Page 28

evolutionSummer2015

SUSTAINABILITY 26 as environmentally-friendly. In fact, in certain cases, some products from natural derivatives can actually have a higher environmental impact than their synthetic counterparts. Don’t waste efforts Having invested time in researching and selecting the right products and installation equipment, any savings made to the overall environmental footprint could be negated unless what will happen on site once construction begins is considered. For example, waste management is a critical area that can often be overlooked, but in reality, without a sustainable waste management strategy can often be one of the biggest culprits in contributing to the carbon footprint of a project. Part of the solution is working with a supplier who will provide support in offering a high-value end-of-life solution, such as closed-loop recycling or reuse. This is much better than incineration or landfill, which is not only a waste of valuable resources, but could also have a devastating effect on the environment. The long game Management of the building in-use is critical in determining genuine sustainability. This means providing guidance on environmental good practice for those involved in commissioning, handover and A growing body of research demonstrates that building design has a significant impact on workers’ productivity. For example, the adoption of biophilic design elements (design inspired by an instinctive love of nature), have been proven to reduce stress and absenteeism, and improve the health and well-being of users. Well-designed, sustainable interiors help ensure happy, healthy and productive occupants, which is crucial at the design phase. A recent study was carried out of 7600 office workers from around the world, which examined the impact of the physical office environment on employee well-being. It concluded office design was so important to workers that a one-third (33 per cent) of global respondents stated it would unequivocally affect their decision whether or not to work somewhere. The study also revealed that employees who work in environments with natural elements report a 15 per cent higher level of well-being, are six per cent more productive and 15 per cent more creative overall. This is echoed by a 2014 meta study by the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) with the World Green Building Council (WGBC), which found evidence that office design significantly affects the health, well-being and productivity of staff. The study reports that daylight is the single most important factor in the occupants’ perception of well-being. Increasingly, many of these factors are considered in assessment schemes, in clients’ briefs and by designers. So it is important for the contractor to be aware of these expectations. Assessment methodologies Environmental assessment schemes can help ensure good practice, benchmark performance across a portfolio, and may increase the value of the asset. Recognised environmental assessment methods such as BREEAM, LEED and SKA ratings provide clear recommendations and good practice guidance covering all aspects of the project from energy efficiency through to pollution prevention and waste management. However, it is important not to look for quick ‘labels’, as the jargon used can be confusing and sometimes misleading to the customer. For example, contractors should be wary of the commonly-used term ‘recyclable’. Many materials can ‘technically’ be recycled, but it is not economically viable to do so. Also, how recyclable is the product – a small part of it, or each of its raw materials? How easy is it to separate each part? Does the producer offer to recycle the product in every country which it operates in? The word ‘natural’ is another common phrase that has the potential to be misleading – natural is not the same Completed fit-out installation, Fenella House, courtesy of Interfaceh On site waste holding zone, courtesy of Overbury


evolutionSummer2015
To see the actual publication please follow the link above