Coworking spaces possess a huge potential to support environmental sustainability due to their inherently sharing-oriented constitution. At its foundations, coworking supports the sharing of space, supplies and other resources, thereby cutting down on basic wastefulness. There are other steps that coworking spaces can take in order to run with the concept further, and many do so because the culture surrounding coworking is already very conducive to creative problem-solving.
Let’s take a look at a few important issues to see what these coworking spaces can do in order to be more green and to better understand the relationship between coworking and environmental sustainability.
Expanding the Green Focus
The next step is creating strong relationships with environmentally friendly businesses that exist independently from Coworking Spaces. For example, if a member is looking for catering, the coworking space should refer them to a local, organic service. Or if someone is looking for printing, you can refer them to a green printer.
There is an inherent eco-friendliness found in the coworking model. Coworking intrinsically possesses, sustainable values of sharing, not just sharing all the tangible resources like the real estate and the electric bills, but also sharing ideas and caring about one another and working in a collaborative spirit.
Coworking spaces can also be home to many green startups and several green architects who are focusing on building eco-friendly structures. All the startups working out of your coworking space need not be green, but all new members should fill out a green mission statement as a part of their orientation.
And the coworking space should itself also practice what it preaches. They can use some innovative green technology like light tubes as well as Solar power for electricity. Coworking spaces can also source their materials consciously and do composting and recycling.
Not only are coworking spaces creating a more eco-friendly world with their companies, but the physical space is also purporting those same ideals all the while, and so allowing the integration of environmental sustainability.
Sustainability and Economic Value
In order to accomplish this, coworking spaces should install low water usage faucets and toilets as well as CFL lighting. Provide your members with silverware, cups, and glasses, so that no one has to use plastic utensils, which would just create more waste. In addition, all paper products should be made from recycled materials, and furniture should be made from recycled materials or be recyclable itself. You can also install a bicycle lockup outside of the building, as a way to encourage your members to ride their bikes to work.
Green coworking makes sense for coworkers both from a business perspective and from an environmental perspective. By working collaboratively in such a space, members not only reduce their carbon footprints, they increase their bottom lines. If people are not benefiting economically from coworking, they’re not going to want to be there. This is the challenge of environmental friendliness across the board – it has to make economic sense along with environmental sense.
Eco-Friendly Places in Hong Kong
CoCoon is Hong Kong’s largest coworking space. Sensitivity to issues of sustainability has been a part of CoCoon’s goals before the space even opened its doors. The plants in CoCoon’s café are all local and drought-resistant, so they require very little resources in order to be maintained. The flooring in the café is bamboo, low energy LEDs light the space, and the walls have been painted with non-toxic paints. And, of course, recycling is set up in the kitchenette. Future plans include making air conditioning at the space more energy efficient, and with summers that can last up to seven months, this adjustment would incur significant benefits.