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Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace

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Should a ‘work’ place be any different from the other spaces people inhabit? The relationship between individuals and their environment can be a crucial determinant of how they feel, perform and interact with others. So, designing spaces that inspire, energize and support the people who use them is a global imperative. People’s connection to nature – biophilia– is an emergent field that can help organisations meet that challenge.

The Infographic – Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace:

Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace

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Make Your Pledge With The UK Green Building Council

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climate pledges hashtag

The upcoming climate negotiations (COP21) in Paris this December could be a vital turning point in the global battle against #climate change.

The UK Green Building Council is catalysing private sector action to help ensure a positive outcome from COP21 and encourage greenhouse gas emissions reductions at the pace and scale required in the built environment.

A pledge is simply a commitment which demonstrates the ambition of your business to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment. What will you do>? Make your pledge here.

The #ClimatePledges video is at UK-GBC Climate Pledges.

What is COP21?

COP – or the Conference of Parties – is an annual meeting of the 195 participating countries in the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC). This year’s COP is the 21st meeting, hence COP21, and will take place in Paris, France, from November 31 to December 11.

It will seek to finalise a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the legally binding agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol had 192 signatory countries, and ended in 2012, while the second commitment period, which only had the support of 37 countries, expires in 2020.

It is hoped that a new treaty agreed in Paris will include all major polluters and begin in 2020. It will be made up of voluntary emissions reductions targets called ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ (or INDCs), pledged by each country, that will collectively constitute sufficient emissions reductions to keep global temperature increase within 2 degrees Celsius. To date, more than 100 countries have submitted INDCs.

Buildings Day will be part of the official COP21 negotiations proceedings, and the Buildings Day Alliance – which includes WorldGBC – will respond to the outcome of COP21 and help create the global momentum and action required to transform the building sector.

For more information on the #ClimatePledges campaign, contact john.alker@ukgbc.org.

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Eat apples – Green Apple Day of Service

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It is that time of year when again when the ‘Green Apple Day of Service’ (GADOS) is showing up in our calendars.

I don’t know where the name “Green Apple Day” comes from, but I must admit that I really like this symbolic dimension of the apple, especially for me, French citizen, it echoes even more as I always remember Jacques Chirac’s campaign for the French Presidency back in 1995, the apple became the symbol of his campaign : everybody was adopting the slogan “eat apples!”, it started as a joke, but it became huge, and it’s strongly acknowledged now that it helped him win the elections.

So are you ready to eat apples this year ?

The Green Apple Day movement is getting bigger and bigger :

GADOS 2014_Infographic

GADOS is a global partnership between the Green Building Councils and Interface which started in 2012 to raise the awareness on the subject of health and sustainability in schools. The idea behind the movement is to ‘put all children in schools where they have clean and healthy air to breathe, where energy and resources are conserved, and where they can be inspired to dream of a brighter future’. The aim for this year is again to gather as many Interface associates as possible around this global movement. The services can be provided to schools – from primary to university – and can be very diverse. There are as many projects as ideas!

It’s the third year in a row that we take part to this worldwide event as Interface EMEA and I’m pleased to share some early adopters feedback :

 

St Mary’s school, Northern Ireland, September 2013

“Our last presentation in St’ Marys went really well! We presented to 50 children and they were really, really interested as were the teachers, you could have heard a pin drop during the presentation. The age range of the children was 9 years to 11 years. They had never previously considered that fishing nets were discarded into the ocean and they were aghast at the fact that the discarded nets floated around in the sea killing animals. Their school is situated beside two fresh water lakes and they could really relate to the subject as there are a lot of local fishermen living and working in the area. We brought along some samples of yarn and some carpet tiles and the children really enjoyed seeing and feeling the texture of those.”  Orla Hoy, Health, Safety and Environmental Manager, Interface.

 

Veronica Kingsley, account manager at Interface, in a London school, september 2014

Veronica Kingsley, account manager at Interface, in a London school, september 2014

 

Jean-François Espinasse, Sales Director, Southern Europe, talking in a School in the region of Paris, France

Jean-François Espinasse talking in a School in the region of Paris, France, February 2015

“My wife works in our town public library and is in charge of hosting school children every month and makes them discover a new subject. Interested by Interface’s GADOS initiative, she offered me to spend two days with her and to tell six different classes/grades about the Net-Works story backed up with our videos, some nets, plastic bottles and a couple of carpet tiles and shade cards. The age range of the children was 8 years to 12 years. We delivered our story to approximately 120 kids. Conclusion: very inspiring but far more difficult than delivering the story to an end user or an architect because you can not hide behind words, you have to be genuine and simple. Definitely, I will engage in more sessions like this.”  Jean François Espinasse, Sales Director Southern Europe/Segmentation EMEA

This year, we propose a “common education project”, about waste/recycling/net-works that all Interface collaborators are encouraged to present in their kids’ schools ! But we also give the possibility to people to propose some free carpets to refurbish some library corners etc… Again, there are as many projects possible as ideas !

Take a look at http://greenapple.org/projects !

So will you join the movement ?

I will !

 

 

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What’s wrong with ISO 14001?

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ISO-noI’m all for standards, legislation and regulation but only the right kind, where real value is added to the communities they serve. The new ISO 14001:2015 standard falls woefully short.

This revision sets out the criteria for an environmental management system and can be certified to. It maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system.

So why am I not a big fan?

Reading the latest on this new version takes me back to the 90s when the norm was simply doing anything was something useful. Mainly because there was so little to guide us.

Today it’s not just about process, targets and legislation compliance. And ISO 14001 is such a low starting point. Companies who have not started on their sustainability journey should start by doing a Life Cycle Analysis. I wonder how many consultants are profiting from selling management systems instead of doing LCAs and offering strategic sustainability advice?

Dear consultants, please recycle yourselves and offer some proper added value. From natural capital, LCA, shift in services, to alternative raw materials – there are a huge number of useful products and services you can sell to companies.

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Designing Sustainability – #InterfaceSpeaks THE Hangout

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The industry has taken great strides towards the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by redesigning products that use and emit energy. However, businesses must also be embrace radical innovations that reduce the embodied carbon of their products.

With this in mind, Interface hosted the Google Hangout as captured above to discuss its recently published whitepaper, which was authored by Ramon Arratia, based on the need for businesses to significantly cut CO2 emissions in Europe by 2030.

In this video:

– Ramon Arratia, Director of Sustainability at Interface
– Dr Craig Jones, Director of Environmental Sustainability, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Carbon Footprinting at Circular Ecology
– Fritz Lietsch, Editor in Chief at Eco-World
– Cédric Borel, Managing Director at Institut Français pour la Performance du Bâtiment
– Richard Smokers, Principal Advisor Sustainable Transport and Logistics at TNO

The panel debate three key topics, outlined in the whitepaper;

– Money talks: Incentivise through regulation
– Create demand: The role of voluntary standards
– Make the magic happen: Measure and evaluate

Designing Sustainability: Embedded carbon as the magic metric

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The Embedded Carbon As Magic Metric

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Carbon in the product lifecycle

From November 30th to December 11th, 2015, will the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11) take place in Paris. COP21 will be a crucial conference, as it needs to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.The stakes are high: the aim is to reach, for the first time, a universal, legally binding agreement that will enable us to combat climate change effectively and boost the transition towards resilient, low-carbon societies and economies.

There are a few things we need to solve if we really want to tackle the problem of the carbon.
The industry has taken great strides towards the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by redesigning products that use and emit energy. However, businesses must also embrace radical innovation that reduce the embodied carbon of their products.
This whitepaper titled “Three steps to transforming the carbon impact of manufactured goods” shares some solutions for industries and states to take action.

You can download the pdf on the below link :

pdf-image Designing Sustainably

B4E Climate Summit in London – Wednesday 9-10th Sep

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B4E_Register_NowOn Wednesday I’ll be speaking at the The 5th B4E Climate Summit in London. Tickets are still available, just click on the image and if joining please come and say hello. The plan is to bring together more than 400 global leaders from business, government, media and NGOs to discuss the long-term outlook for energy efficiency, emerging technologies, financing and policy change. Delegates will produce recommendations for industry, governments and civil society to transform energy efficiency in buildings, mobility and manufacturing, to power global growth.

POWERING GLOBAL GROWTH: TRANSFORMATION IN ENERGY PRODUCTIVITY

Energy productivity aims to capture the total economic value created, such as the amount of GDP at a national level, from energy applied. Doubling energy productivity will allow countries and businesses around the world to achieve twice as much economic output per unit of energy used. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy productivity improvements could generate an additional $18 trillion in global GDP between 2012 and 2035. Increasing global energy productivity can also achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change. The 5th B4E Climate Summit in London brings together more than 300 delegates to discuss and agree on transformative approaches to increase energy productivity as a driver for economic growth and prosperity. The Summit will present a long-term outlook for energy productivity and explore the emerging technologies, finance solutions and policy changes that will be required to achieve lasting benefits for society and the environment. Over the course of the next two days, some of the world’s leading experts will outline a new path for powering global growth, with bold proposals for transformational change across buildings, transport and manufacturing.

Full agenda and speaker line up is here. Look forward to seeing you there.

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10th Sep – Join our Sustainability Google Hangout

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Carbon EmissionsSave the date – At 1pm (GMT) on the 10th September we’re hosting a Google Hangout to discuss how businesses can significantly cut their carbon emissions by 2030.  The exact details of how to join will be released here and via our Twitter account @Interface_UK  shortly. Do join us if you can.

The industry has taken great strides towards the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by redesigning products that use and emit energy. However, businesses must also be embrace radical innovations that reduce the embodied carbon of their products.

With this in mind, Interface is hosting a Google Hangout to discuss its recently published whitepaper, which was authored by Ramon Arratia, based on the need for businesses to significantly cut CO2 emissions in Europe by 2030.

Interface will be joined by industry experts, including:

* Ramon Arratia, Director of Sustainability at Interface

* Dr Craig Jones, Director of Environmental Sustainability, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Carbon Footprinting at Circular Ecology

* Fritz Lietsch, Editor in Chief at Eco-World

* Cédric Borel, Managing Director at Institut Français pour la Performance du Bâtiment

* Richard Smokers, Principal Advisor Sustainable Transport and Logistics at TNO

The panel will debate three key topics, outlined in the whitepaper;

* Money talks: Incentivise through regulation

* Create demand: The role of voluntary standards

* Make the magic happen: Measure and evaluate

To keep up-to-date with this Google Hangout and future events, visit the Interface Twitter channel @Interface_UK 

About Interface

Interface is the world’s largest global manufacturer of commercial carpet tiles. Its flooring products combine beauty and innovation with functionality and environmental credentials to help customers bring their design vision to life.

Interface was one of the first companies to publicly commit to sustainability, when it made a pledge in the mid-nineties to eliminate its impact on the environment by 2020. Known as Mission Zero, it influences every aspect of the business and inspires the company to continually push the boundaries in order to achieve its goal.

Interface is now more than half way to reaching Mission Zero and has been widely recognised for its achievements to date.  Its products have also achieved several awards, specifically for design and innovation, the most recent being The Athenaeum Good Design Awards for Fotosfera and Urban Retreat.

Roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy in 2050, European Commission

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Biophilic design – Not just beautiful spaces

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Biophilic design is only going to become more prevalent in the work place over time. There are some great examples out there already, including these below captured by Oliver Heath from Human Spaces. These are on a large scale and in most instances are works in progress. However if you skim through Google you’ll come across many smaller businesses who apply the same principles in their working spaces – bringing the outside in, allowing nature to lead the way.

1. Apple’s Campus 2, Cupertino, California, USA

Designed by UK based Foster + Partners Apples new HQ is proposed to be in Cupertino, California close to Apple’s existing headquarters. The 176 acres of land will house a 260,128 m2 office, a research and development building, an auditorium, research facilities, a fitness centre, cafe and a low carbon power plant to generate electricity for the campus.

 

Apple Campus 2 - Courtesy of the City of Cupertino

Underground parking will enable 6,000 trees to be planted with a network of walking paths for pedestrians to meander through the site. At the centre of the circular building there is a large circular courtyard where Apple’s employees can socialise, get some fresh air and have some restorative time away from their desks – crucially creating the opportunity to meet and cross fertilise ideas. Having natural landscapes within and surrounding the building means that employees will have views out to nature throughout the building whilst the large glass windows will allow plenty of natural light to flood the interior.

The design team state that the priorities outlined for this project are to:

* Maximise the amount of landscaped green space.

* Provide an expanse of open and green space for Apple employees’ enjoyment.

* Create a distinctive and inspiring 21st Century workplace.

* Exceed economic, social, and environmental sustainability goals through integrated design and development.

 

Apple Campus 2 - Courtesy of City of Cupertino

2. Facebook’s MPK 20, Palo Alto, California, USA

Recently opened this 40,000m2 office building on a 22 acre site has been designed by Frank Gehry. CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims it is the world’s largest open-plan office with one room that houses 2,800 employees to encourage collaboration. Plenty of Biophilic features have been incorporated which make this an aspirational place in which to work:

 

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Throughout the interior vibrant colours and natural materials are used to define areas and bring the metal, concrete and glass shell to life, e.g. one space immerses the occupier into a vibrant orange hue that emulates stepping into a sunset.

* The vast interior also includes smaller spaces where staff can retreat in order to work together more privately and restorative spaces in which to relax furnished with a range of textured furniture and carpet to stimulate the senses.

* The building also features a 9 acre rooftop park which gives employees plenty of access to nature when they step outside.

* Inside large double height windows enable views out to the planted surroundings and plenty of natural light to flood into the space.

 

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3. Amazon HQ, Seattle, USA

With their proposed offices Amazon are “seeking to build a neighbourhood rather than a campus”. The new neighbourhood which will be situated in downtown Seattle will be 3.3 million Square foot over 3 blocks of the city and will include 3 high-rise, two mid-rise office block, a multi-purpose meeting centre as well as a public dog-waking park, cycle track and ground-level retail spaces.

The highlight of this proposal for us is the three adjoining domes which will be at the centre of the development. These structures which are reminiscent of the Eden Project’s bio-domes will house four floors of open planned flexible work space and a range of trees and plants. The architects NBBJ say “The generative idea is that a plant-rich environment has many positive qualities that are not often found in a typical office setting, while the form of the building will be visually reminiscent of a greenhouse or conservatory, plant material will be selected for its ability to co-exist in a microclimate that also suits people.”

 

Amazon Seattle 2

These businesses are using biophilic design to their benefit in numerous ways- firstly to improve staff health and well-being – reducing absenteeism and presenteeism. Secondly, looking to create productive, creative and engaging spaces for staff that stimulates co working and the fertilisation of ideas. But also to attract staff in what’s termed the War for Talent, appealing to graduates with desirable spaces. And once there, it is hoped that this strengthened connection to nature will be alluring enough to retain staff for longer.

Whilst not all businesses would be able to construct their offices from scratch these designs offer a vision for the potential of future workplace design that can inspire smaller scale Biophilic Design approaches.

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