People spend 90 percent of their time indoors. And undeniably, out of the overall time spent indoors, most of it is at work. To provide a comfortable atmosphere at work, balancing the right amount of light, power, ventilation, and cooling is crucial. And due to this, large quantities of fossil fuels are plundered, which then release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Sadly, the building sector accounts for one-third of carbon emissions, which is even more than that from the transportation and industrialization sector. It is this realization that has forced some of the forward-thinking companies into utilizing green and sustainable technologies to curb carbon pollution. In fact, tech giants like Amazon and Google have come up with this new concept of outdoor working.
The Spheres building is an extension of Amazon's headquarters in Seattle, exposing employees to nature and addressing the increasing carbon footprint problem. As an outdoor workspace will require a negligible focus on power and ventilation, such a space lends a helping hand when trying to shrink carbon emissions.
Outdoor workspaces for a sustainable tomorrow
Since 2010, building-related greenhouse emissions are seen to be rising by 1 percent every year. The Global Status Report of 2017 states that more than 4 million people die due to air pollution. Therefore, the need to follow a sustainable trajectory has now become more crucial than ever. While several measures and policies are adopted by countries to deploy solutions that result in lower CO2 emissions, outdoor workplaces can be one of the most effective solutions for combating the carbon emission issue.
The power of outdoor workspaces is unparalleled, indeed! Employees work in a refreshing environment. This helps them complete their work not just on time but also enjoy their time at work. Let’s take a closer look at how outdoor workplaces contribute towards the making of a ‘better planet’:
● Off-grid workplaces - Off-grid workplaces will be independent of power utilities and will rely solely on solar energy for power generation and output. The panels installed in an outdoor workplace structure can trap the solar energy and store it in batteries. The absorbed solar energy can then be used as a source for generating power. Outdoor off-grid workplaces with solar power plants can prove highly efficient in providing free electricity solutions to its employees. Powering outdoor workspaces without remote power grids will drastically cut down energy transmission costs too.
● Natural light - While offering employees a healthy work environment, helping businesses make fatter profits, outdoor workspaces, with their natural light, help reduce carbon footprint as lighting alone accounts for 17 percent of CO2 emissions. Utilizing daylight minimizes peak energy demands, which leads to reduced reliance on electricity and lower power consumption. In scenarios where the daylight is inadequately available, solar power plants installed on the rooftop of a workplace can light up LEDs and offer outdoor employee desks enough light to work comfortably even during night shifts. Outdoor workspaces and natural lighting can boom workforce productivity while weaning them off fossil fuel consumption.
● Ventilation - Providing employees an acceptable and a continuous supply of fresh air in an indoor corporate setup is important to keep them focused and productive. However, in the pursuit of maintaining a fresh supply of air at all times, fossil fuels are consumed, emitting large quantities of greenhouse gases. On the other hand, dragging the workplace outdoors can prevent this problem. Outdoor workspaces require minimal attention to be paid to ventilation details. Working in a natural surrounding will provide a continuous supply of fresh air to employees. This indicates that with less building infrastructure, organizations can provide good air quality to employees, thereby saving construction costs and also cutting off CO2 emissions.
With similar thoughts, a Tokyo-based company, Kokuyo, designed an outdoor rooftop garden office, allowing their employees to spend one-third of their time outdoors. By incorporating a biophilic design, the office lowered its power consumption by 28 percent. Outdoor workplace extends beyond the boundaries of the old-fashioned corporate setup, with benefits that imply to employees as well as the environment. Now that’s what sustainability is all about. And it should not be a surprise that outdoor workplaces are the winning recipe to achieve sustainable development.