10th Nov 2021

6 sustainable office design trends that our team love!

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In light of the ongoing COP26 conference taking place in Glasgow, we asked our team to recommend their favourite sustainable office design trends, and here’s what we came up with!

 

Natural materials

It’s a sad fact, but the vast majority of office furniture on the market today is made from plastic and/or synthetic materials. However, in recent years there has been a huge push towards the use of natural, organic materials in office furniture and furnishings. One such example is Frovi’s Grow Cork Stool which is made from sustainably sourced, fully recyclable cork. Not only is it sustainable, it’s also super stylish!

Another example to highlight is Forbo’s Marmoleum, an amazing Linoleum flooring made from 97% raw, natural materials and industry by-products. Marmoleum is also carbon-neutral from cradle-to-gate, as Forbo utilise green energy in their production factories!

 

Carbon Negative products

Going one step further than carbon-neutral, a small, but increasing number of companies are launching incredible, carbon-negative products.

This means that they either:

    • Actually remove carbon from the atmosphere during creation.
    • Offset the carbon produced through recapturing/reducing their overall carbon output to outweigh the carbon generated during production.

Interface’s Embodied Beauty carpets are all carbon-neutral, but a small selection are actually carbon-negative from cradle-to-gate, as they use materials that capture carbon from the atmosphere during the production process. Amazing stuff!

 

Recycled content

Another trend that we’re happy to see is the growing use of recycled, and recyclable materials in office furniture. A great example of this is the Reece modular system from Sixteen3. The seating solution uses over 83% recycled materials by weight and is 100% recyclable at end-of-life. Not to mention, the modular design means it can be repurposed to meet various needs and requirements.

Another example is the Think office chair from Steelcase, which is made from 28% recycled materials and is 95% recyclable at end-of-life.

 

Take-Back Programmes

In an effort to reduce their carbon footprints, many companies have started to embrace a circular economy approach through ‘take-back programmes. These programmes allow customers to return products and/or materials to the production company to be recycled. Desso, for example, is striving to reach a ‘closed loop’ production process by recycling post-consumer carpet to produce new flooring.

 

Reduced Packaging

Another welcome trend over recent years has been companies aiming to minimise the footprint of their packaging. Chairs can be delivered without backs attached, so they go in a smaller box, while companies such as Snug ship ‘Sofas in a box’ for ease of stacking in warehouses and shipping trucks. Both processes mean that more stock can be put on one shipment, reducing carbon emissions and shipping costs.

 

Reuse, Repurpose, recycle

One of our favourite things to do when assessing an office fit out is to weigh up which items can be reused in the new build. For example, when renewing an office carpet on a raised access platform, many people will throw out the old tiles in favour of new ones, when they can often be replaced.

If you can’t reuse an item, many pieces of furniture can be reused or rehomed. For example, we donate unwanted chairs, desks, computers and cabinets to charities to give them a second lease of life and prevent them heading to the landfill.

If all else fails, we break down and recycle furniture as much as possible. These days, most products will come with recycling instructions, breaking down what can and can’t be recycled. However, it’s always best to speak to your local council, as recent innovations in technology mean the guidelines are often changing.

 

If you’d like to learn more about sustainable office design trends, check out our blog on carrying out an eco-friendly office refresh. Or, If you’re looking to transform your workplace into a more sustainable, efficient and agile environment, get in touch with us today.

Author:

Chloe Sproston

Creative and Commercial Director