How JBH Deliver Sustainable Office Refurbishments and Fit Outs

Sustainable office refurbishments and fit outs should be on the radar of every business who are making improvements to their commercial property.

There is increasing pressure on businesses to reduce their carbon footprint, so to support those businesses that are on the move, or that want to improve their workspace to provide a better environment for their staff, we are sharing details of how JBH refurbishments delivers sustainable office refurbishments and fit outs through regeneration of products, implementation of recycled materials, renewable energy, reducing consumption and rethinking how we handle waste.

Recycling Quality Products Saves Our Clients Money

Recycling is incredibly important to us. On every office refurbishment or fit out, we strive to recycle the waste that comes from packaged items , but that’s not all we recycle. Where possible we try our utmost to recycle perfectly usable and good quality products that we have stripped out of a property, to use in another. End of lease dilapidation works can sometimes mean we strip out good quality items, that have the potential to be reused elsewhere. Consequently, through reuse, we can save our clients money on both waste fees and the purchase of brand-new products.

What is a Dilapidation Clause and Why Does it Cause Waste?

It may seem crazy to remove quality doors, kitchen units and partitioning from an office space and replace them with an inferior product. Yet, this happens all the time. That’s because when a tenant signs a lease, there is frequently a dilapidation clause, which means the tenant can modify the property during their lease, but at the end of the lease, it must be returned to its original condition – even if your improvements are far superior in quality to the original.

Dilapidations are one of our popular services, and we can’t bear to see high-quality items disposed of, even if they are destined to be recycled. Provided our clients are happy with our regeneration methods, our team will always look to salvage quality items, which are often stripped out of high-end London offices to comply with their end-of-lease dilapidations.

Reusing High-End Quality Fire Doors

Fire doors with a superior finish are particularly good items to recycle on other projects. Fire doors are sturdy and bulky, so to dispose of them means a skip, which can cost around £300 per haul.

Likewise, to purchase doors with a high-end status, the cost can consume a significant amount of your office refurbishment budget. For example, a single walnut door with walnut frames will set you back in the region of £1,000 per set.

By reusing high-end doors, we can offer fit-out clients a superior product which they will not have been able to afford in their original refurbishment budget. It really is a win-win situation for all involved.

Recycling Office Kitchen Units

Office kitchens and tea points are another item that can be recycled from a dilapidation project. As long as the units are top quality and recently installed, we can carefully remove a kitchen and reuse on another office refurbishment, or they can be moved to the client’s new office space.

The condition of kitchen, however, must be worthy of salvage and able to be reused quickly to prevent long term storage.

When to Recycle Glass Office Partitions

Glass office partition are one of the main products we remove during office dilapidations. Every business is different, therefore the way an office is divided and laid out varies substantially.

Glass office partitions are certainly worth salvaging when you are creating a new layout in the same space. Both the frames and the glass can be reused to create an entirely new layout. We can modify the surround if necessary too.

However, to relocate office partitions to a different property is less feasible. Office partitions are built specifically for the room they were originally installed in. There is no-one-size-fits-all, but we are always happy to explore the options with our clients.

Upcycling and Rethinking to Create Feature Items

We’re not afraid of a spot of upcycling. Take the reception desk at Premiere Decorations for example. As part of their extensive office refurbishment, we upcycled the reception desk with vinyl wrap.

Office furniture doesn’t always need to be expensive. Sometimes, you need to look at what you already have. With a little creativity, you can have a whole new look for a fraction of the cost of purchasing new products.

Here are some upcycling ideas for cool and trendy art pieces using everyday items:

  • Bottles, cans and cutlery create great light fittings
  • Salvaged timber provides statement wall cladding
  • Tyres can be modified to create cool seating
  • Painted garden table and chairs, make funky meeting room furniture
  • Mix and match furniture styles, such as office desks and chairs, painted in your uniform hues are a quirky design feature

Using Engineered Products Made From Recycled Materials

Recycled materials are now being used in all sorts of new items. From clothing, shoes and bags to carpets, worktops and park benches. When you begin looking, there are many new products that have been engineered and manufactured using recycled plastics, metals, paper, rubber, wood and glass. Believe us, there’s even hats and skateboards, made of recycled fishing nets. So, there are companies really trying to make an effort to recycle our waste to create sustainable products. It is therefore our responsibility to choose wisely when purchasing and installing new products.

When it comes to designing and building a sustainable office refurbishment or fit out, the availability of products made from recycled materials is increasing rapidly. Companies are not only using recycled materials to manufacture, but they are also considering end of life recyclability.

Here are a couple of examples of manufactures of interior office finishes and products that are leading the way in:

  • recycled materials
  • reduction of toxic finishes
  • reuse of components

Carpet tile manufacturer, Tarkett have developed a way of creating quality carpet tiles manufactured from 100% recycled materials (mostly fishing nets that have been recovered from our oceans). They have also worked out how to recycle their own used products.

Once Tarkett carpet tiles reach the end of their life, the components are broken down and recycled to create new carpet tiles. Essentially, they have created a lifecycle for their own product, therefore drastically reducing thier waste.

Humanscale is leading the way in office furniture recycling. This company is remarkable. They have thought of every process. Here’s a taster of how they address the ecologic impact of manufacturing the common office chair:

  • Recycled ocean waste (again fishing nets) forms the main material
  • Recycled aluminium forms the structure of the chair and is light weight
  • Carsinogenic coatings (chromium 6) on the castors have been replaced with non-toxic coatings
  • Reduced components, such as springs and the housing around them make the products lighter and easier to recycle again and again, as well as ship.
  • Lighter products mean it’s a more efficient item to ship
  • When a chair is no longer required, Humanscale will refurbish or resell it as used item
  • When a chair can no longer be used it is broken down and the components are reused in new products

Other office furniture makers too are working towards a turnkey recycling of their products. Take AC 4 Office Chairs for example. They are manufactured from up to 51% recycled materials and 94% of all materials are recyclable.

Energy Usage and the Application of Smart Technologies

Energy usage isn’t always something a tenant has much control of. Heating, cooling, lighting, water supply and smart energy applications lie in the hands of the landlord. However, energy usage is an increasing concern for businesses that lease. So, landlords had better get smart!

These are just some of the energy and water saving applications now favoured in commercial property developments:

  • Commercial air source heat pumps use the heat from the air – not gas – to heat the water used in radiators, washrooms, and underfloor heating.
  • Heat recovery VRF systems in large commercial buildings take the hot air from one space that needs cooling – such as server rooms – and reuses it in a space that requires heating.
  • Air conditioning units that implement refrigerants with low Global Warming Potential (GWP) in a bid to reduce HFC gases.
  • Smart technology building management systems automatically switch off lighting, heating and cooling when not in use.
  • Rainwater harvesters are increasingly popular on commercial developments to save on the cost of water consumption. The rainwater is collected and reused for grey water (toilet and urinal flushes).
  • LED light panels in ceilings are the best way of maintaining a light and bright office, while significantly saving energy. By swapping from fluorescent to LED you can save 70% energy.

Good Ventilation Reduces Indoor Air Pollution

Good ventilation will improve your workforce health and wellbeing. Therefore, quality ventilation is an essential part of a sustainable office refurbishment and fit out.

Did you know that indoor air pollution is caused by a variety of things. The obvious ones are burning gases, coal and wood, but these are typical of a kitchen environment. We’re talking about sustainable office refurbishments and fit outs, so let’s take a look at the type of things that impact on indoor air quality in the office:

  • Cleaning products and polishes
  • Air fresheners
  • Deodorants and perfumes
  • Paints and paint strippers
  • Varnishes and glues
  • Asbestos
  • Damp and mould
  • Fibreglass
  • Building materials

Poor air quality can have a major impact on someone’s health, especially if they already have a lung condition. It can also encourage the spread of common illnesses, such as colds and flu, and more recently the spread of Covid-19.

Through regular cleaning and maintenance, you can vastly improve the indoor air quality within your office. To optimise it further, the application of UVC air purifers can kill 99.9% of harmful bacteria from the air flow.

As well as improving the mechanical ventilation within your office, you should also look to use natural solutions. For instance, office planting and foliage walls are a free and energy saving solution for removing CO2 gases from the air and increasing the supply of oxygen.

We Remain Local to Reduce Our Carbon Footprint and Yours

In order to deliver sustainable office refurbishments and fit outs, we have to address our own carbon footprint. While it is tempting to work beyond our service area of London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, JBH remains a local office refurbishment company.

By capping our service area, we can reduce our travel and consequently lower our carbon footprint. Stay local, use JBH for your sustainable office refurbishment or fit out and keep your carbon footprint to a minimum too!

Final Thoughts on Building Sustainable Office Refurbishments

We are all striving for a better future for our planet. The changes we make need to be more impactful than ever before. Less waste, less energy usage and better use of smart technology will go a long way to reducing our carbon footprint, while making financial savings at the same time.

At JBH we are doing what we can to deliver sustainable office refurbishments and fit out solutions to companies throughout London, Kent, Surrey, Sussex and the wider South East. If we can help you explore options for your sustainable workspace, please speak to our team on 0333 207 0339, use our contact form or email

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