Passive technology can also have a massive impact on indoor environmental quality, or IEQ. Through early-stage design and architectural interventions, rather than later-stage engineering interventions, workplace interiors can be made more sustainable and amenable for their occupants. For example, building size, height and orientation, and exposure to sunlight and prevailing winds, can help to enhance internal light levels, ventilation and thermal comfort. Crucially, passive strategies also reduce the maintenance, cost and energy involved in major heating, cooling and lighting systems.
Materiality is another area where we believe businesses have an opportunity to up their game. Looking at developments in other sectors, the ‘bio-based materials boom’ could prove instructive for companies wanting to enhance their office ESG credentials. Bio-based materials, made from natural sources like seaweed and mushrooms, are emerging as viable biodegradable alternatives to plastics. Pioneered by companies like Notpla, B’ZEOS and Smartfiber, these materials are helping consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and fashion houses set ambitious environmental targets. And if mushroom-based leather can be used to create handbags (MycoWorks) then the opportunity to incorporate this, and other sustainable materials, into commercial furniture looks like a real option.