Being green improves staff morale, prevents your company committing social suicide, and helps with our handover of the planet to the next generation. A relocation project is the perfect opportunity to implement environmentally sustainable initiatives.
With this in mind, BRM brings you the top ten ways to green your project:
1. Commit then stick - make the environment a priority from the start. Appoint committed stakeholders and project leaders together with knowledgeable, experienced consultants to guide you. Groundswell is not enough – sustainable design needs to be embraced across all levels of the organisation, and especially by management. Lock your green objectives into the project goals in the initial planning stages.
2. Location, location, location – when selecting potential premises, evaluate how easily the building can be accessed: how far are staff travelling, and where from? What is public transport like? Are there bike storage facilities, change rooms and enough showers? How close are local shopping facilities? The building itself will influence staff’s environmental behaviour – for example, limited parking will encourage people to car pool, ride and use public transport.
3. Base building matters! – the design phase of a building has a major effect on how much energy the building consumes year on year after completion. When searching for premises, it is essential to understand the energy ratings systems (Nabers and Green Star in Australia). If the building has been refurbished check what sustainable initiatives were undertaken. And most importantly, selecting a new premises is a tenant’s only significant opportunity to influence landlords and building design. Help the environment by selecting buildings that incorporate sustainable design.
4. Base building and energy management – what energy saving initiatives does the building incorporate: motion sensor lights? After hour timers? Overhead lighting level sensors and energy efficient tubes? Photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy? Floor plans that maximise natural light and reduce artificial lighting? Building automation systems such as C-Bus wiring? Selecting buildings that incorporate ESD (Ecologically Sustainable Design) will lower your carbon footprint and your tenant outgoing costs.
6. Fitout materials – when selecting furniture and finishes take a cradle-to-grave approach: this is the environmental impact of a product from manufacture to the end life of the product including the energy to produce and transport it as well as disposal). Imported, short-life, low cost solutions carry high environmental costs. Opt for open plan layouts with free-standing furniture over partitions and built-in joinery – this will provide flexibility for office churn, use less fitout materials and improve HVAC performance. Select materials that reduce volatile emissions and choose whitegoods with maximum ratings. If it all sounds confusing, keep it simple by thinking: reduce, re-use, recycle.
7. Waste minimisation – Lobby for an integrated fitout where the landlord and tenant work together on the fitout. This requires increased communication and co-ordination through the planning stages but reduces wastage and fitout time. Re-use existing furniture to help the budget and the environment. Early planning for the premises makegood and handover will help implement environmental initiatives. During the stripout ensure waste is salvaged. Unwanted loose furniture can be sent to auction, ebay, donated etc. Sort paper and waste before dumping. Unwanted computer equipment can be sent to specialised recycling facilities. The rubbish tip should always be a last resort.
8. Water use – within the tenancy space select efficient fittings and fixtures eg: low flow taps and shower heads, dual flush cisterns, sensor taps and waterless urinals. Outside the tenancy, base building initiatives include harvesting rainwater, efficient plant equipment and providing the hot water via a circulation pump.
9. It’s only the beginning – moving into an environmental fitout is just the start. Ensure equipment is maintained and running optimally. To manage environmental performance, you need to be able to measure and monitor usage. Create policies and procedures and ensure the fitout design encourages users to be green eg: easy separation of waste. Sign up to an accredited green energy provider. If you own your building setup action groups and allocate annual budgets to achieve your ongoing environmental goals.
10. Educate – learn as much information as you can through your project and then pass it on. There is an abundance of free talks, tours, seminars and information available. Once completed, use your project as an opportunity to educate staff. Explain what principles were undertaken and why. And then spread your good news. Be proud of your achievement. Show your project off to your clients and suppliers.