The pandemic has given businesses an opportunity to re-design office space for employees. The trend toward open, distanced, and flexible workspaces is also an excellent opportunity to make offices more sustainable.
Given that an estimated 40% of landfill waste comes from the construction industry*, businesses should prioritize green construction practices. But where does one begin? Going green can be a bit overwhelming. To help you get started, we offer a few considerations for your next office upgrade.
1. Recycled Furniture
When you need a chair, table, or workstation, consider recycled furniture. “Compared to purchasing new furniture, there are advantages, both from a cost perspective as well as resource conservation perspective,” says Bryon Kauffman, Vice President of Sales at Ethosource.
Recycled office furniture requires less raw materials. In addition, reconditioning furniture uses less energy compared to manufacturing new products. Both are good things for the planet!
Of course, re-using furniture is better for mother earth than throwing it out. “On an annual basis, Ethosource diverts between 200-300 tractor-trailers of office furniture from going into landfills,” says Kauffman.
2. Sustainable Furniture Certification
When choosing new products for their office, businesses can also have a positive impact on the environment. LEVEL® is a sustainability certification program for furniture created by the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA).
“LEVEL® certification is comprehensive and considers more than just the sustainability of materials used in products,” says Amy Transue, VP of Strategic Resources at AIS. The thorough third-party certification reviews chemicals on site, manufacturing processes, and the well-being of people and organizational commitments.
“LEVEL® helps businesses make responsible choices and have a greater impact on our environment than they would alone,” says Transue.
3. Glass Wall & Partitions
In an era of hybrid workspaces glass walls are becoming more and more popular. “Glass partitions make the work environment feel more open, provide access to natural light, and give offices a clean, natural aesthetic,” says Ian MacGregor, Preconstruction Manager at MetroWall.
That openness and “free” light can also reduce a company’s electric bill and help reduce CO2 emissions.
Glass walls and partitions are an environmentally-friendly alternative to drywall. “Glass is one of the most sustainable materials around,” says MacGregor. “It’s fully recyclable and can be used over and over again.” Glass partitions are customizable and available in different form factors, so businesses can reconfigure their offices as their needs change.