The Importance of Sustainability in Design

Jul 10, 2020

Sustainability is all about time. 

When out-of-date office designs stop functioning for employees, the office’s time is over and its usable pieces are stripped down and remodeled. Most materials, however, are discarded at an extreme cost to the environment. In fact, the world’s buildings account for nearly 40% of the world’s energy use and an improvement to their efficiency is the easiest way to address issues such as climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. This means sustainable architecture and design is the most impactful place for an environmentally-conscious society to focus on. 

The practice of sustainable development seeks to put a stop to this cycle of building and demolishing. Sustainability begins in the planning stages of an office’s design, which should take into consideration how an office plan will be adaptable to long-term changes. These office designs should cater to today’s generation, but they should also anticipate the needs of future generations who will use the space. By planning and designing workscapes that transcend generations, demolitions that negatively impact the environment can be avoided.

While important in its own right, the benefits of sustainability go beyond a healthier ecosystem – it can also improve company’s performance.

Sustainability Means Designing For Your People

When envisioning a workspace, it’s important to design for the people who will be using it. By designing with the employees’ needs in mind, you are ensuring that the space will efficiently serve its purpose for years to come or, in other words, sustainably!

The most important consideration is communication. Does your space offer areas where employees can collaborate together? Does it cater to the different types of interactions that happen during a workday? Is there a place for traditional meetings to occur? Your office should provide employees with different gathering areas that will suit the type of work they are performing.

Additionally, your office’s design should convey your company’s values, which by definition shouldn’t be changing. It’s easier for both employees and customers to connect with a brand they share values with and the best way to embed these values into your workforce is through lasting office designs. 

Sustainability Means Improving Performance

Well-designed offices that promote sustainability have demonstrated improvement in employee performance. Workers in green office environments experience less stress, are healthier, and work more efficiently. Alternately, according to Sourceable, poorly planned working spaces can result “in a 20 per cent drop in workers’ productivity and several health and behavioral problems.”

One of the simplest way to create a more pleasing, employee-centric environment is through the design of space around views of the outdoors. Employees who have access to windows and natural light perform better and are 23% more efficient.

Additionally, employees appreciate workplaces with clean air, with studies indicating that an improved ventilation system can lead to productivity increases of 11%. Reducing air pollution with indoor filters and purification systems with drive a significant ROI and never go out of fashion.

Sustainable design doesn’t end with the layout of your office. Other details, such as your choice in furniture, also impacts employee performance. For example, ergonomic chairs are more comfortable and are proven to be better for employee health. Therefore, these chairs will both have a longer life within your office while improving your workers’ quality of life. 

Next Steps

At Workscape, we’ve helped companies identify the right ergonomic pieces to outfit their spaces through Knoll’s line of products, one of the most respected names in office furniture. Additionally, Workscape is the exclusive representative of DIRTT, a pioneer in modular interior construction which epitomizes the sustainable office.

Workscape is privileged to have Sustainable Pittsburgh as a source and guide in the quest to spread sustainability practices throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. We full-throatedly endorse and are working towards the goal of helping our region “integrate economic prosperity, social equity, and environmental quality to bring sustainable solutions for communities and businesses.”

Let us know how we can help you with your sustainability goals today!

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