Shifting to an environmentally responsible office space

Environmental consciousness has been a big trend in the commercial office space sector for several years and the effect of green thinking on offices in Cape Town and beyond is clear to see.

As workers return to the office, being productive in a space that’s perceived to be socially and environmentally progressive has never been more important.

There are several factors that go into creating an environmentally responsible office space and implementing them effectively is essential for building owners who want to see high occupancy rights both now and in the future.

Here are some ways that you can make your office space greener and attract innovative commercial tenants.

Upgrade to Green Materials

Even if your building isn’t brand-new and built to Green Building Council standards, you can upgrade your commercial space gradually to make it more environmentally friendly.

Renovations are a great opportunity to choose green materials that have been sustainably manufactured and won’t require a lot of energy inputs to maintain over the long term.

Everything from wall paint to installing solar panels for clean energy makes a small contribution to the big goal of keeping the planet sustainable.

Insulate before it’s too late

Many buildings use a huge amount of energy to maintain indoor temperature simply because the structure isn’t properly insulated.

Fixing this issue may be a simple matter of changing insulation materials, which can also contribute to improved health for building users since modern materials are far less hazardous than those that we used several decades ago.

A well-insulated building will consume significantly less power over the long term – and that can only be good for the environment.

With the Eskom crisis continuing and electricity prices likely to increase, this will also translate into significant savings in terms of operating costs.

Watch your water usage

Water is a scarce resource in a semi-arid country like South Africa. Day zero may be a distant memory for many of us, but it’s a scenario that could repeat itself several times over the next century – and saving water could literally save lives.

  • To prevent excessive water usage, commercial buildings should invest in gray water recycling systems that take safely usable drain water and redirect it to other parts of the building where it can be used to water plants and wash windows.
  • Simple actions like fixing leaking taps as part of the building maintenance strategy can make a significant dent in water usage, lowering monthly water bills and keeping running costs down.

Saving water is a benefit not only for building owners, but also for tenants who ultimately absorb these costs in the form of rental increases.

Reuse dead space

Wasted office space usually becomes a makeshift store room or dumping ground for unwanted items, creating a messy office environment and discouraging recycling.

Reusing your own utilised office space is a great way to encourage a minimalist work environment and a culture of neatness while moving unwanted items out of the office and recycling them or donating  them to less fortunate communities.

An office building that is neat and clean is a great way to attract tenants, especially in the post-pandemic era. This in turn will translate to sustainability and lower vacancies over time.

Improve indoor air quality

The pandemic has raised our awareness of health and hygiene in general – and indoor air quality is no exception.

Traditional HVAC systems are not as effective at cleaning indoor air as modern equipment like UV-C disinfection. Switching over to this new technology is not only good for air quality but it’s also highly energy efficient.

UV-C can reduce electricity bills by up to 25% in large buildings, ensuring the good health of building users while reducing monthly expenses.

Save power for a healthy planet

The more power we use, the more electricity we need to generate using fossil fuels. Even as green energy becomes more prevalent, saving power makes excellent sense as a building management strategy.

Saving electricity is especially important in the age of extreme load shedding, making an environmentally friendly act an absolute necessity.

  • Opt for energy-efficient appliances and lights, switching machines off and unplugging them instead of running them on standby.
  • Install smart electricity systems that activate and deactivate lights and office aircons automatically.

These are just some of the strategies that building owners can use to make their office space sustainable in the long run.

Looking for eco-friendly or green office space? Let’s talk

The terms green office, environmentally friendly and eco-friendly are often carelessly used these days, creating an unnecessary amount of confusion with misleading claims.

Being environmentally friendly simply means having a lifestyle or office space that is better for the environment.

A green-office on the other hand has almost become a colloquialism and applies to almost everything that benefits the environment, from architecture to interior office design and co-working spaces.

Less broad and slightly more defined is the term eco-friendly which means something that doesn’t harm the planet. An eco-friendly sustainable office space sets the focus on the future.

Regardless of whether you choose a green office or eco-friendly space, the benefits to your business and employees will be both long-reaching and cost effective. The Commercial Space team has decades of collective experience connecting businesses with commercial premises that meet their needs.

As sustainable office space becomes a firm requirement for Cape Town businesses we are proud to offer a variety of office space to let in green buildings with fully sustainable features as part of our portfolio. Contact us today to learn more.