The importance of a green workplace
Although nearly half of people admit to being greener at home than they are at work, more and more British workers realise the importance of green habits according to research found by Instant Offices. Supporting studies shows cities with greener designs could save the UK economy an estimated £15.3bn by the year 2050.
Employers are looking for ways to incorporate more eco-friendliness into the office, and the green trend is growing steadily. ‘Going green’ has the potential to positively impact the environment, the resources, and employee wellbeing. However, with the Government pressures to reach a net-zero environment by 2050, Instant Offices investigates what more can be done in the UK, starting with the workplace.
Benefits of greener habits for business
A UK Green Building Council report explored the benefits for businesses taking steps towards becoming greener:
- Businesses that are actively managing their carbon emissions enjoy 18% higher return on investment than companies that are not doing so.
- Businesses that take proactive steps to promote employee wellness can improve their financial performance by up to 10% and reduce sick days by 27%.
- Increasing natural spaces can increase property and land values by as much as 25%.
The world’s greenest cities at work
With Brits making the initiative to create an eco-friendly environment in the workplace, Instant Offices delves into the five of the greenest cities in the world, and what key takeaways the UK cities can learn from:
- Aiming to become the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025.
- Green roofing has been integrated into urban developments since 2010.
- All public transport to shift from diesel to electric engines by the end of 2019.
- The municipality of Copenhagen aims to plant 10,0000 trees by the end of 2025.
- One of the lowest-emission cities in North America.
- Ecological footprint has been reduced by 20% since 2006.
- Aiming to become the world’s greenest city by 2020, through the work of the Green City Action Team (GCAT).
- Aims to get 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050.
- The first American city to ban the sale of plastic shopping bags and plastic water bottles.
- Currently diverting 80% of waste away from landfill, with plans to increase this to 100% by 2020.
- More than half the city’s buses and light rails are zero-emission.
- Aiming to go waste-free by the end of 2020.
- Approximately 47% green cover.
- Incorporates green roofs and gardens into architecture across the city.
- NEWater purification process meets up to 40% of water demand, with aims to meet 85% by 2060.
- Has mandated green buildings since 2008.
- Home to the world’s largest vertical garden.
- The first city to be named European Green Capital by the EU Commission (in 2010).
- 83% of hotels are eco-certified.
- The airport is entirely carbon neutral.
- Aims to be completely fossil fuel-free by 2050.
Green roofs and gardens: Introducing intensive green roof/gardens will keep its practical benefits such as reducing energy usage and costs while additionally serving as an attractive location providing an area for rest and relaxation, suitable for meetings and staff breaks.
Banning single-use plastic: The UK Government recently announced banning single-use plastics such as plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds in April 2020 to stem the flow of waste and promote the use of recyclable materials. One example is a Sheffield based company Intelligent Hand Dryers who have issued a ban on all single-use plastics from its offices, including disposable coffee cups with an inner plastic lining, water bottles and sandwich packets with plastic windows to encourage a green environment.
Use of renewable energy sources: Most renewable energy sources such as Solar panels produce little to no global warming emissions. Increasing the supply of renewable energy aims to replace carbon-intensive energy sources and significantly help reduce global warming emissions.
Net zero buildings: A zero-energy building, also known as a net-zero building, is one with zero net energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy it uses annually is the same as the amount of renewable energy created on the site. In London, all new buildings are set to be net zero carbon by 2030, as the UK strives to meet targets set by the Paris Climate Agreement.
This is all part of a larger drive to help the UK to reach a ‘net-zero’ climate goal by 2050, and businesses can help to lead the way by instituting greener practices that is bound to attract millennial and Gen Z workers.