To a certain extent, these days companies don't have much choice about including green elements and energy-efficient technologies in their workplaces. Legislation, such as the CRC and The Building Regulations, is setting certain standards, and it's only going to get more restrictive.

Luckily, the majority of companies are on board with sustainability and can see the benefits that going green brings to their business not only in a money-saving capacity but also in terms of improved reputation internally and externally.

Consider your options - how green do you want to be?

Be green savvy

    • Ensure sustainability and energy efficiency are the major considerations when designing your office and specifying Mechanical & Electrical systems, furniture, fittings - basically, everything!
    • The simple things make the biggest difference - plan for recycling areas in your designs, and remove individual waste bins
  • Look into the latest green technology

    • Save on lighting by installing daylight-capture systems and motion-sensitive fittings
    • A good way to reduce usage is to keep a close eye on it - plan to install a sub-metering system so you can identify and manage high energy consumption areas
  • Consider what's gone into what you're putting in

    • What level of recycled material is in your fittings, fixtures, furniture and flooring?
    • Are paints low in toxins, specifically VOCs?
    • Can your fit out company guarantee that all timber is FSC certified?
    • An environmental rating gives a benchmark to aspire to, and can also be a great marketing tool for promoting your 'greenness' to partners, clients and also your employees. Your office fit out partner should advise you on the most appropriate rating to aim for
    • BREEAM® - The Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method
    • LEED - The U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design
    • Ska Rating - Developed by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

Save with sustainable systems

Green and energy-efficient technology is getting more affordable, and using less energy generally saves you money; so it's now easier to guarantee a return on your investment.

If you are able to make changes to the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in your building, then consider the sustainable options. A small investment now may help you save later - save money, and save the planet.

  • Lighting

    • The best way to save money on lighting is to not use any. Maximise natural light within your space, use light tubes to bring daylight into more secluded areas, but remember to consider the additional heat from solar gain and its impact on your HVAC
    • A lighting control system is a great way to ensure that areas are not being lit unnecessarily
    • Give users control. Task lighting allows staff to set their own lighting levels
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

    • A Building Management System (or Energy Management System if not building-wide) to control where and when your HVAC is activated (by linking to your meeting room schedule, for example) can make you more energy efficient with very little effort on your part
    • Sub-metering allows you to monitor your systems and identify any inefficient areas
    • Your HVAC installation must be compliant with Part L of the Building Regulations
    • Generate your own electricity. The Feed-In Tariffs (FITs)2 scheme went live in April 2010 to encourage small organisations to invest in small-scale low carbon electricity generation
    • Comply with the CRC (Carbon Reduction Commitment) Energy Efficiency Scheme. It's a mandatory scheme designed to cut CO2 emissions in large businesses and organisation

The website of the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers, www.cibse.org, is a great place to find advice on how to make your systems more efficient whilst ensuring they are compliant with the latest legislation.

Fit out tip