By Clay Veldt, Director of Business Development, Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, Inc.
Moving into a new office space can be an exciting, yet stressful time. No matter if you are moving from one location to another, or moving into your first space, finding a “green” office has become a top priority for many business owners. They see and appreciate the benefits; sustainability saves money, helps improve public image and sets your business apart from the competition.
Here are a few tips on keeping sustainability in mind during your new office search:
Windows: Be sure windows are properly installed and can be opened. This can increase the use of outdoor air and help reduce the use of air conditioning in the summer. Also, be sure to check that all seals are working properly, so that heat won’t escape during the winter months.
In addition, look for windows that will give you the most natural light throughout the day. This will help reduce the use of overhead lighting. As an alternative, look for spaces that use motion sensors that only go on when activated. This way only the rooms that are in use will be lit.
Energy use: Look for signs of energy savings throughout the facility. This can include an energy efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system that will regulate office temperature and improve indoor air quality. Also look for energy efficient light fixtures, compact fluorescent bulbs and shared energy saving office equipment.
Flooring: Check for flooring that is easy to maintain, especially in high traffic areas. Stained concrete flooring provides a unique look, is low maintenance and doesn’t require chemical cleaners. Other renewable flooring options include bamboo, cork and carpeting made from wool. Not only are these products renewable, but use less energy to create.
Location: Be sure to consider the location of your business, especially if you have employees. Can you walk, bike or take public transportation to work? You’ll want to identify the convenience of places to eat and local businesses to run errands by walking instead of taking a car.
It’s a good idea to make a list of the green items that are important for you to have in your office space. Don’t settle until you find something that meets your needs. If you find a space that doesn’t have all the green qualities you are looking for, but the location is right, consider working with a design professional who specializes in installing and working with sustainable materials so you can create the business environment you are seeking.