You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know an efficient office is a productive office. When you plan everything to a T, it’s easy to get more done. You know how to access your system, where plug a laptop in, how to find the loos and, perhaps most importantly, where to get a tasty brew.
We’re experts at space planning in office design and build so that everything is in the right place. But, there’s more to efficiency than proper space planning. When you’re refurbishing on office, or moving to a new space, you have the perfect opportunity to think about energy efficiency too.
Here are four options to think about if you want to “green up” your office:
Have you ever heard the saying “what gets measured, gets done”? Well if you’re looking for energy savings, you can only start to make a difference once you understand what, or who is using the most energy.
In an office environment, you can use sub-metering, where you install meters for different areas of your office, or even specific pieces of equipment, to measure their energy consumption.
You already know your computer room is burning through your electricity budget, but did you realise the excellent games room you put in, filled with Nintendos and PlayStations, is costing you a bomb to run too? What about the cost of the lights in your communal areas – you know, those lights that are always on?
Once you start to measure your energy consumption, you can begin to make changes that improve your energy efficiency.
2. Climate Control aka HVAC
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) is a significant source of wasted energy in offices, particularly if you’re in an older building. It’s a safe bet that when Jenny from accounts is freezing, Dave in IT is sweating like Diane Abbott in a maths exam. That constant tweaking of the thermostat means one thing, wasted energy and higher bills.
What can you do about it?
Unlike the regular fight you had with your tight housemate at Uni who always turned the heating off, this is quite an easy fix.
First of all, make sure you service your air conditioning (AC) unit. We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve seen AC units that are defective or just not correctly installed. The result is at best a poorly cooled office space and at worst, an office as hot as the sun.
BTW, it’s a common mistake to sign an office lease without testing if the AC works first. Once you’ve signed the contract, don’t be surprised if it’s your responsibility to fix it and not your landlord. Find out more tips like this in our guidebook here.
Once you’ve serviced your AC, think about implementing new zonal technology so you can manage air temperature and ventilation in relation to occupancy. The more granular your control, the less likely Jenny and Dave are going to come to blows and, the more efficient your space cooling will be.
3. Office Lighting
Have you ever tried to work in an office where there’s a flickering light or a strange buzzing noise? Yep, we’ve all been there, and nine times out of 10 it’s down to old and inefficient lighting.
When you refurbish your office space, make sure you specify modern, high-frequency light fittings or LED lighting. These will produce more light, make less noise, last longer and reduce your energy bills.
They will almost certainly cost a few quid more at the outset, but the payback period on efficient lighting is short. Not only will your team thank you for a better working environment but so will your FD when the bills come down.
4. Water Consumption
Offices use a surprising amount of water. Especially the morning after England get knocked out of the World Cup and the whole team’s nursing a hangover.
But in all seriousness, your building is probably using more water than you think. There are some easy steps to take to reduce your water consumption too:
- Choose efficient appliances, such as dual flush toilets and taps with water saving regulators
- Install a rainwater or greywater harvesting system
- Regularly look for leaks in your water system or fit a leak detection system
Water may not seem like an important area to focus on, but even in rainy England, we need to ensure we’re not wasting any Adam’s ale. It’s a precious resource and costs money too.
There you have it, four options for how to make your office more energy efficient. Get in touch with our experienced office design and build project management team if you want to find out more. It’s always easiest to think about efficiency at the outset of an office interior design and build project in London, but it’s never too late, and even the smallest of changes can make a big difference.