How much office space is best for the environment?

A showerhead spraying water

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.

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