A Tenant’s Guide to Green Fit-Outs

With so many decisions to make in selecting and fitting out your leased space, the more knowledge you have as a tenant, the more likely you’ll be to make choices that will benefit you and your business. In this article, we’ll provide an introduction to a term that is increasingly gaining popularity: green fit-outs. We’ll walk you through what a green fit-out is and what its potential benefits might be so that you can decide which, if any, of the ideas and strategies make sense for you as you plan your next fit-out.

What is a green fit-out?

A green fit-out is one that emphasizes sustainability and environmental responsibility in the practices and materials used to fit out the space. It also seeks to prioritize a healthy environment for the employees and customers who will make use of the new space.

There are many different ways tenants can work with their contractors to incorporate green practices and materials into their fit-out projects. Here are just a few of them:

  • Cutting down on toxins: Many elements used in fitting out a space, from paint and sealants to carpets and wall coverings, can emit gases that are toxic and can increase risk of health issues. These toxins include formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Talk to your contractor about using low-emitting, VOC-free materials in your fit-out for a greener—and healthier—space.
  • Buy local: Transportation of materials can cause significant environmental impact—and up the cost of a project. Using locally sourced raw materials isn’t just a greener option but a more cost-effective one.
  • Use recycled materials: Fit-outs offer lots of opportunities to upcycle and recycle. Reusing elements that are still functional, even if they are repurposed in the space, is one way to cut down on wasted money and materials. Another is to choose recycled materials for elements that do need to be purchased, from doors to ceiling tiles.
  • Incorporate energy efficient and water conserving fixtures and appliances: When choosing fixtures and appliances, opt for those designed to conserve energy or water, including choosing Energy Star appliances.

What are the benefits of a green fit-out?

Green fit-outs boast a range of benefits to tenants: Besides the knowledge—and good PR—of being eco-friendly, going green on your next fit-out can leave some more green in your wallet. Here are just a few of the potential benefits to tenants opting for green fit-outs:

  • Less health risks to employees. Using non-toxic materials that result in better air quality can result in a healthier, and therefore more productive, workforce.
  • Move in faster: Using low-emitting, VOC-free materials means you have less time to wait for toxic gases and odors to dissipate before occupying your space.
  • Spend less on waste disposal: Reusing, upcycling, and recycling mean less waste, and less waste means less money spent on removing and properly disposing of unwanted materials.
  • Cut your materials budget: Buying local can lead to serious savings as you minimize shipping and transportation costs.
  • Save money over time on utilities: Purchasing energy efficient and water conserving fixtures and appliances will, over time, result in significant savings in water and energy bills.

A.F. Alber has a 30+ year record of helping client save money on high-quality fit-outs. Talk to us today about making your next fit-out budget friendly and environmentally friendly at the same time!