Office space upcycling, a logical choice

27 October 2021
Office space upcycling, a logical choice

An estimated 25 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste are produced in Belgium each year. However, every renovation project brings opportunities, including the ability to redeploy resources in new ways. Given this, upcycling office space makes both economic and environmental sense.

Renovation a central pillar of the European Green Deal 

According to a 2018 report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the United Nations Environment Programme, the construction sector is responsible for 38% of total energy-related CO2 emissions and 35% of final energy consumption. With its Fit for 55 package, the European Union aims to reduce net CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels, and the renovation of existing buildings is key to achieving this target. This will require businesses to rethink how they work and consider alternative solutions when it comes to office space.

Growners: a strategic partner for a circular economy

Growners gives real estate a new lease of life, making it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to acquire their own work space. One of the main ways it does this is through renovation, which avoids the need to dismantle or demolish buildings. As a strategic partner in the acquisition of your office space, Growners promotes the recovery of existing materials with a view to their reuse (upcycling).

Growners aims to support SMEs looking for an affordable yet sustainable real-estate solution. While renovation and recycling probably won't mean working in carbon-neutral buildings overnight, they will keep waste – and therefore pollution – to a minimum.

This approach also allows SMEs to grow their businesses as sustainably as possible:

  • By offering modular and tailor-made spaces, Growners helps future property owners not to waste energy.
  • Its sustainable projects keep costs down as renovation is less expensive than acquiring newly built real estate. The Park Station renovation project was a perfect example of this.

A three-pronged approach to revitalising office space sustainably

Growners' strategy has three main components: partial renovation of buildings that still have years of life left in them; recycling of construction site materials; and reuse/upcycling of these materials. Among other things, the approach involves conducting preliminary site audits to determine the potential for reuse, reporting the presence of pollutants to enable proper sorting, and compiling high-quality demolition inventories in order to catalogue reusable materials.

Renovation and material recycling and upcycling improve a building's carbon footprint. Unsurprisingly, the biggest such footprint comes from demolishing a building and putting up a new one. On this basis, we can say that renovation is the best option in the majority of cases.

While Belgium's building stock does need some upgrading, in most cases this has to do with insulation and energy systems only. One of the many challenges for the sector will therefore be to move away from wholesale demolition, instead favouring deconstruction and selective demolition as a way of revitalising buildings.


Growners: a partner in the move towards more sustainable office space

At Growners, this issue has been incorporated into the company's own development strategy. Our offices were fully renovated during lockdown for our staff's well-being, using 85% recycled furniture and construction materials. This approach saves resources and cuts waste, thereby reducing the environmental impact of the renovation.

But that's not all… While it does require more research, planning and creativity, careful renovation using recycled/upcycled materials is also a great challenge for a company. The renovation of our offices was a project that embodied our values and required input from several employees for a final cost inferior to a classic renovation. Step by step we are doing what we can to decarbonise our properties, including our own head office. Gradually reducing the energy consumption of our buildings is a further step towards delivering the values we aim to promote.

We are committed to a more sustainable real-estate model that provides SMEs with all the facilities they need. This is the choice we have made at Growners, and we would be delighted to guide you through the same process starting with the acquisition of your future office space matching your needs.

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