Adopting green principles in commercial architecture and design can and should be simplified, according to industry experts at The Office Exhibition.
Chaired by a panel discussion with Marcos Bish, MD, Summertown Interiors, Ben Corrigan, group director, Bluehaus Group, said the UAE is split into two camps.
“We now have well informed and uninformed clients when it comes to sustainability. The former typically follow a green directive from their global offices or board of directors while the latter require more education about the benefits of going green,” he said.
Geoff Black, operations director, AK Design, added education should be the moral obligation of design professionals.
“Sustainability is not just about energy conservation and reducing waste. The conversation needs to start before that to really understand the workspace and its usage. We should be developing the design brief in a different way to align our clients to a different way of thinking,” he said.
The group agreed sustainability in the workplace should become a shared responsibility driven from both a bottom-up and top-down approach.
“Everyone has an obligation to drive sustainability forward,” said Craig Carter, chief executive, Carter Associates. “But the real power will come from the people. Employees will soon start demanding sustainable workplace environments and policies.”
Corrigan agreed: “While regulation is important, it seems to have lost traction in the UAE since the financial slowdown. Sustainability needs to become habitual and people need to want it.”