Reduce the carbon footprint in your office. Where would you begin? Are you thinking of heating your conference rooms, using the AC or power strips? How about the fuel that employees use to ride-share to work? How about the concrete that was used to build the building?
These questions were an Earth Day challenge for the South Pole. This profit-for-purpose company helps businesses around the globe make their business practices more sustainable. South Pole assists clients such as Nestle and Hilton Hotels in reducing carbon pollution. The company chose to hire as its new client this Earth Day and made its office in Tampa completely carbon-free.
“It was symbolic, but it was an invitation to people to have a discussion about climate,” states Nick Aster, South Pole’s marketing director. Aster explained that although Signature Workspace offices are low-carbon, accounting for each bit of carbon produced by the office was something like a tax audit and a game Clue.
Aster and his colleagues measured the floor area to determine how much energy was used for heating and cooling. They calculated the power consumption of their phones, laptops, projectors and office seltzer machines. They also took a look at how employees got to work. Did they walk? Are they riding their bikes? How about taking the subway?
Think about how you can redesign your workspace.
Tracking carbon footprints
Some actions directly release carbon into the atmosphere, such as driving an Uber to work or running a gas heater. Some actions are indirect like operating a refrigerator with electricity from a distant gas or coal power plant. Some are more indirect than others, like the carbon emitted by farming the chicken for the panini that you ate as lunch. It can be difficult to determine the carbon footprint of an office. There are many variables and causes. The South Pole is skilled at unraveling these tangles.
Aster states, “When we work together with clients, the first thing that we do is help understand their footprint and then help build a roadmap for reducing it.”
South Pole assisted Nestle in reaching its net zero carbon goal. The company tracked the carbon emissions at every level of its operations, including its factories, farms, trucks, and factories. South Pole calculated the carbon footprint of more than 800 products for eBay Germany. This allowed the company’s users to pay a small fee to offset their carbon emissions. The South Pole was also requested by the NBA to conduct a carbon consult. While playing basketball might not cause a lot of greenhouse gasses, flying whole basketball teams across the country can.
Aster says that even if a company doesn’t care about the ethics of cutting carbon, going green can still be very profitable. Companies can get financial incentives from the U.S., and other countries to become more sustainable. A lot of South Pole’s suggestions are about efficiency in general, which almost always results in money savings.
Every client is an entirely new puzzle and therefore some carbon emissions are inevitable. South Pole funds carbon-reduction projects in other countries when a company has made the most of its emission reductions. These projects include tree plantations, sustainable agriculture farms, and hydroelectric projects in the rest of the world. Aster states that you can purchase credits to offset unavoidable emissions at a certain point.
South Pole applied the same strategy to itself as it uses with clients. The team monitored its office thermostat and cut down on its power consumption. It also encouraged employees to cycle or walk to work. It then funded a wind farm in Tamil Nadu (India) to offset its remaining carbon footprint. It was a win/win situation: An Indian region gained some sustainable power and a company halfway around the world was able cut its carbon emissions.
Reduce space and reduce waste
Aster believes Signature Workspace is the ideal workplace for an efficient company. The South Pole has the ability to adjust its space to accommodate its staff. And because the pandemic requires companies to move between in-person and remote workplaces, it doesn’t need to worry about having too much or too little space.
Aster states that “When COVID-19 struck, Signature Workspace was very flexible while we regrouped and figured out what we needed to move forward.” They’ve done an excellent job with AV technology for Zoom meetings, especially with larger groups ….. You get a lot of bang for your buck.
This post was written by Tara Kintz. Tara is a director at Signature Workspace which is an office space for rent Wesley Chapel FL. Signature Workspace, owned and operated by Cantor Fund Management, offers services and amenities such as private offices, flex space, co-working space, virtual offices, meeting/conference rooms, and more.