environmentally sustainable design (ESD), identifying effective alternatives in the process. By integrating a sustainable office fitout into the workplace, your corporate image and the well-being of your employees will be greatly improved.

Whether you’re a business owner or employee, the Green Star sustainability rating system provides a framework of best practice benchmarks for sustainability that Australia can trust. Internationally recognised, Green Star is changing the way offices are designed and operated. We recommend you read the Green Star eligibility criteria to determine where on the spectrum your company is positioned. To help develop the total indoor environment in your workplace, natural elements like greenery and natural light should be integrated. Consider the following strategies to implement into your office space.

Indoor Environment Quality

By connecting people with nature through office interiors, the physical and mental wellbeing of your employees is significantly improved1. While office fitouts which include natural elements have been correlated with increased productivity and creativity, many companies are still failing to comprehend the return on investment. Astonishingly, over 50% of Australian offices surveyed had no natural light and 65% had no plants.

Natural Lighting

By optimising the quantity of natural light entering the workplace environment, the amount of required artificial lighting can be considerably minimised. More than half of the employees surveyed suggested natural lighting as a design feature they deemed necessary in their ideal workplace environment. However, it is crucial that the amount of light entering the building is not mitigated by additional heat load.

Natural Ventilation

To minimise indoor pollution, effective natural ventilation through windows is needed to help optimise the amount of fresh air circulating into the building. Investing in adequate knowledge of the wind direction, temperature changes and humidity are beneficial when designing the office. Many employees in Australia are experiencing negative air quality, which is linked to many potential health problems each year. Printers and photocopiers should also be segregated and well ventilated.

Office Plants

People have an innate need for nature, commonly referred to as Biophilia. The addition of office plants into the office will not only reduce stress levels in work environments but also clean the air and neutralise humidity levels.
Have you recently assessed the sustainability of your current workplace environment?