Building a Garden Office

Building a Garden Office? Sustainability Concerns to Think About When Planning

Sustainability has become so much more than just a word in recent years. It has become a call to action, a call to change. Sustainability efforts are becoming integrated into every aspect of our daily lives to help combat the effects of climate change.

Action is being taken around the world to help preserve our planet for future generations and to help beat the effects of climate change, one of the most defining issues of our time

It is likely you are taking practical steps within your own life to tackle climate change and reduce your carbon footprint. From reducing your plastic waste and recycling to investing in renewable energy and being mindful of where you shop, there are many practical ways you can practice sustainability within your own life. In this article, we will discuss sustainability in building a garden office.

Sustainability Concerns in Construction 

While construction projects aren’t as common as the weekly shop, the global shift to remote working has caused many homeowners to invest in garden offices – the new home-away-from-home – where work can be completed without any distraction. Here, too, sustainability can be prioritised, from planning through to project completion. Let’s take a look at the most common sustainability concerns in construction and how they can be addressed.

Choosing a Good Location 

You might not think it at first, but choosing a good location is a key stage in the planning process, when it comes to building a garden office. The location of your garden office will determine the office’s longevity, access to natural light, accessibility for construction, security, and so much more. Where you decide to construct your garden office can have a significant impact on sustainability.

Sustainable Location Considerations 

Sustainability should definitely come to mind when you are considering where to place your garden office. Taking the time to consider how you plan to construct, heat, and maintain your garden office is important during the planning phase and will help you consider the more sustainable methods of construction. A few considerations to prioritise in the name of sustainability include: 

Natural Light: the amount of natural light your garden office receives will have a dramatic impact on how warm the office is and how much you will have to rely on heating while you are working. The more natural light you can capture, the more heat you will enjoy from the sun and the less you will need to rely on running the heating. What’s more, situating your garden office in a suntrap sets you up perfectly to invest in solar panels for a renewable energy solution. 

Access During Construction: the easier it is to access the construction site, the less environmental damage trucks will cause when they deliver materials. If you can locate your garden office in a space that is easily accessible by road, you will reduce the amount of damage to the natural environment and ensure your construction project can continue unhindered by access issues. 

Building Longevity: if you can construct a garden office that is made to last, it will be far more sustainable than a building you have to replace in a few years’ time. To get the most out of your garden office, you need to avoid positioning it underneath a large canopy of trees. This is because trees can limit construction space and their roots can create problems with things such as drainage. What’s more, foliage can gather on the roof of your building which, over time, can cause issues with drainage, light levels, and building longevity. So, aim to construct your garden office in an open space if possible. 

Selecting the Right Materials 

Selecting the right materials for your construction project can have a significant impact on the sustainability of your garden office. According to the Construction Leadership Council, “for new buildings and infrastructure, the focus, where feasible, should be on waste prevention throughout the lifecycle. This includes designing a building to be adaptable, longer lasting, and capable of being repurposed or deconstructed for reuse.” Below we share how you can be mindful of the materials you select for the construction of your sustainable garden office. 

Sustainable Materials to Consider 

Since the rise in sustainability efforts, we have seen a rising demand for sustainable construction materials. Selecting the right materials for your garden office can have a significant impact on its longevity, sustainability, and aesthetics. Below are some of the most popular sustainable materials to consider. 

Bamboo Flooring: Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth. In fact, according to the Guinness World Records, some bamboo species can grow up to 91cm per day. Due to its rapid growth, bamboo is a versatile and sustainable building material. Bamboo can be used in many areas of construction, from scaffolding to flooring, and is one of the most popular materials for those looking to be more environmentally friendly. 

Steel Flashings: this popular material is installed to protect buildings from water damage. Steel Flashings is regarded by experts such as Southern Sheeting as being strong, versatile, and high-capacity, making it a great option for office garden buildings. Steel flashings are thin pieces of steel that are used as a barrier against the weather, protecting buildings from water damage and making structures more long-lasting and durable. Steel flashings offer a sustainable solution that can be recycled at the end of its life. 

Timber Frames: timber remains one of the most popular and most traditional materials used in construction today. You can source your timber from sustainably managed forests to support the environment. According to research, “if sustainably sourced, using timber can have an additional positive environmental impact because trees absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and lock it away as carbon, thus removing it from the atmosphere.” 

Environmental Damage 

One of the most significant ways construction projects affect our planet is through environmental damage. Whether it’s in clearing space for new housing developments or driving trucks full of materials through fields and wildlife areas, environmental damage is a huge cause for concern. If you want to prioritise sustainability during the construction of your garden office, you need to plan avoiding environmental damage. 

How to Avoid Environmental Damage 

It doesn’t really matter how big or small you plan for your garden office to be, it will have an impact on the surrounding environment. Below are some of the ways you can avoid environmental damage during the construction process. 

Transportation Accessibility: during the planning process, it is important to consider how materials, workers, and machinery will get to you in order for work to commence. Is there easy access to the construction site via a road or would trucks and diggers have to cut through fields and natural environments? Taking the time to consider transportation accessibility can greatly support your sustainability efforts by reducing disruption to the local environment. 

Reduce Noise: construction can be a noisy process, one that is often disruptive to neighbours as well as nearby wildlife. Noise pollution should be an important consideration throughout your project to ensure reductions are made where possible. The best thing to do is warn neighbours ahead of time that work will commence between certain times of the day so everyone knows what to expect. Limiting noise as much as possible will also help protect local wildlife. 

Dispose of Waste: many construction materials end up as waste. As construction looks to more sustainable practices, efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle are being widely adopted. This is greatly reducing the need to dispose of construction waste in landfills or incineration sites, reducing construction’s impact on the environment. 

Final Words 

Building a garden office is a great opportunity to address sustainability concerns and implement eco-conscious solutions. Just as you are concerned about where to buy groceries or how to reduce your plastic usage, you can be sustainably-minded when it comes to construction projects, too. 

Whether you are building a garden office to create that perfect work-from-home space or to enjoy drinks with friends in the summer months, prioritising sustainability will ensure your garden office fits in beautifully with its surroundings and stands the test of time. 

About Dylan Garton

Dylan Garton is a cofounder of Skill Builder and freelance video producer, camera operator and video editor.

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