The benefits of green offices are wide and varied. Here we explore what a green office is, and the impact it can have on both staff and the environment.

In the wake of the global pandemic and as thousands return to London’s offices, promoting sustainable, healthy spaces is more important than ever. Eco-friendly workspaces don’t only benefit the environment, they benefit the people in them too.

What are green offices?

A green office is a sustainable one. This means the workplace considers its impact on the environment, taking necessary measures to ensure energy efficiency and lower emissions. On a simpler level, green offices are just that – they’re green, due in no small part to the visible inclusion of plants.

A wealth of recent studies has found that sustainable office design is as good for its occupants as it is for the environment. From health benefits to productivity boosts and the obvious planet-friendly impact, here’s a closer look at the payoff of green office design.

The health benefits

There are numerous health benefits to working alongside plants. As early as the 1960’s, studies demonstrated plants ability to improve air quality. This is a significant factor given the air quality in London is very poor. Another study in Washington University found that plants can remove dust particles from the air. This removes particulate matter in the office environment by up to 20%. Research also proves that hospital patients recover quicker when they can view natural scenery through windows. Additionally, workplaces with biophilic elements see employees taking fewer sick days.

A further university study in 2015 discovered that a 90-minute exposure to nature lowered rumination levels (another word for negative self-thought, a leading factor of mental illness) among participants.

Boosted productivity

Research lead by the University of Exeter found introducing plants to a lean office environment resulted in a 15% increase in productivity. Just the presence of living plants has also been proven to boost creativity. There is a publication, The Impact of Green Buildings on Cognitive Function, that looks further into the relationship between green buildings and productivity.

Speaking to the Guardian in 2014, researcher Dr Chris Knight explained, ”if you are working in an environment where there’s something to get you psychologically engaged, you are happier and you work better.”

The environmental benefits

The buildings sector is responsible for around 39% of all energy related CO2 emissions and 36% of final energy use. So, sustainable building design is obviously a big focus. In fact, according to the United Nations Environment Programme, buildings account for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions. As well as 20% of all solid waste generation in developed countries.

Because buildings are responsible for such a large amount of the world’s emissions, seemingly small changes to building design and embracing green working can make a huge impact.

What you can do to make your offices greener

There are number of inexpensive, quick-wins that can improve the impact your office has on the environment. Simply turning heating on an hour later and off an hour earlier can reduce energy consumption as much as 6-8%. Other things such as energy efficient lighting, waste segregation and eliminating single use plastic all help too. And of course, investing in a planting scheme will enable your workspace to enjoy the benefits of green offices.

Bringing you the benefits of green offices

At Valley Provincial, we have been greening London’s offices for over 40 years. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, we can create a planting scheme that compliments your interior and brings the outdoors ‘in’ to your workspace. Speak to a green expert today to learn more.

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