Helpful Guides

Low Carbon Fit Out Checklist

By wizu | 30 January 2023

There comes a time in the life cycle of every office that it becomes necessary to renovate or do a complete fit out of the space. It’s also possible that a fit-out may be done to accommodate a new tenant or new owner. There are many reasons for a fit-out.

Today, however, it’s imperative that the project is a low-carbon fit-out. Climate change is real, and it’s necessary to do everything possible to lower carbon emissions. Each business needs to do its part in reducing its carbon footprint and becoming more sustainable. This is where a low-carbon fit-out comes into play.

If you’re unsure what a low-carbon fit-out is or where to start such a project, read on. We’ve gathered information about how your company can start a low-carbon fit-out. This guide is an overview of the process to help you learn where to start.


What is a Low-Carbon Fit-Out?

A Low-carbon fit-out is an interior development of a building that’s low carbon in design, operation, and lifecycle. The fit-out is concerned with two types of carbon output: embodied carbon and operational carbon.

Operational carbon comes from carbon emitted from operating a building. The usual producers of operational carbon include lighting, ventilation, heating & cooling systems, and more. There has been a huge movement to reduce operational carbon in recent years.

The result has been the development of smart lighting and temperature systems, which have helped build managers keep track of usage depending on the building’s occupancy. The future looks bright with further developments in the reduction of operational carbon.

Embodied carbon is all carbon dioxide emitted by producing materials. For instance, consider the embodied carbon in marble fixtures. The embodied carbon includes the energy needed to mine the marble, transport the raw materials, emissions from manufacturing the marble, and the emissions from transporting the marble to the building. In addition, embodied carbon, in this example, also includes how the marble will be recycled or disposed of at the end of its lifecycle.

When you compare operational carbon to embodied carbon, which do you believe is more important? Most people would choose operational carbon; however, the answer is embodied carbon. More emissions are used in producing products than in a building (in most cases) in operation.

In a low-carbon fit-out, both operational and embodied carbon must be considered.


What are the Benefits of a Low-Carbon Workplace?

The main benefit of doing a low-carbon fit-out is to stop or slow climate change. However, there are some other benefits that also come with a project of this nature, including:


Increase in Revenue

A business that has a low-carbon workplace differentiates itself in the market. It takes on a leadership role in climate change and encourages employees to create new, low-carbon products and services that are in high demand from customers.


Reduce Costs

A low-carbon business dedicates itself to cutting emissions in all categories, including the reduction of energy usage and business travel. Making these changes can lead to a reduction in company costs.


Engage Customers & Stakeholders

Another benefit a company can experience is to engage customers and stakeholders looking for businesses that share their concerns about the planet. By demonstrating that it is taking steps to reduce carbon emissions, the company draws more attention from investors and customers.

These are only a few of the many benefits that go with a low-carbon business. But how do you start a low-carbon fit-out project?


Low-Carbon Fit-Out Checklist

Before you begin the project, define your project’s objectives:

  • Review your company’s carbon targets and assess how the project can contribute to reducing carbon emissions.
  • Decide on the carbon targets you want to achieve.
  • Consider whether the company needs a full fit-out or whether the plans can be scaled down a bit to reduce embodied carbon.
  • Map out the expectations of investors, customers, and staff.
  • Set embodied carbon & operational carbon budgets.
  • Create a clear project brief that includes the company’s carbon targets and define responsibilities to achieve these targets.


How to Make Your Office Fit-Out Low-Carbon

Once the company’s low-carbon fit-out objectives have been created, it’s time to consider how to reduce carbon in the project. Here are some ideas to consider for your low-carbon fit-out.


1. Choose UK Suppliers, Manufacturers, & Contractors

One of the first places to start is by using UK manufacturers and suppliers. The contractors are located in the country, reducing the carbon emissions from travelling.

It’s also much easier to furnish and design your office space with products sourced from the UK. There’s no need to source items or materials from overseas, again cutting emissions.


2. Use Eco-friendly Materials and Fabrics

Choose materials and fabrics that are ethically sourced, responsibly manufactured, and recycled whenever possible. In addition, it’s best to choose natural and organic products made from sustainable wood, organic cotton, linen, and more.

Ensure products can be reused or their parts reused to reduce waste at the end of their lifecycle.

And remember, the goal is also to reduce embodied emissions. Search for materials that can be reused, recycled, or processed at the end of their lifecycle.


3. Let in the Light

Another way to lower carbon emissions in the fit-out is to allow as much natural light into the office as possible. This means less reliance on electric lighting, reduced utility bills, and reduced carbon emissions.

There are several ways to bring more natural light into the workspace, including the following:

  • Placing the most high-traffic and highly populated work settings near natural light sources.
  • Incorporating floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights.
  • Ensure natural light sources are not blocked by anything, such as storage units or partitions.
  • Adding an outdoor workspace if this is a viable option in your environment.


Summing It Up

It may seem like developing a low-carbon fit-out is a challenging process; however, choosing the right contractors, architects, and interior designers make the process somewhat easier. Be sure to hire professionals who have experience and knowledge of low-carbon fit-outs.

These are the professionals who can make the entire low-carbon fit-out easier and ensure your company reduces its carbon emissions correctly and effectively.

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