Morgan Lovell recently fitted out and designed the offices of Hydrogen Energy, a company with offices in Surrey. Hydrogen Energy is a company that is dedicated to tackling climate change, and so they wanted their new Surrey offices to reflect both their corporate identity and their commitment to the environment.
From the start, we sourced all their furniture and other equipment from the UK to keep long haul transportation to a minimum. We chose recyclable desktops and furniture made from long lasting materials, and we installed the most energy efficient lighting systems available.
To create a natural, outdoor feel, we built three special break out zones for informal meetings – one on decking by the river next to the office, another in the open-air courtyard, and the third inside with a forest scene across one wall. And once we had finished the project, we made sure that we offset all CO2 produced during the fit out – Hydrogen Energy’s new office is truly carbon neutral.
HOK is a global architectural firm that specialises in planning, design and delivery solutions for buildings and communities. Their London office is rated LEED Gold, which in case you are unaware means that it is quite environmentally friendly, with only LEED Platinum being a higher rating. The London office is green to its core, beginning with the actual construction project. The company’s plentiful resources allowed it to become the first LEED Gold building in the United Kingdom. Designers selected low formaldehyde and low volatile-organic compounds when selecting the finishes, furniture, and carpet.
To add to that environmentally friendly build, the London branch also features a central patch of grass which is keenly used by the company’s employees to have lunch and just generally relax. There’s even a picnic table with a classic red-and-white checked tablecloth at one end, and small trees interspersed throughout the building.
With rising energy cost, the oil crisis, and environmental concerns, the concept of green building practices are becoming popular, if not necessary, for home and business owners. Large commercial buildings consume a lot of energy which is costly to the owner and the environment.
Designing your new office space, or current office space, to be green is a beneficial way to help save money and do your part to reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re not a business owner yourself, you can help by making some green suggestions to your supervisor for your company to consider; mentioning the savings your company could accrue is always a good strategy to convince them.
Unless remodeling an existing structure, going green can start from the ground up. When building a new structure, use a permeable foundation instead of regular concrete so that water can return to the ground. After designing a layout that utilizes natural light and air sources, use natural or recycled materials if possible. Try to buy materials from local sources to cut down on transportation costs. Choose manufacturers who practice sustainable friendly ways of creating their products. Products like sustainably-harvested wood, reclaimed lumber, renewable plant material like bamboo, recycled metal, or stone are all great materials to consider in your design.
When it comes to heating and lighting your space, solar panels can be placed on a roof angled toward the sun to light or heat the building. Use energy efficient, double-paned windows to help avoid heat loss. Another wayto utilize natural light is by creating a skylight. When it comes to artificial light, utilize lights with motion detectors, or timed lights, as well as florescent bulbs. If you property allows for the installation, wind power and hydro power are other forms of energy that can reduce the environmental impact and cut energy costs.
When all the construction is complete, recycle or donate unused materials. When it comes to the interior design, use paints, carpets, and furniture that were made without volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are chemicals that can be found in materials like paints and glues and can emit harmful gasses and lower the air quality of your office. Paint is a better choice than wallpaper because it is less likely to contain VOC.
The hum of electronics is the sound of energy being eaten. With rising energy cost, this is detrimental to the budget of a business as well as to the environment. Technical equipment is a major energy drain; use computers, printers and any other office equipment with the Energy Star label. This ensures that the equipment is efficient with its energy use. Turn computers off at the end of the day or during periods of inactivity to save electricity and money.
Waste management and recycling are important components to an eco-friendly office. Paper waste is common. Consider recycling paper, printing on both sides of each sheet, using recycled paper or going paperless. Keep recycling bins on site to collect soda cans, paper waste, glass, and other recyclables. This goes for ink cartridges as well. Recycling saves trees, resources and reduces the amount of garbage in landfills.
Designing an eco-friendly office is a great investment for your business and for our environment. Even if you are not able to renovate much of the structure to be green, you can initiate office wide recycling programs to still practice being eco-friendly. These small steps can help in an effort to reduce your company’s overall carbon footprint.
[box] Courtesy of Douglas Elliman Realtors, Agents for New York City Real Estate.[/box]
ART+COM is a group of designers that specialise in creating spaces that integrate new media. They have taken what are usually abstract concepts, and brought them into reality at the digital media exhibition located in Volkswagen’s communications platform in Denmark. The pictures are from the area “Level Green: The Concept of Sustainability”, where visitors can learn about climate change and the various consequences it may have. J. Mayer H. designed the centre, his aim being to allow visitors to engage actively in gaining information not only about the concept, but also about how they can put such notions into play within their own day-to-day lives. Perhaps the most impressive features of this centre are the interactive media walls which encourage user interaction by giving access to data via playful touching.
Stanislaw Mlynski designed this Ecological Wall as a project for a competition organised by the National Taipei University of Technology School of Architecture. The building is essentially an ecological Office block. The competition was international in scope and so the submission had to be something quite spectacular. The structure is covered with organic vegetation, allowing it to absorb CO2 and move it into the plants.
According to Mlynski:
“I proposed to create structural wall using organic waste containers. I believe that arrangement of elements, as well as their shape have potential to create shelters for animals, gather water, reduce CO2. The solar system has the aim to ensure energetic independence.”
In essence the Ecological Wall aims to accommodate vegetation into everyday life. It creates an organic space within the urban setting, allowing everything from the food and water we consume to the very fabrics we use to develop all around us. This design is truly inspiring, not only does it look beautiful but it creates a vehicle by which we can incorporate organic materials more into our daily lives, allowing us to live in both an urban and environmental surrounding!
Logitech recently released its new wireless K750 Solar Keyboard, which as the name suggests is powered by integrated solar panels. Intergration of the panels is a huge plus, in that it means that there are no bulky power bricks or charging cables required. What’s more, the keyboard can be powered by indoor light, which means it is still a viable option for office use. It can also stay charged for at least three months in total darkness, this coupled with a built in power-meter means that you will always know exactly how much power the keyboard has, and can ensure you will never run out. The K750 retails at £69.99 on the Logitech website.
This low rise office building is not only beautifully designed, but also has amazing green credentials. Finished 2009, the building was developed and is managed by Stockland Commercial Property. The inside is modern, sleek and comfortable. While the outside provides stunning views of the river and urban setting. Woodhead Architects were tasked with the design responsibilities. The brief required them “to provide an inspired fit out that was safe, environmentally responsible, technologically enabled, optimistic and engaging.”
2 Victoria Avenue has achieved a 5 Star energy rating from the National Australian Built Environment Rating System, and as mentioned above this was something fundamental to the design. Several innovative measures were introduced to minimise the carbon footprint, including an active chilled beam system for air-conditioning and a grey water system to reduce water demand.
The building measures at 7,200m2 across four stories, and also has three wind turbines on the roof which help offset energy consumption.
[Pictures via Woodhead Architects]