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Going Green: inspiration to make workspace green & energised

Top tips for a green workspace and a happy team!

Cop26 has shared a spotlight on many areas we need to change - and this includes our workspace. According to the World Economic Forum, buildings account for nearly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, 50% of the world’s energy consumption and 40% of raw materials. While existing building stock will require large scale retrofitting to meet net-zero carbon goals, we also need a higher sustainability bar for new buildings.

With many of us heading back to a hybrid working model, there is so much evidence that an office filled with greenery, green views or access to nature dramatically enhances mental health and productivity - not to mention creating a positive planetary impact.

Being green and seeing green are two sides of a coin but according to a recent survey of 2,000 office workers results found 46 per cent believe the introduction of green initiatives in their workplace is an 'afterthought', while six in 10 claim employees are left to take the lead.

And yet research shows that constantly seeing and being around plants helps people feel more calm and relaxed, thus decreasing levels of anxiety. Apparently being around plants, whether at home or work, helps improve memory and attention span by 20 percent and can increase concentration.

The term biophilia was popularised in a 1984 book by the biologist Ed O. Wilson. He argued that we yearn for a connection with nature. It is this idea, of our hardwired desire for the natural world, that continues to drive the discussion. The term may be new, but the idea isn’t. Nor is its application in the built environment.

Plants have been proven to improve air quality and boost employees’ job satisfaction. Even a small potted fern can bring life into an office – literally.

But it’s not just greenery that helps improve our wellbeing. Last month, German scientists published a study in the journal Ecological Economics, which concluded that the happiest Europeans are those who see the most bird species in their day-to-day lives. Not only did being around birds make people more joyful, the authors determined that an additional 14 bird species located nearby provided as much satisfaction as earning $150 more each month.

So with team happiness and cost effective savings to be had, let’s take inspiration from workspaces and venues operating with the greenest credentials.

Soon to arrive in London will be the UK’s most sustainable tower designed by architects, @Pilbrow and partners. EDGE London Bridge is a 27-storey, 260,000 sq ft tower that “promises to maximise the wellbeing of its occupants”. Building features include a landscaped public park at its base to integrate it with the wider community, while the inside will be equipped with EDGE’s extensive IoT and smart technology. The façade – designed to match the Victorian heritage of the surrounding area – will balance internal daylight from floor-to-ceiling windows with shading, which should contribute to a carbon emissions reduction of more than 50% on-site. EDGE London Bridge will also include underfloor air supply and natural ventilation in order to create an energy efficient, healthy environment.

EDGE has form in building eco friendly buildings with Edge Amsterdam taking the prize for the greenest building in the world.

Closer to home, we should shine a spotlight on Uncommon who run flexible co-working spaces across London. Each space is infused with natural light, greenery and even herbal aromas designed to decrease stress and enhance positive productivity.

If you want to green up your workspace with energy saving tips as well, Green Living magazine have some great insights. These include installing double- or triple-paned windows, increasing natural light exposure, installing sensors or timers to office lights, especially in high-traffic areas. Ideas also include finding a new green cleaning supplier and purchasing recycled furniture.

As true champions of green space in every sense of the word - check out this incredible new sports stadium concept, due for completion in 3-4 years. Designed by world renowned architect, Zaha Hadid, Eco Park is the world’s first timber stadium and home of the greenest football club in the world, Forest Green Rovers.
The stadium will have on-site solar generation and will be powered by energy from the wind and sun supplied by Ecotricity. Pitches will be organic and all food will be vegan. Ample charge points for electric vehicles will be available and walking, cycling and public transport access is part of the plan. 500 trees and 1.8km of hedgerows, along with meadows surrounding the stadium, will promote local biodiversity.

Let us know if you’re seeking a green venue for your next event - here to help!

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