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Entries Tagged as 'Green Office'

Refurbished Cubicles: a Green Choice

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The use of cubicles in office space can allow more people to work comfortably in a smaller space — 75 square feet, at last count, for the average American office cubicle user.  Using less floor space automatically reduces the resources required for each individual worker, since energy use increases in larger spaces. The lack of walls reduces energy use further, since all the workers in the larger space can share light and heat or air conditioning. Consider the raw materials needed for those walls in the first place, and cubicles are clearly a greener choice.

If you’re thinking of using cubicles in your office for the sake of reducing your carbon footprint, you should take the next logical step and go with used cubicles. Certainly, any time you can reuse rather than buying new, you’re conserving resources. If you can make use of something that would otherwise have to be disposed of, you’ve doubled the benefits: fewer natural resources consumed, and less waste ending up in the landfill.

For cubicles, though, there’s an extra layer, because good quality cubicles are made of steel. Mark Miller, COO of EthoSource, a used furniture company in the Northeast, says that his company chooses Herman Miller cubicles for their refurbished cubicles. “Those things are built like tanks,” says Miller. “They last forever.”

The strength of the steel is matched by the environmental impact of producing new steel:

  • Steel manufacturing is always one of the highest energy consumers in countries with a steel industry. In the United States, even with our much smaller steel industry, steel still represents a full 8% of the energy consumption in the manufacturing sector.
  • Steel requires iron ore and often scrap metal for recycled steel. While recycling is of course a good thing, recycling scrap metal to produce steel involves extensive processing and creates greenhouse gases – both through the process of producing steel in furnaces and the high energy use required to do so.
  • Some of the scrap steel is used up in the production of recycled steel. A single steel cubicle reclaimed for scrap metal will not produce enough new steel to make a new steel cubicle. Considering the loss of raw materials in the process, emissions, and energy use, reuse of steel is unquestionably a more earth friendly choice than recycling.

Fortunately, recovering a used cubicle creates a cubicle that is essentially new: the only parts of the cubicle that are visible to the users are in fact new.

With the substantial savings that used cubicles offer, there is no reason to hesitate to make the green choice when it comes to cubicles.

This post is courtesy of EthoSource

Green Office , Office Space Design

Are You Willing to Pay Extra for Green Office Space?

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According to recently released research from CoreNet Global and Jones Lang LaSalle companies are willing to pay more for green office space. Of the survey respondents, 48% said they would pay as much as 10 percent more for sustainable (green) space, and 2 percent said they would expect to pay even more.

Owners on the other hand showed that 57% would expect payback of the investment with savings over a 1 - 3 year period and only 9% would consider a period of over 5 years acceptable.

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Green Office , Office Space

Does Corporate America Have Too Much Office Space?

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Nasdaq 4/30/10 - Corporate America has 25-50% more space than it actually needs, particularly as tenants move toward more open floor plans, more staff work remotely and companies reduce costs by cutting the amount of space allocated per person. That's the view of Howard Ecker , president of Chicago-based tenant representation firm Howard Ecker & Associates . "Companies have gone from offices to cubicles and now they are going to benching," he said.

Space per person has been in the news lately, with Goldman Sachs reducing its space per person from 228 to 178 square feet and famously putting a number of less-senior executives in internal offices without windows when it moved to its new headquarters building in New York. But Goldman isn't the only one. Over the years, law firms have gone from 750 square feet per lawyer to 500. "They are now going down below that," Ecker said. Advertizing agencies once had 250 square feet per person and now have less than 100, he added.

Bob Stella , president of New York-based tenant representation firm Cresa Partners , said more companies have staff that telecommute or use hoteling, where more than one staffer uses the same workspace. "All companies are looking at ways to be more efficient. It's possible to create a great working environment and do it with less space," he added. "You can virtually be working on your laptop from home and perform a lot of the same tasks."

Although the office market isn't there yet, Ecker believes that changing demographics will have the biggest impact on office space needs and cited the emergence of the Echo Boomers, or the Millenials, who are entering the workforce. "Four percent of the workplace is 65 and older and 50% is 45 and under. As they disappear and younger people start to make decisions, the complexion of the office environment will change," he said. "The younger the decision maker, the less space they will take."

In an extreme case, the need for less space could ultimately stamp out new office development, Ecker said. "If we have 25-50% more space than we need, why build another office building? A lot of people say they have to be in new buildings because they are more efficient. But new buildings aren't inherently more efficient," he said. Finally, using less space is also a much greener option. "Green is a really big issue today. The U.S. government can't lease space in a building that isn't LEED certified and they are leading the charge into efficiency," he said. "The greenest thing that can be done is to use less space."


Green Office , Office Rental , Office Space , Office Space Design

38% of an Office is not Utilized Yet Consumes Resources

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National Green Office Week is focusing public attention on the need for greater environmental sensitivity at work.  But if a real green contribution is to be made, then firms need to look at their office facilities and understand the level to which they are really used.

A study by workplace solutions provider Regus has shown that around 38% of office space is not utilised at any given time.  However, from an environmental point of view, that space is being heated, lit and otherwise consuming energy, whether staff are using it or not.  Therefore office businesses in South Africa need to examine the ways in which they provide workspace facilities in order to better align facilities with actual occupancy, and eliminate the wastage of huge amounts of energy each year.

Various studies have identified that each employee in a service industry business consumes energy equivalent to two tonnes of carbon emission each year.  If the Regus study’s findings about office under-utilisation are combined with these third party statistics on employee workspace energy consumption, then across South Africa’s 3 million office workers, over 2 million tonnes of carbon is being unnecessarily emitted every year.  South African businesses are also wasting money on energy consumption for office space that simply isn’t being used Business’s rands-and-cents perspective on green issues is spotlighted by Joanne Bushell at Regus South Africa.

She notes: “Being smart about the workspace you provide delivers ‘greenback’ to the environment and into your bottom line.  How compelling an argument is that?  Good environmental practice is good business.  But it requires businesses to take a step back and strategically review how they provide employees with workspace.
Smart firms are already adopting hybrid solutions that relieve them from the wastage inherent in traditional long-term leases.  Traditional office property arrangements may be retained for the inner core of a company’s administration.  However, the recent global recession has taught us all that firms need to become smarter, more agile and able to morph quickly with volatile and rapidly changing markets.  We need to make sure that our workspace arrangements are totally aligned with the ability to scale and change at the rate that keeps business competitive in the 21st century.  In addition, smart, cost-effective workspace solutions cut carbon emissions, energy costs and waste.”

Bushell, Johannesburg-based Regus vice-president, Middle East and Africa, adds: “Local firms are keen to optimise the economic upturn without renting more space and adding to fixed overheads.
“Office space is not only a major cost, it’s also a big user of electricity, air-conditioning and heating fuel – again underlining the relationship between the carbon footprint and the bottom line.”

Source: EPROP

Bolgger's note: Although this is specific to South Africa, it can be apllied to office space everywhere else as well.

Green Office , Office Space , Office Space Design , Office Vacancy Rate