Environmental responsibility is a large part of CSR efforts, and many employees welcome the opportunity to contribute positively to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Sustainable workplace solutions such as maximising natural light, using environmentally friendly products and materials, and providing comprehensive recycling facilitates, help to improve the workplace environment.
There are also solutions that have a positive impact on the bottom line too, saving organisations money that makes them more sustainable and drives efficiencies. Technology that helps energy saving is often marketed as just that – it reduces the amount of energy used and helps organisations meet carbon targets. However, energy saving also equates to cost savings.
The cost savings a business can obtain by implementing sustainable solutions are often hard to quantify and depend on the organisation, their premises, number of employees and other differentiating factors. However, these savings are not insignificant and when understood make a compelling case for installing solutions such as LED lighting and instant boiling water taps.
LED Lighting – Saving Money And Changing The Workplace
Earlier this year, Pets At Home revealed that a ‘game changing’ LED lighting project has reduced the company’s energy bills by 32%.
LED lighting is extremely energy efficient, consuming up to 90% less power than traditional incandescent bulbs. It also has a long lifespan; the average life for LED lighting is 50,000 hours compared to 1 -2,000 hours for a halogen bulb. Therefore, once LED lighting is installed, the cost of maintaining and replacing bulbs is much lower too.
However, as an interior design firm our interest in LED lighting is also aesthetic. LED lighting looks great, it offers better colour rendering index (CRI), better glare control and generally higher performance than alternatives, and it offers more flexibility for incorporating lighting into the design ethic of a workplace.
Lighting is not only functional; it can have a profound impact on employees’ mood, productivity levels and general wellbeing. LED lighting allows office design companies, like CBS, to create tailored lighting solutions for different areas of the office. We no longer need to all work under the glare of a fluorescent strip light! For example, modern office design concepts such as informal meeting areas, hot-desking areas, or creative brainstorming spaces, can all be lit according to their function and the people who use them.
Not only that, a well designed LED lighting plan offers more control allowing employees to turn on or off lights when needed – without impacting on other members of staff – and saving money. Controls can also be integrated with other technology such as occupancy sensing and daylight sensors, ensuring that lights are not left on unnecessarily and delivering further cost savings to the business. Whenever we’re working on a project with a client, we often show them the results following a lighting design of their workplace, which shows the savings to be made, and highlights when the initial investment will be covered.
On Demand Instant Boiling Water Taps
Another area that consumes energy, and money, is in the staff kitchen or breakout area. Boiling water for tea or coffee using a kettle costs £0.42 per day for an organisation with 20-40 employees*. Providing bottled water for the same organisation costs £6.48 per day. CO2 emissions on average per day for running a kettle are 2.87 kg per day, and 44.23 kg for bottled water.
One of the problems with both these methods, that makes them unsustainable, is wastage. People generally boil more than necessary to make a hot drink – often filling the kettle even if they only require one or two cups.
Bottled water is even more of a minefield. It’s estimated that 3 litres of water are used to create just 1 litre of bottled water to drink. Plastic bottles present an environmental hazard with only PET bottles being recyclable, and many people throw away some of the contents of a bottle because it’s warmed up during the day.
The solution that we’ve installed in many of our customers’ office design projects is to replace the kettle and chiller with an instant boiling water tap. As the name suggests it delivers instant boiling water for hot drinks, consumes less energy, reduces wastage and saves money. They also can provide chilled or sparkling water too, having an even greater impact on carbon emissions, energy usage and cost savings.
If installed in an organisation with 20-40 employees, an instant boiling water tap could reduce carbon emissions for boiling water to 0.61 kg per day, and costs to £0.09 p/d. Using the chilled water function instead of bottled water reduces carbon emission to 0.13 kg p/d (from 44.23 kg) and costs to just £0.02 p/d from over £6!
These two sustainable solutions not only save money and contribute positively to CSR strategies, but they also help employees take responsibility for their environmental footprint too. Both solutions also tick our aesthetic sensibilities too. As discussed, LED lighting offers exciting options for making lighting an integral part of an office design. Instant boiling water taps, like the Billi system, incorporate style and functionality with space saving technology.
* To find out how much hot and cold drinks could be costing your organisation, and the environment, check out this Green Calculator.