The sustainability benefits of a commercial fit out is, understandably, a priority for all UK businesses and facility managers. Be it minimising energy consumption, reducing plastic usage or upping recycling efforts, workspaces up and down the country are experiencing a period of environmental evolution.
For those wanting to make impactful changes, both CAT A and CAT B fit outs offer businesses the ability to up their ante from evolution to revolution. While CAT A fit outs offer a comprehensive approach to workplace redesign, CAT B fit outs offer plenty of tangible environmental benefits with more simplistic changes.
CAT A and CAT B fit outs explained
CAT A works to culminate the creation of ready-for-use empty spaces. That includes structural, mechanical, and electrical works that make a space ready for a tenant. It also includes the installation of lighting, heating, fire detection systems as well as fully functional washrooms. Pairing these works with a sustainable mindset can yield cost-effective, high-performing results for tenants.
Comparatively, CAT B fit outs represent the next stage, where furniture and finishing touches are put in place, including IT equipment. Across both stages, sustainable upgrades can be made to every detail of a workspace.
We work hard to source raw materials with sustainable credentials. The options at our disposal are growing exponentially too. From ethically sourced timber to recycled steel, it’s easier than ever for the very fabric of a property to live and breathe sustainability.
For the new headquarters of MCS, we delivered 308 sqm of locally sourced, carbon-neutral flooring. Not only did this allow our client to build their environmental consciousness from quite literally the ground up, but it also saved three metric tons of carbon dioxide. That’s the equivalent a car travelling just short of 11,000km. By taking these steps the carbon footprint of your property can be dramatically smaller.
We’re also committed to sourcing both furniture and contractors locally. By doing so, we can shrink a project’s carbon footprint and invest in the communities where our clients and our works are based. Together, we strive to recycle as much waste material as possible. On average, 98% of our waste is kept in the resource stream and away from landfill sites.
CAT A works allow us look at a property with a refreshed focus on carbon neutrality. By delivering schemes with optimised energy efficiency, temperature control and heating systems, businesses are left with the peace of mind that their building is performing as best as it can for both the sake of their pocket and the planet.
If we can minimise the heat that escapes a property, less energy is therefore needed to keep it warm. For buildings with poor temperature control, heating systems will have to use more energy and for longer to achieve the same results and will lose temperature much quicker. Installing thermal windows, for instance, which are up to four times more efficient than single glazed windows, thermal windows can shrink your energy bills by up to 20%.
Installing the right lighting can also see a downward turn in energy bills, whilst inspiring an upward turn in productivity. CFL and LED lights exert up to 75% less energy than a standard lightbulb and reduce eye strain and headaches from employees. This, in turn, can see a rise of productivity of up to 25%.
Refined for renewables
Additionally, CAT A works allow us to seamlessly integrate renewable energy into the scheme, giving you greater autonomy of your energy. From solar panels to ground source heat pumps and beyond, there are plenty of options to suit a variety of schemes and budgets.
Contrary to belief too, solar panels are just as effective in cloudy conditions. Rain too can be a benefit as it helps wash away dust and dirt, increasing their efficiency. Typically, solar panels offer businesses a 20% ROI whilst helping businesses make a strong, visual commitment to sustainability.
Heat pumps are discreet and unobtrusive heating option. They produce 73% less carbon than gas heating and, when paired with smart controls, can be automated to understand where energy is being used excessively and can be cut back to save you money and energy.
Once a CAT A fit out has optimised the building for sustainable performance, it’s time to turn our attention to the environmental gains that can be delivered through CAT B works.
As our commitment to the planet grows, there are more furniture options coming to market made entirely, or in part, from recycled or repurposed materials. Not only does this help reduce a businesses’ carbon footprint, but it also helps keep valuable materials within the resource stream, rather than opting for furniture made from raw materials.
It’s not just about what furniture is made from, either. Products that can be effectively maintained, where spare parts are available when fixtures break or age, or can be cleaned rather than outright replaced, play a huge role in prolonging the lifespan of furniture.
It’s also important to consider that the recyclability of furniture. When it does reach the end of its lifespan, selecting furniture that can be recycled and reused adds a greater degree of circularity to workspace design. Research from WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) has found that recycling one tonne of office chairs can save 3 tonnes CO2 equivalent, and so the benefits of recycling office furniture cannot be understated.
What’s more, many furniture providers are reanalysing the packaging that furniture arrives wrapped in. If it comes in recycled or recyclable paper or plastic packaging, the waste created during your fitout can be dramatically reduced.
When it comes to delivering a truly sustainable workplace, both CAT A and CAT B fit outs can help businesses forge greener, future focused workspaces. They allow us to make effective changes to the very fabric of the building, how it performs and what populates it within.
It ensures your workspace protects the Earth’s natural resources as much as possible. This, in turn can save businesses money and empowering your sustainability efforts in the process.
Read on to find out more about our CAT A and CAT B works and what can do for your business.