Workplace Design Principles

A starting point for an evidenced-based design process

Businesses going green January 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ia2studio @ 9:39 pm

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, “In the United States alone, buildings account for 72% electricity consumption, 38% of all carbon dioxide emissions and 136 million tons of waste output annually.” There are environmental, economic and social benefits to building green. If you are working with a skeptical client, make them feel more comfortable about building green by re-iterating the benefits are not only for the environment but for their business as well. (1) By building green the ecosystems and biodiversity of the environment are protected. This in turn helps conserve natural resources. Using renewable resources for a buildings finishes ensures longer-lasting, durable productivity leaving less of a need for improvement down the road. This cuts costs to the company. (2) Improving the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of a business will generate a more enjoyable work environment providing more efficient and productive employees. The hiring and firing process is not only stressful but costs companies money. (3) Most businesses are run on reputation. A company that shows interest and care in the environment will not only be associated with doing good but will also gain a better reputation and more loyal clients. No matter what the goals and principles of a particular business may be, utilizing environmental awareness and building green will have a positive effect on businesses. 


USGBC: Green Building Research. U.S. Green Building Council. 27 Jan. 2009 <;.

Shawn Calvin


Third Party Certification

Filed under: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES — ia2studio @ 2:03 am

Third party certification is the process by which a product, process, or service is reviewed by a reputable and unbiased third party (Green Cleaning Claims and Third Party Certification).  The purpose of third party certification is to  verify that criteria, claims, and standards are being met(Green Cleaning Claims and Third Party Certification) .  Incorporating third party certification into a design project can help save time, and also adds support from a credible source.  Below are certifications relating to design development:

  • Energy Star: energy efficiency of various product types(includes small and large appliances)
  • Greenguard: tests products(bedding, paints, textiles, flooring, etc) for low chemical
  • SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative): evaluates products that use wood from sustainably managed


McFadden, Roger. “Green Cleaning Claims and Third Party Certification.” Coastwide Laboratories 2002 27 Jan 2009

Portwood, Pamela. “Sorting Out Green Certifications.” Greener Lives 2008 27 Jan 2009

Submitted by: Natalie Kosnik


Case Studies – Armstrong

Exterior, Armstrong Headquarters

Exterior, Armstrong Headquarters

In April of 2007, Armstrong World Industries earned the fifth US Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum rating ever given to an existing building for the re-design of their headquarters facility in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  The project achieved this rating through the implementing the following sustainable features:

Armstrong Headquarters, interior

Armstrong Headquarters, interior

  • Use of daylighting, flourescent lighting and occupancy sensors
  • Energy effecient HVAC systems
  • Installation of covered bike area
  • Installation of preferred parking spaces for hybrid vehicles
  • Use of alternative energy sources, such as wind power
  • Implementation of a recycling program
  • Establishment of policies surrounding the use of non-toxic cleaning products
  • Use of low-flow toilets and waterless urinals


 Eberly, David A. “LEED EB(R) Case Study: Achieving Platinum and the Energy Star(R) Label for Corporate Headquarters.” Energy Engineering (2008): 23 – 28.


US Green Building Council. Project Profile: Armstrong World Industries Corporate Headquarters. 2008. 28 January 2009 <>.               

Posted by: Maggie Zilke


Carpet Selection

Filed under: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES — ia2studio @ 1:07 am

When it comes to selecting “green” carpeting, three things to consider are: manufacturing processes, product lifetime, and recycled materials.  Manufacturing processes can take up a lot of energy making carpet.  Reducing the use of energy helps a lot towards saving the environment.  In fact, the carpet industry “leaves one of the smallest environmental footprints” because of its energy efficient construction.  The lifetime of the product is important because consumers don’t want to have to throw out carpeting every so often.  Not only does this make an impact towards consumer wallets, but also towards the environment, like the impact on land-fills.  Although some carpeting can be recycled, the amount thrown-out still makes an impact.  Recycling is the biggest concern in carpeting.  Nylon fibers are the best for recycled carpeting.  Nylon is able to keep its quality, which means it can be used over and over again.  Another good fiber to use is polyester.

Lape, Tom. “Eco-friendly carpet.” Buildings. 95.11 (November 2001): 22.

Posted by: Gania Kandalaft


Sustainable Millwork

Filed under: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES — ia2studio @ 1:06 am

The millwork in a break room of an office project can be an extremely sustainable addition if researched properly. There are many things that must be taken into consideration when selecting millwork. Three areas that should be taken into account are:

  1. FSC Certified Wood. Certified wood comes from well-managed sustainable forests, and the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is the strictest council with its certification.
  2. Low-Emitting Materials. The materials used for the millwork should be low-emitting. This includes the wood and adhesives or additives, such as the use of no-added urea formaldehyde.
  3. Recycled content. The recycled content can be wood, bamboo, various types of straw, or others.

These three considerations can add LEED points to projects and assure the use of sustainable millwork.


“ – Green Product Sub-category: FSC-Certified Millwork.” Home. 27 Jan. 2009 <

“USGBC: Version 2.0 Rating System.” USGBC: U.S. Green Building Council. 27 Jan. 2009 <;.

Joanna Tzilos


Global Warming

Filed under: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES — ia2studio @ 1:01 am
Tags: , ,

Three major ways that interior design decisions impact global warming with specific examples are….

transportation: When products need to be shipped to a client or designer, the fuels from the vehicle, train, or airplane can have an impact on global warming.  Using materials from local companies or reusing the materials in the existing building will cut down on the pollution in the air.

energy: When thinking of how a certain products run, the source of energy should be considered.  Using solar panels or a green roof (to recycle water) could help protect the environment.  When the energy is lowered the operation costs decrease as well.  So not alternative energy will help with global warming but with the cost.

-Production : not focusing on-line on the material itself but how the material is made.  If the machines use natural gases (source of nitrogen oxid) or hydroelectric generators (disrupts natural water flows) to products mass amounts of this product or material its not good for the environment.


US Green Building Council, “Energy and Atmosphere.”LEED-CI. 2nd. 2005.


Jenelle Sekol


Energy Conservation incorporated in office design

Filed under: energy conservation,ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES — ia2studio @ 1:01 am

An office design can incorporate energy conservations through lighting and water. Through lighting controls, energy use and lower LPD values can be achieved. Some of the controls that could be used would be: occupancy sensors, daylight dimming, and zone controls.

Another effective energy conservation of lighting would be reducing the amount of lighting that is in a space. Some places have extra lighting that would not be needed. To save energy, these lights could be removed, and the focus could be put on natural light.

One costly, but effective way of energy conservation would be through reuse of rainwater. Systems can be put in that will collect the rainwater and use it for the toilets when flushed.

Bonda, Penny, and Katie Sosnowchik. Sustainable Commercial Interiors. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2007.

Posted by: Stephanie