How To Make Office Buildings More Sustainable

While many office buildings are currently empty due to the significant increase in people working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, that doesn’t mean there’s no reason to consider how to make these environments more sustainable and energy efficient for when people are able to return to the workplace.

An article for Open Access Government recently stressed the importance of utilising smart technologies in government buildings, explaining that introducing this kind of technology will enable people to get back to work in office environments more quickly.

The news provider explained that smart building technologies serve multiple purposes. They reduce carbon emissions and operating costs, but they also collect valuable data about how spaces are used by those who work in them.

From an economic and energy efficiency perspective, smart sensors can ensure that only the floors or areas in a building that are in use are being heated and lit, for instance.

The publication also highlighted the importance of these technologies, and other interventions, in terms of helping the government achieve its goals on climate change mitigation.

Offices were named in the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC’s) Net Zero Technical Report as one of the sectors that consumes the most energy in the UK’s built environment. Both offices and retail spaces account for 17 per cent of the country’s energy use in buildings respectively.

“The greatest contributors to energy savings were carbon and energy management, building instrumentation and control, lighting, space heating and building fabric measures,” the news provider stated.

As well as exploring smart technologies, government organisations, and indeed any business that wants to improve the energy efficiency of its office and reduce its carbon footprint, may want to consider installing solar reflective film on windows, which can deflect up to 80 per cent of the sun’s heat.

Workplace Insight recently wrote about plans to construct London’s most sustainable tower. The EDGE London Bridge will be 26 floors high, providing some 255,000 sq ft of space once it’s completed.

Its design focuses on being as sustainable as possible and creating an environment that will benefit people’s health and wellbeing when they work there. One of the features it is incorporating is floor-to-ceiling windows to introduce as much natural light to offices as possible.

Window films can help to prevent too much heat entering or escaping the building, as well as reducing glare significantly, ensuring that the occupants of an office get all the benefits of natural light without some of the downsides.

The developers of the EDGE also plan to use “shading and closed elements to avoid unwanted thermal gains or losses”, the news provider explained.

Green space will also be integral to the office tower’s design, with a new public park to be created in the space outside the building that will also connect to the lower floor of the building featuring amenities for the public as well as those who work in the building. 

Boudewijn Ruitenberg, COO at EDGE, told the publication: “These trying times make the importance of healthier and more sustainable buildings even more clear.”