Sustainability has been a key part of who we are since day one. This is much more than simply turning some lights off, or recycling the occasional plastic cup. From the design and sourcing of our office furnishings, to the way we think about our energy use and waste – sustainability plays a vital part in how we operate on every single day. Here is what we do:
Why is our office furniture so sustainable? Well, the answer is actually really simple. It’s all about going back to basics and saying no to cheap, mass-produced furnishings. Our furniture is built to last and created with solid, natural materials wherever possible. For example, our outdoor benches are simply solid hardwood, coated with oil-based varnish. As you can see below, these sit above the old radiators from the building renovations – meaning they look great and nothing has been wasted!
Inside is a similar story. We build our desk tops from solid bamboo with oil-based coating which means that they are sturdy and will last an incredibly long time. However, if any do eventually need to be disposed of, they will fully decompose because they are entirely natural.
Of course, not everything can be made from wood and as good as it is for desks and benches – you probably wouldn’t appreciate a wooden office chair! Our chairs are supplied by Herman Miller who have a world leading sustainability program. The chairs are made from primarily recycled plastics, much of which has been collected from the ocean. If parts do break, they are individually replaceable which of course reduces waste and means that we don’t need to dispose of entire chairs.
Our office is always stocked up with a range of items for our members. Little changes in shopping habits can make really important differences which is why we buy from responsible companies and shop locally wherever possible.
We source our freshly roasted gourmet coffee from Ritual Coffee Co. Not only is this sourced in a socially responsible way from small scale farmers and co-operatives across the world – but the coffee is roasted just one mile away from our Star Lodge offices.
Similarly, we source our milk from Cotteswold Dairy who are based only 2.5 miles away from our town centre offices. Again, they have an exciting sustainability policy which ensures that our milk is supplied by red tractor approved farms which are generally within a 30 mile radius –reducing the need for long distance transport whilst supporting nearby businesses and farmers.
Some items simply can’t be supplied by local businesses. Even when this is the case, we check sustainability policies and ensure what we buy is organic or recyclable wherever possible. Here, small choices such as buying unbleached teabags, or paper hand towels from FSC approved suppliers can make all the difference.
On an even smaller scale, we compost all of our food waste and our members recycle food packaging – further reducing our landfill waste.
We are lucky that our two sites, Star Lodge and Frogmore House are both very bright, well adapted buildings. Star Lodge features a modern coworking area which is primarily glass fronted. This lets in lots of natural light and means that – along with energy saving LED bulbs – we can keep electricity usage to a minimum.
The Glass House at Star Lodge also features a sedum roof. This increases biodiversity whilst reducing our heating and cooling needs because the plants help to provide a natural insulation barrier. Perhaps most importantly – it provides a great place for squirrels to play!
When we do need to keep the building chilled or heated, we primarily use heat source air pumps through the air con units. These are much more efficient than using radiators and other more traditional ways of heating the building.
Getting to work:
Making it easier to get to our offices in sustainable ways really benefits our members. We are located in Cheltenham Town Centre, so most of our members from the town will walk or cycle in. We provide secure, CCTV monitored bike racks – and a private shower to ensure cycling to work is a viable option.
For those who drive, there’s the option of a PodPoint charger to make it easier for members who own electric cars.
We think that the small choices we make are just as important as the bigger decisions. By considering sustainability in everything we do, it’s possible to reduce our impact on the environment whilst also encouraging our members to do the same.
Thinking about sustainability also makes our coworking and offices nice places to be – natural light, greenery and solid wood furniture creates a really enjoyable space to work in – and it certainly seems to keep our members happy!