With global warming becoming a daily reality, the need to minimize our environmental impact has gained more urgency. That includes reimagining our workplaces, making them more eco-friendly in the process.
Did you know that coworking spaces can help us fight climate change? By reducing our reliance on cars, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the same way, coworking spaces provide an opportunity for people to work together and share resources, which reduces the need for everyone to commute separately. Coworking is also a great way to promote sustainable practices and reduce energy consumption.
So how exactly can coworking spaces help us fight climate change? Let’s examine that closely!
Environmental Benefits of Coworking Spaces
In addition to the social and financial benefits of coworking, it also provides a host of environmental benefits. Some of the most thoroughly studied advantages include the following.
Efficient Energy Consumption
When multiple organizations share the same workplace, they can reduce the total energy consumed for their day-to-day activities. Why use 3 HVAC units in separate offices when one will do? According to the EPA, three or more companies operating through a coworking space reduce their energy consumption by at least 30%. The number is close to 60% for companies that share the same manufacturing facilities.
It is not just about the energy used for work. Recreational areas with coffee machines and LED TVs are also made more energy-efficient. Since most coworking hubs are open and spacious, they need fewer lights to illuminate the workstations. This also means that coworking is better than working from home, in terms of saving energy consumption.
Less Material Usage
Coworking spaces have less material usage than conventional office spaces. Simply removing the cubicle design in favor of a minimalistic common-desk approach means less metal and wood for construction. This arrangement also makes it easier to line the electrical system more efficiently, reducing the need for more wiring and electrical sockets.
Professionals from various organizations working in separate shifts will have their recess at different times. That means you can do away with plastic containers and use more glass and ceramicware for the lunch area. Those dishes, along with the cutlery, can be washed and dried before the next shift arrives.
Minimized Waste Generation
The efficient utilization of materials translates to lower waste generation. Conventional office spaces have several sources of waste, from stationery to replacement electronics. Broken plastic containers and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are a concerning by-product of such locations, often making their way towards large dumping grounds. Even the formal suits that require dry cleaning every week contribute to resource wastage, as you can use that water for more essential purposes.
In contrast to all that, coworking spaces produce lower waste. There are fewer garbage bins due to the better distribution of employees over an ample space. Since most of the work involves online communication, there is less paper and stationery consumption. You can retrofit the area with fewer, long-lasting lighting systems that last for years without replacements. Moreover, a casual dress code means doing the laundry becomes a less energy and water-intensive activity.
When you have large open workplaces, it is easier for the architects to introduce transparent construction materials into the walls and roof. It brings more natural light into the workplace, which improves the mental health of all employees.
Sure, artificial lighting is necessary for a productive day, yet it can put a lot of undue strain on the eyes, especially for those who work 9-hour shifts in a single building. The natural light brings a semblance of the outdoors and presents a friendlier, more comfortable environment than enclosed spaces.
Space for Plants and Gardens
An abundance of natural light further increases the possibility of having more plants within the workplaces. A touch of greenery can draw enormous benefits for the productivity of all employees who spend most of their day in one place. Several studies have shown that exposure to natural elements can decrease negative thoughts and help relieve stress more effectively.
Furthermore, introducing plants or entire gardens helps regulate the cleanliness of the atmosphere. It reduces dust and CO2 levels by 30% and helps maintain the humidity between 30 and 60 percent, which is the most comfortable range for humans. A garden within the office premises can make for a decent meeting place for business meetings and fun activities alike.
Promoting Public Transport
Private transportation is one of the key contributors to air pollution. According to the CO2 Census, more than 28% of all air pollution comes from automobiles. So, the fewer wheels we have on the road, the better chance we have against climate change.
Coworking spaces can undoubtedly help the situation. As you have people from different companies visiting the same premises, they can share the same mode of transportation by carpooling. Even better, they can ditch the car altogether and take public transport like a bus or metro to their destination. Most coworking spaces are built close to such amenities instead of traditional office spaces that are often located in car-reliant suburban areas.
Easy to Incorporate Alternative Energy
With how inclusive and efficient coworking spaces are, it is convenient for them to adopt both experimental and tested renewable energy sources. As the energy requirement is low, it serves as the perfect test environment for innovative ways to supply energy to office spaces. Researchers can even monitor various aspects, like the effects of sound levels within the workplace on the employee’s mental health.
The efficient use of space is an advantage, too. Many renewable energy sources, like solar panels and hydroelectric turbines, often occupy large areas to supply reasonable amounts of energy. That is easier to implement in coworking spaces as they have plenty of space on the roof to put up solar panels and basement storage for clean hydrogen fuel cells.
Considering the impact of climate change on the world, the call for more sustainable workplaces is not only important but also necessary. Many corporations that want to minimize their environmental impact and want to welcome their employees back to the office must reconsider the design of their workplaces. As people are more used to working from home, a similarly friendly and stress-free atmosphere can help maintain their productivity.
Coworking spaces have several ecological benefits that can help fight climate change. We hope this piece grants you new insights into the concept. Countries like the U.S. and Norway are already leading the charge with sustainable coworking spaces. Let us hope that it finds its way to the rest of the world soon.