Sustainable Materials and Workplace Design

Andrew Sadler, Sales Director of CTD Architectural Tiles discusses the shift towards sustainability, whilst drawing on the benefits of using recycled content within commercial projects for designers, specifiers and architects. 

There has been a noticeable shift over the past few years towards becoming more sustainable. Driven by climate change and our innate moral conscience to look after the planet better, many more people are now thinking carefully about the impact certain actions will have on our environment. 

Now more than ever, this new way of thinking has started to impact commercial design as business owners, developers and specifiers are all looking at new ways to design commercial spaces that align with eco-credentials and promote wellbeing whilst also remaining functional.

A desire for a circular economy is key to this approach, with many businesses looking at how they can reduce waste and turn existing materials into something new. But what makes a sustainable office? Does it need to be lean, clean and green? Of course not, in order to design and implement an eco-conscious office space, there are a few small factors that need to be considered.

How we specify and choose our materials is important within any design scheme – whether it’s fit for purpose and also how visually pleasing the product is will still have a huge sway on whether it’s chosen, but whether it can be recycled and what it is made from now has equal footing.

Many companies, those working with timber in particular, will display recognisable legislation to demonstrate how their products meet certain certifications. Reclaimed planks are often used to give the raw materials a new lease of life and to add depth or character to the space; they can also withstand heavy footfall and therefore work well in office spaces with a large workforce. 

However, it’s not just raw materials that can add sustainable credentials to a space, the increase in demand for properties made of recycled content has also grown. By opting to use products made from recycled content, businesses are contributing to a circular economy by re-purposing and reusing something that already exists; which is much less wasteful.

Tiles are an ideal example of a value-adding component for office environments. With an array of recycled content tiles on offer, each with cradle-to-cradle certification, this versatile surface covering has transparent green credentials and is an ideal choice for specification managers looking for something eco-conscious, design-led and practical.

Externally, factors such as shading also need to be evaluated in order to remain sustainable. By adding external shading to an office building or workplace you can reduce energy consumption as there will be fewer cooling requirements – this also works efficiently in summer to reduce solar gain and reduce energy bills.

As innovations in sustainable product development evolve, so too will our ability to design eco-conscious workspaces. With sustainability now firmly at the heart of many project specifications, it will be interesting to see how the design industry adapts.