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Published date: 2019/12


​The role of building and facilities managers has evolved considerably in the last decade, with a new laser focus on creating sustainable practices and reducing the environmental impact of buildings and workspaces. 

New commercial buildings across the world are being developed specifically with the environment in mind. These include: 

  • Etsy, New York.

  • Bloomberg, London

  • Deloitte, Amsterdam

If you don’t have a £multi-million budget, what can you do to reduce your carbon footprint and create a more sustainable workplace? Here are our tips on how to go green without the need to raze your building to the ground and start again. 

Get Everyone Involved

The most important element of creating a greener workplace is getting buy-in from the wider team. While it’s great to have a team or committee dedicated to making a change, progress is unlikely to happen without the support of all workers, stakeholders and customers. In fact, anyone that your sustainable initiatives will affect must sit at the heart of your practices. 

This could include workshops on becoming greener or communicating to customers why processes might be changing. One of the most effective ways to gain support is to explain the long-term effects and benefits of greener initiatives on the environment. Engaged people will fully understand that financial, environmental and social issues are connected and are confident the business is addressing all three. 

Light Bulbs 

Sounds simple, but one of the quickest and most effective environmental hacks is replacing standard incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or LED bulbs where possible. Why? They use 75 per cent less energy than standard light bulbs while delivering the same light output. So a quick light bulb audit can save on costs and reduce energy consumption in the workplace.

Automatic lights

Although this requires a small financial outlay, installing automatic lights can pay off in the long-run. Now commonplace in commercial buildings, these lights switch off automatically when a room is not in use, meaning less wasted energy and lower energy bills. 

Green Commuting

Companies are increasingly providing bicycle storage facilities to encourage workers to ditch the car in favour of cycling to work. The environmental benefits are vast, including cutting energy use, carbon emissions and the frustrations of daily traffic jams. Some businesses are taking it a step further by providing shower facilities for cyclists and runners as well as finance options for bicycles. If cycling is a step too far for your staff, then carpooling could be an effective alternative, cutting emissions, reducing fuel consumption and alleviating parking issues. 

Printing and Paper

As workplaces become more digital, printing is more of an indulgence than a necessity. Using faded ink, printing on both sides of the paper and utilising recycled paper where possible can dramatically reduce energy and paper consumption. We’re increasingly seeing businesses committed to going completely paperless by providing staff with tablets and collaborative digital solutions that eliminate the need for print-outs. 


Download our look ahead to what 2020 will bring to the Built Environment and Facilities Management industries...