When it comes to the hunt for a new and permanent office space for your team, you have plenty of options. It’s possible you’re looking for a space that’s unique and aesthetically pleasing and can grow with your team over time. However, many traditional office spaces leave room for concern about their impact on the environment. If you’re seeking out options that are flexible, scalable and environmentally friendly, then a green office built from a restored shipping container could be the solution for you. These solutions are high-quality, have a low environmental impact and can be tailored to meet your professional standards in appearance and size.
Green offices are becoming increasingly popular as more research is conducted into the benefits of constructing green office spaces and working in environmentally friendly offices. Not to mention the technology and construction processes of green offices have become much more economical and convenient. Today there are more opportunities to be creative and innovative in how we build our structures and what purposes different materials may serve. The countless benefits put green offices in high demand for all sorts of companies and circumstances.
What Are Green Offices?
You may be wondering how a green office differs from any newer office building today, but there are some very distinct differences. For an office to be green, there are many things that must be considered. All of these typically fall under the office’s energy efficiency and its environmental design or use of land. These include factors such as the types of building materials used, the lighting and HVAC systems and the building’s energy efficiency rating.
In terms of materials used, building with items that are either repurposed from another project or can be salvaged and repurposed after the current project — or both — is certainly a known standard of green. Even the types of office furniture and equipment used can determine how eco-friendly a business operation is.
Other considerations include the types of lighting used, the heating and cooling systems’ efficiency in regulating temperatures and the insulation quality that protects the structure from its climate-specific weather.
Why Your Business Should Consider Green Office Spaces
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings contribute nearly 40% of the carbon emissions in the United States. This is largely due to the vast amount of energy required to operate buildings on a daily basis. This is why it’s important to consider the huge impact a green office can make on the environment.
Though we have the best intentions and want our actions to have the least environmental impact as possible, often times, we believe it’s cost prohibitive or requires too much work or effort to build environmentally friendly offices. The truth is, however, that with today’s technological advancements, innovation and professionals dedicating their work to creating eco-friendly solutions that are also budget-conscious, companies can have the best of both worlds.
Benefits of Green Offices
There are many reasons to consider a green office solution for your next permanent office location. These benefits combine environmental protection measures, economic and financial improvements for the business, as well as positive social impacts within the community.
Here are some of the most common benefits business owners report:
Reduce waste by repurposing materials: Whenever a construction project can mitigate the use of new materials, it reduces the impact the project as a whole has on the environment.
Pay it forward by using reusable materials: By using as many reusable materials as possible, your office can go on to serve another project eventually, without it requiring all new materials. This also reduces waste in the long run by keeping items out of landfills or incinerators.
Mitigate energy loss: An energy-efficient office puts less pressure on our natural resources to supply buildings with heating and cooling. Having systems and measures in place to prevent heat loss or other climate-specific impacts can greatly reduce energy and water consumption. As more green offices are established, it can make a big impact on the amount of energy we consume as a society.
Lower operating costs: Energy efficiency not only reduces environmental impact, but it also reduces operating costs as well. The less energy an office structure consumes, the lower the utility bills will be. While it may require an investment upfront to implement the right energy-saving measures, it is ultimately more sustainable and pays off sometimes in a matter of only a couple years.
Save on construction costs: Building a new office requires a large investment. Countless building materials must be sourced and shipped, all at a cost. Using a repurposed structure or recycled materials as the office framework and supplies cuts back on this investment drastically.
Attract better employees: Today, eco-friendly business operations are increasingly important to a growing workforce population. Positioning your workplace as a green office can attract and retain employees who buy in and value the company’s environmental innovation.
Engage with customers: Businesses with the same shared values about the environment and innovation will be engaged with the idea of their supplier or vendor operating in a green office.
Do good in your community: A green office lets the community know you are protecting not only your business, but your environmental surroundings as well. Choosing to operate in a green office makes a firm statement about your company’s values.
Attract positive media attention: There is more spotlight being shed on businesses that operate in unique and eco-friendly ways. A green office can help bring your business to the forefront and stand out from competitors.
These are just some of the benefits of operating in a green office environment. Many businesses find ongoing benefits long after they’ve set up shop.
Modular Shipping Containers as Green Office Solutions
One of the latest innovations that has increased in popularity over the past decade has been the repurposing of shipping containers into green offices and homes. Shipping containers are in large supply all over the world. Unfortunately, the cost of shipping unused containers back to another port overseas is actually greater than simply purchasing a new one. For this reason, scads of containers lay abandoned and unused throughout different international port cities.
With this endless supply of cargo containers, some forward-thinking leaders saw an opportunity to apply these structures in a new and innovative way. As a result, we’ve now seen all kinds of shipping container architecture projects become green solutions, whether it be homes, condo buildings, offices, schools, studios or shelters.
Having a shipping container office is also a way to own your own space without the investment in purchasing or constructing a traditional office space, which can be an expensive and lengthy process. A shipping container mitigates the need for building something new.
It’s efficient, cost-effective and durable. Plus, owners of these structures report that they love the versatility and creativity of the entire shipping container concept. They feel proud that they’ve reduced their environmental footprint and have made a statement about their values.
How Are Shipping Containers Green?
Creating an office out of a shipping container is fundamentally green because it’s taking something that served one purpose and reuses it for another — instead of building something from scratch. Shipping containers would otherwise be out of commission if they had not been repurposed into a new and positive function.
Shipping container structures can be built to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards. This is the measure of how environmentally friendly a building is in terms of its water and energy consumption, as well as its ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Shipping containers are built with strength and resilience in mind, and therefore they make for the perfect long-term green office structure. Because they are built from steel, they can last decades compared to other traditional office buildings, which require ongoing maintenance, repairs and roof replacements. Shipping containers are so well-built that they can withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Traditional offices built from plastic and wood materials can often be damaging to the environment and those working inside, due to the off-gassing of the chemical materials. Many of these materials cannot be reclaimed and repurposed at the end of the building’s life cycle because they’ve been in contact with chemical adhesives, paints and other hazardous materials. On the other hand, a shipping container can go on to serve as a structure for another establishment, even after your company has moved on.
By nature, shipping containers are designed to be weatherproof. This makes them energy efficient because they’ve been tightly sealed and weatherized to protect the goods they used to contain. The same benefit will also apply when a shipping container is converted into a green office structure. Mitigating heat loss or gain is an important part of protecting the environment, and properly converted shipping container offices accomplish this goal. Lower interior moisture levels are achieved by using a shipping container structure. This is critical in regulating indoor air quality for better occupant health.
How Shipping Container Offices Are Built
The great thing about using a shipping container as your next permanent office space is that it’s like working with a blank slate. You can envision any type of design you’d like and bring it to life using a shipping container. Shipping containers come in a variety of sizes and can be customized to meet your business’ needs in both space and aesthetics. Their industrial look gives shipping container offices a modern style that has become quite popular for office settings.
In terms of layout and functionality, bathrooms can be added to the design. Innovative storage solutions can also be included. Shipping container offices can also be designed with large windows, sliding glass doors and plenty of lighting to make them feel like an authentic office environment.
Any flaws that may be found on the original shipping container are repaired as part of the construction of the green office. The shipping containers are also fitted with proper insulation, on either the interior or the exterior to develop a sound building envelope. This helps further improve the green office’s energy efficiency by reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the environment.
It’s important to highlight that green offices created from shipping containers are still structurally engineered at any standard of a traditional office space. Modular construction simply offers ongoing flexibility to the business wanting a custom prefab permanent office solution. It provides a convenient and custom office space with a quick turnaround time.
Expandable Shipping Container Offices
A modular office made from shipping containers offers businesses the peace of mind in knowing their location is totally adaptable and scalable to their growth. As your team grows, further shipping containers can be added to expand and support your needs. Containers can be placed side-by-side or stacked on top of each other to create multiple floors. This flexibility also prevents any disruptions in current office design and minimizes the costs you would otherwise incur from renovation or relocation.
Some office building designs have incorporated over 50 different shipping containers. These were all placed strategically to add dimension and intrigue to the design. In a situation where expansion is required, it actually becomes a great way to further customize your space and demonstrate creativity and innovation.
Sizes and Types of Shipping Container Offices
Conveniently, shipping containers come in different sizes to suit your team’s needs. Standard sizes are usually either 20 or 40 feet long by 8 feet wide, and 9.5 feet tall.
Because shipping containers have been repurposed from their original use in freight, they come in different outstanding conditions as well. Generally, there are three classifications of shipping container conditions. New shipping containers are ones that have been used for only one shipment overseas. These are the ones that are in the best condition and will therefore carry the highest price tag.
Then there are shipping containers that have had minor repairs done to them. These have typically been in operation for three to seven years. Finally, there are shipping containers that have reached the end of their shipping cycle and are now retired. A shipping container’s life cycle is generally 12-15 years. These ones have the lowest price point as they may contain lots of rust, dents or other imperfections. Depending on their unique condition, it may require more time and labor to restore them.
Shipping Container Office Maintenance Costs
Because shipping container offices are built from a reclaimed framework, the initial construction costs can be much lower than building an office from scratch or even renovating an existing space. Custom prefab permanent office spaces are also entirely self-contained. This means it becomes a lot easier to control the energy efficiency when properly insulated from the beginning. This keeps your utility costs lower than you would find in a traditional office space. Like any office, ongoing exterior maintenance and cleaning may be required depending on your climate. However, repairs to damaged roofs and framework will be far less than in a typical office building due to the structural strength of the shipping container.
Choose Industry-Leading BMarko Structures
Given the benefits and opportunities in building environmentally friendly offices from shipping containers, it’s possible that this modular office style is right for your business. The next steps are to identify the green office layout and size that’s right for you.
BMarko Structures offers fully customized solutions tailored to meet your needs. As experts in prefab and modular office structures, BMarko Structures can bring to life your visions for a green office. Our world-class customer service makes it easy and fulfilling to create the office of your dreams. We design high-end structures with clean, aesthetically pleasing interiors to meet your professional standards.
Our goal is to deliver the perfect custom prefab permanent office space for your team in a timely manner. Our custom solutions can be delivered nationwide, and we can even assist in obtaining the necessary building permits. If you feel this type of green office solution is right for your business, contact us to learn more about how BMarko Structures can build your custom shipping container office.