The cutting edge of business is proving that ecologically sound values and turning a profit don’t always have to be mutually exclusive. There are areas of exciting new development where being kind to the planet and growing your operations can work, if not perfectly in harmony, then more towards a mutual benefit.
For a long time, ecological construction has mostly been focused on domestic dwellings, primarily due to cost. It was considered impractical and not economically viable for business premises.
Gradually, businesses and office suppliers have come to realise that the debate is about more - customers have growing expectations about the corporate social responsibility of the businesses they patronise. It’s about a network of interconnected companies and suppliers, who all demand of each other enhanced ecological credentials. And from the detail of sourcing your office paper supply to finding the industrial roofing company to extend your warehousing space, there is an inherent expectation that you begin to adjust what you demand of the businesses you deal with, and they of you.
Going greener with your office space brings so many benefits- from bringing more customers through the doors to scoring tax breaks, winning grants and making savings on utility bills and overheads.
But beware of falling victim to the greenwashing trap. It’s not enough to pay lip service to green values and start buying eco washing up liquid for the office kitchen. In order to make sure your office space is really kind to the planet there are rigorous, independent standards to adhere to, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) in the US, and similar systems in place throughout Europe and Canada.
With being green now major business, there’s lot of incentive for innovative breakthroughs, new technologies and products in the sector. A great example is the exploration of living bio walls and roof gardens making use of redundant space and helping the environment by introducing more air purifying greenery. They can reduce heating and cooling costs to the building by deflecting solar radiation and coping with rainwater that would otherwise be run off and contribute to flooding. Best of all, waste water from the building can be used to irrigate them.
Some commercial buildings can explore this theme further by installing a dual piping system. This type of set up separates the water supply into potable (or drinking safe) and reclaimed water, which is from waste but treated to make it safe. This is used for flushing toilets and other functions - but it does depend on your location being set up for reclaimed plumbing use.
There are plenty of ways to retrofit green solutions if you don’t build from scratch - updating HVAC and plumbing systems, switching to a green energy source such as solar power, or replacing windows and doors with new, highly energy efficient options. You can even have extra insulation fitted by way of structural insulated panels containing waste materials ike straw that has been used previously in agriculture or even old denim and cloth remnants.
Retrofitting can also attract financial incentives the same as starting green construction from scratch.