In our quest for globalisation, we have brought good things like urbanisation, economic integration, and cultural exchange but have also invited menaces like enhanced pollution and environmental adversities.
Recently, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of environmental sustainability, including in our workplaces. In the UK, there has been a significant surge in awareness and support for sustainability, as seen through the record-breaking popularity of the term “sustainability”, according to Google Trends Data.
Driven by consumer demand, approximately 33% of the major companies in the UK pledged to reduce their carbon footprint by integrating sustainable practises into their business operations. This is why you see more co-working spaces in London and the rest of the UK.
Modern workspaces are no longer limited to simply being functional and aesthetically pleasing; they are now evolving into eco-conscious environments prioritising sustainability and environmental responsibility.
In this blog post, we will explore the evolution of eco-consciousness in modern office workspaces in London and beyond and its positive impact on employees and the planet.
From No Need for Green Initiatives to Sustainable Approaches
In traditional office setups, the focus was more on functionality and efficiency rather than sustainability. Our environment back then was not so affected. But now workplaces focus on implementing green initiatives such as recycling programmes and energy-efficient lighting. All modern workspaces are taking sustainability a step further by integrating eco-conscious principles into their design and construction. Green building certifications, such as BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology), are becoming more prevalent, ensuring that workplaces are built with environmentally friendly materials and energy-efficient systems. This emphasis on sustainable design reduces the environmental impact and creates healthier and more productive work environments for employees.
The Emphasis on Renewable Energy
Before co-working spaces or awareness about environmental degradation, the world relied heavily on fossil fuels for heating, cooling, and lighting. As the world becomes increasingly aware of the need to transition to renewable energy sources, modern workspaces are leading the way by adopting clean energy solutions. Solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal systems are installed in and around modern office buildings to generate clean, renewable energy. Not only does this reduce reliance on fossil fuels, but it also contributes to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
From Conventional Concrete Architecture to Biophilic Designs
Office spaces for a long time meant closed spaces with glass or wooden doors, stretching chairs with piles of files on each desk, artificial lights, and zero connection with nature. This monotonous structure leads to low productivity, lethargy at work, and dissatisfied employees. Biophilic designs in modern workspaces have enhanced productivity, creativity, and satisfaction at work. Biophilic plans intelligently incorporate nature into workspaces by integrating natural light, water features, a view of nature, and many other elements. These designs promote a healthier work environment and foster a sense of connection to the natural world, reducing stress and boosting mental well-being. By embracing biophilic techniques, eco-conscious companies prioritise their employees’ holistic needs and cultivate spaces that inspire and rejuvenate.
Single Office Energy Consumption to Energy-Efficient Co-Working Spaces
The amount of energy consumed by ten companies in ten different buildings using kitchen appliances, lights, printers, and copiers is gigantic compared to ten offices using shared space and absorbing the same facilities. That’s the beauty of modern co-working spaces. It reduces the overall energy consumption. Modern offices now prioritise energy efficiency through other means, like biophilic designs. Many of these spaces are designed with ample natural lighting, reducing the dependence on artificial lighting during daylight hours. Also, these offices incorporate energy-efficient appliances, smart thermostats, and lighting controls to conserve energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions further.
From Spacious Offices to Co-working Spaces
Traditional offices often have excessive square footage, leading to wasted resources, higher energy consumption, and increased carbon footprint. Co-working spaces, on the other hand, emphasise efficient space utilisation. By providing shared desks, communal areas, and flexible arrangements, these workspaces optimise physical space usage, minimising the need for larger, underutilised offices. You will find many such sustainable workspaces in Bermondsey, London.
From Being Unaware to Careful Implementation of Waste Reduction
The offices and the people three decades ago were less informed and aware than today. So, one cannot entirely blame them for not using waste reduction and management techniques. With recent eco-consciousness among people everywhere, modern workspaces value waste reduction and implement circular economy practises. This includes reducing single-use plastics, implementing recycling programmes, and promoting sustainable materials. Some companies even implement zero-waste initiatives, striving to send no waste to landfills. All these steps will help minimise waste generation, maximise resource efficiency, and promote the reuse and recycling of materials.
The evolution of eco-consciousness in modern workspaces represents a paradigm shift in how we view and interact with our work environments. In the face of climate change and environmental degradation, the evolution of eco-conscious workspaces serves as a beacon of hope, showcasing the possibilities for a more sustainable and harmonious coexistence between humans and the planet.