The government has been pushing for many environmental achievements, with the most ambitious being the net-zero plan, culminating in zero emissions by 2050.
A large part of this will involve refurbishing government estates to make them more sustainable and following the Net Zero and Sustainability Design Guide for the construction of new properties.
But how can this also impact private workplaces across the country? And what individual measures will be put in place to have the intended effect?
Key Trends for Workplace Sustainability
As sustainability in the workplace gains momentum, some key trends are emerging. Most include using technology to drive forward maximum efficiency in buildings and greater visibility over emissions.
Smart technologies, such as smart meters, are an innovative way to create optimal environmental efficiency in properties, helping landlords reach Energy Performance Certificate Targets. Smart meters can regulate their own energy consumption, limiting output based on performance, whether it’s cooling or heating technologies.
Government estates will use smart technologies throughout their buildings as standard, creating multiple sub-benefits such as reduced maintenance and, in some cases, cost-savings too.
The government scheme for smart meters incentivises private properties to follow suit, making everybody more aware and accountable for their energy consumption by increasing visibility and accessibility. For example, some smart technologies can be controlled by personal devices or automated to disable at a certain temperature or time.
Solar panels have long been known for their environmental benefits, but in recent years, the adoption of solar panelling has been accelerated with more available options on the market.
Notably, the construction of new government estates will need to consider this since the position and architecture of buildings matter when you want to get the most out of solar panels.
Again, solar energy is something that the UK government has incentivised, encouraging homeowners to take advantage of grants to green their homes. This is paired with other activities such as double glazing and draught-proofing.
Government estates can benefit the most when sustainability is a priority from the offset. During construction, crucial decisions can be made, such as using recyclable materials and installing sufficient insulation.
That’s why a large proportion of government estate planning has to do with designing new buildings with a sustainability-focused guide detailing best practices. You can also read our blog on net-zero estates for the public sector here.
Translating Net-Zero Government Estates to Private Workplaces
Sustainability in the workplace is a broader concept than just public buildings. In an ideal world, all workplaces would embrace sustainable principles, thinking about waste and emissions on every level.
This can be as small as driving a zero-waste philosophy — for example, Intel recycles 75% of its waste — or increasing digital documentation. However, private workplaces can also tackle greater challenges, using government estates as inspiration.
Private workplaces can use plenty of resources, such as those from WWF. Yet, all strategies outlined above can also be applied in a private workplace environment.
Sustainability in the workplace can be achieved by adopting smart technologies, installing solar panels and even sustainable construction on the furthest end of the sustainability spectrum.
So, the government can improve workplace sustainability by taking control of government-owned buildings first, but by also inspiring private organisations to mirror their actions, creating more net-zero workplaces across the country and pushing sustainability in the workplace to the top of the pile.