How To Create The Right Office Space For Your Eco-Minded Startup

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Here are some tips on how to design your startup office space to be more employee- and environmentally-friendly.

Believe it or not, neither Google nor Facebook started out in fancy-looking glass buildings bristling with energy efficient tech and sustainable solutions. What’s more, Apple was founded in a garage, while Facebook was fired up in a room in a college dorm. So, don’t despair if your startup offices don’t look like Google’s HQ in San Jose right from the beginning.

#1 Look For Sustainable Materials

It seems that today you can’t read an article on constructions and interior design without stumbling upon words such as ‘green’, sustainable’, and ‘carbon footprint’ since many businesses strive to associate with the environmental-friendly movement. Sustainable startups are perceived to be much kinder to workers and have a lesser impact on the environment. The first step would be discarding all the paper filing and conducting the entire business electronically. Another sustainable option is to build or remodel using not only recycled and reused resources and materials, but also furniture and floors.

#2 Choose Energy Efficiency

Apart from using green building and interior decoration materials that benefit the employees’ health and well-being, startups and small businesses need to control their expenditures and save money wherever they can. And there’s no better way of saving than when you’re receiving an added bonus of helping reduce the carbon footprint of your company. Adopt energy-saving habits, like unplugging all the electronics at the end of the workday, and install energy-efficient double-glazed windows to relieve your HVAC unit in critical temperature peaks.

#3 Invest In Green Power

If you’re ambitious to reach the peak of your eco-friendly business model early on, consider powering your office with solar panels. This project might initially strain your budget a bit, but with favorable, tax-deductible solar panel finance, if you apply early, the solar system can pay itself off in several years. Some buildings are friendlier to solar equipment than others, but keep in mind that solar photovoltaic panels need to be oriented to the equator, south on the northern and north on the southern hemisphere.

#4 Buy The Right Technology

Just as you can lose a great amount of energy due to insufficient insulation, outdated and broken electronics can also become invisible energy wasters. When equipping your office, choose the best, newest and most energy-efficient technology you can afford. As with home entertainment electronics, office technology improves and changes all the time, constantly evolving towards better energy-efficiency. On the contrary, outdated copy machines and printers might be much ‘thirstier’ than new modes, so what they save you on low price, they charge you dearly down the road, month after month.

#5 Choose A Light-Saving Design

Aim to design your office in a way that lets you take as much advantage of natural light as possible. Remember the glazed headquarters of the Internet behemoths from the introduction? This involves ample windows and if the structure allows, even skylights. It was concluded in many studies that plenty of natural light makes employees happier and more productive. As a bonus, using more natural light means using less electricity for lamps and pendants.

#6 Encourage Eco-Friendly Office Policies

While not every industry permits this, if you can, set a business casual policy for the office. Not wearing suits means less dry cleaning, which is not only beneficial to the environment but also to the overall public health, not to mention finances. Another green policy you can encourage is telecommuting, which cuts down on communing cost, the use of electricity, and air conditioning. Some employees may even turn more productive when working from home. To others, the possibility of telecommuting, even if only a few days a month, is a great employment perk.

#7 Eco-Manage The Common Areas

For a smaller office, cloth napkins in the kitchen and cloth towels in the bathroom can make more sense than paper towels or electric hand dryers. If you have to replace toilets, order models with low-flow or dual-flush options since toilet flushing is the largest water consumer in office buildings. Whenever you need to replenish kitchen supplies, instead of buying individual packets of coffee, cream, sugar, pepper, salt, jam, and other consumables, buy these in bulk and use glass jars for these items that make them easy and less messy to use.

As you can see, even if you have limited space and resources, you can achieve many eco-friendly milestones, especially through using green materials and energy sources. Creating an environmentally-friendly environment doesn’t only benefit your finances, but also the happiness and productivity of your employees.



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