How much office space is best for the environment?

We’re proud of the many eco-friendly features of our serviced offices in London and Manchester, from facilities that make it easier for you to cycle to work or arrive by public transport, to meeting rooms for hire that reduce the amount of space left standing empty on any given day.

But a newly published study sheds light on how office buildings can work alongside homes and shops to provide a balanced, eco-friendly mix.

Researchers from the University of Calgary have worked out how much office space is best for the environment in mixed-use neighbourhoods.

They looked at how the proportions of residential, commercial and office space in a particular area can have an impact on its total greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage.

The findings are published in the December 2019 issue of the journal Energy and Buildings and the research paper has been made available online ahead of publication.

In their study, the researchers aimed to optimise energy performance and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by considering factors like building type, density and floor area.

The right balance of commercial and offices in residential areas

The study concluded that commercial buildings – including retail units, supermarkets and offices – should account for 22-32% of the total built land area.

The remainder should be residential, the researchers said, including a roughly even split between detached homes and attached homes such as apartments and townhouses.

Within the commercial space, they called for a split of 6-9% supermarkets, 18-45% retail units, and 46-75% office buildings.

Applying that to the 22-32% range already mentioned, that means for optimal energy performance and greenhouse gas emissions, offices should account for not less than a tenth of built area, and up to around a quarter.

The researchers attempted to take into account seasonal average hourly load in order to come up with a single optimal scenario.

“Optimising the hourly energy load profile, a scenario combining commercial land area of 25% with equal composition of office and retail buildings, to residential area consisting of equal proportion of single detached and townhouses can be selected,” they concluded.

Environmentally friendly serviced offices

Serviced offices are great news for the environment, as they help to reduce the amount of floor space that goes to waste, allowing many small and growing businesses to occupy the same premises.

This is naturally more resource efficient, and we take this further by using devices to reduce water consumption, automatically turn off lights when they are not needed, and provide recycling facilities to our tenants.

We encourage you to arrive via public transport, with easy links to our serviced offices in London and Manchester, or cycle to work and shower in our on-site washrooms if you need to freshen up.

Together, all of these features and facilities add up to resource efficient, energy efficient serviced offices that still meet and exceed the expectations of our tenants.

In this way we are able to do our bit to minimise our impact on the environment alongside the retail and residential buildings around us in the vibrant mixed-use communities we serve.

Office workers want privacy, quiet and natural views

Recently published research reveals that office workers want improved privacy, peace and quiet, and access to natural views and daylight – all of which you can find in abundance in our serviced office space.

The research was carried out as part of a thesis by Cornell University Master of Science Student Teresa Mary Bevacqua and made available via the university’s website.

She looked at a variety of factors that can influence an employee’s satisfaction with their workplace, specifically in an office environment and including things like privacy, noise levels, natural daylight and views of the outside world.

Her research revealed that office workers appreciate having a level of control over their environment, including the option of working in a private setting without distracting noise, and with the ability to take in natural views and daylight.

How to help office workers remember

An interesting theme in Ms Bevacqua’s literature review is that of memory. She found numerous references to office workers’ memory in previous studies of workplace variables.

For example, she found that noisy workplaces, particularly when associated with low motivation and employee exhaustion, can lead to poorer recollection.

In contrast, warm lighting conditions – where light is less bluish and more yellowish – can boost long-term recall and recognition.

These surprising conclusions from previous studies seem to suggest that a quiet office environment with warm lighting or natural daylight can actually lead to office workers having a better memory for information learned while at work.

What’s a good view?

If you’re going to have natural daylight streaming in from the windows, the next question is what will you see when you look outside?

Ms Bevacqua noted “an abundance of health benefits” that arise from having access to views of nature from inside the workplace, such as less impact from headaches and reduced discomfort relating to issues of concentration.

Some of the natural views considered “more restorative than others” include flowers and foliage, along with calm or slowly moving water, something you’ll find outside the windows of our serviced offices in Manchester and London alike.

Her research even found one individual who struggled to see their work because their chair blocked the light – a good example of how artificial light can be unfit for purpose.

Putting you in control

We are proud to provide serviced office space that puts you in control of many different factors in how you use your work space.

Our serviced offices have large windows to let in as much natural light as possible, with views out across the water of either Salford Quays for our serviced offices in Manchester, or the River Thames for our serviced offices in London.

You get your own offices, so you can make your space as quiet or as bustling as you wish, with the option to book meeting rooms for extra privacy and peace when you need it.

All of this adds up to a workplace that you can enjoy, delivering on all of the many and varied benefits mentioned above.