2019 trends

The Sustainability Movement: Techniques & Trends | Kimball

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As our population continues to grow and climate change becomes a more prominent issue, the need for sustainability has never been greater. No matter how big or small the action, any act helps in the collective goal to create healthy, safe and sustainable environments. This movement toward sustainability is creating new techniques and materials that are now being used in constructing “green” buildings, redesigning or fitting-out existing ones, managing resource consumption, and reducing harmful emissions.
 

But making sustainable choices doesn’t just stop with the external components of a building, it moves inside as well. Spacestor identified sustainability as one of the Top 8 Workplace Trends for 2019, with an upward trend of combining wellness culture with sustainable design. These are some of the trends surfacing in each of the primary areas in architectural and interior design.

Building & Materials
Today, there are new artificial materials that are more environmentally safe than traditional materials. Since 2015, the Dubai Municipality has required the use of sustainable “green” concrete in all new construction which uses environmentally friendly materials that have low-energy costs, high durability and low-maintenance requirements, and contains a large proportion of recycled or recyclable materials.[1] Many new buildings are being constructed as multi-use spaces or structured for modular interior design, which will be more sustainable over time because it can change and adapt to new occupant needs. Instead of building spaces for specific functions, architects and designers are creating buildings that can serve a wide range of uses.

Water Usage
With water, the goal is to use less and reuse more. From high-efficiency fixtures, automatic sensors, metering and flow controls, to reduced flow toilets and urinals, low consumption fixtures for sinks and showers, and dual flush water closets, there are numerous options to help us become sustainable with water consumption.

Energy Efficiency
According to a recent study by Harvard based researchers, buildings consume nearly 40% of primary energy production around the world. Any cuts in energy consumption can have a tremendous impact on carbon emissions, which is the main source of climate change. One method of reducing energy consumption is increasing natural light through sky lights, sloped ceilings, light shelves, or solar harvesting. Other options include automatic lighting control, timers to turn lights on or off during office hours, and energy-saving lighting like LED, T5 and HE fluorescent.

Waste Management
Tracking your waste, generating less waste, and recycling provide the key foundation for a successful waste management program. For existing businesses and buildings, tracking it is the first step to knowing the type and amount of waste your company creates. With this knowledge in hand, you can determine the best sustainable practices to implement for reducing waste.

Changing from single-use to multi-use cups, switching to paperless documents where possible, donating items that are no longer needed, reusing items that you already have in new ways, and implementing a recycling program are just a few of the ways to become more sustainable with waste in the workspace.

The EPA's guide to managing and reducing waste in commercial buildings also shares that organizations that sign up as a partner in WasteWise, the Food Recovery Challenge or the Federal Green Challenge can use the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Data Management System hosted in Re-TRAC Connect. Through the SMM Data Management System, partners can track and report to EPA their annual waste management and green purchasing activities, set annual goals and apply for recognition.

Air Quality
When it comes to air quality, the EPA also states that indoor pollutants are often two to five times greater than those encountered outdoors. To create a healthier and more sustainable workplace, improvements to air quality can be made by integrating plants inside, selecting low-emission materials, creating separate spaces for high-emission equipment, and ensuring fresh air through windows or ventilation.

Sustainable Interior Design Elements
Design elements such as wood, cork, bamboo, and linoleum are all low-maintenance, durable and renewable. Countertops made from recycled materials, sustainable textiles and natural fibers such as soy, wool, hemp or flax are also eco-friendly options in sustainable design planning.

Seattle’s Bullitt Center, a six-story office space is billed as the “Greenest Commercial Building.” It is outfitted with solar panels, rainwater treatment systems, and a ground-source heat exchange system, all of which result in a net-positive energy environment. Additionally, the building materials were carefully handpicked so as to avoid 14 categories of chemicals. Impressively, as of 2015, the Bullitt was the world’s largest certified Living Building Challenge (LBC) facility. (Living Proof: Building the Bullitt Center from Brad Kahn on Vimeo.)

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Sustainability is also becoming more important to the employees that are, or will be, working in the spaces being designed. According to a recent Nielson study, Millennials and Generation Z will be the first generations willing to pay more for sustainable products and view sustainability as a critical component in the company culture they want to join for their career.

At Kimball, we are proud of our environmental stewardship we have been practicing since the founding of the company and are committed to not only meeting current environmental standards, but also setting new ones. Kimball works diligently to improve our understanding of our impact on the environment. We partner with companies and certifying bodies such as LEED and WELL that can help us monitor and reduce our overall impact so we can continue to be a responsible steward of resources. We continue to bring products to market that are not only innovative, but sustainable. It’s part of our heritage to take initiative, reduce waste, conserve energy, commit fully and lead by example. It’s not enough to simply sustain. We strive to enhance our world. And we hope you’ll join us.

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Workplace Trends for 2019 | Kimball

photo source: Kimball

photo source: Kimball

While some of the trends that experts are predicting for 2019 are a continuation of what some workplaces were already doing in 2018, there are still a number of new ones. Some that might even raise a few eyebrows.

Here’s a quick preview of the trends that experts believe will be popular for workplace design in 2019.

Different work settings for different tasks.
Okay, technically, designating different areas of the office space for employees to work alone, in collaboration with others, or without distractions, isn’t new. But utilizing furniture options that can be easily rearranged to an employee or team’s liking does take the concept further. The furniture buzzwords moving forward are “minimal restrictions”.

photo source: Kimball

photo source: Kimball

Multifunctional rooms.
An adaptation of the designated space for 2019 will be to create small, multifunctional rooms that can be rearranged depending on the function. These rooms can be used for informal meetings, quiet spaces, interviews, or to relax with a cup of coffee. Versatility is the key — that includes the furnishings.

photo source: Kimball

photo source: Kimball

Space that contributes to employee well-being.
Employee health and psychological well-being will play a bigger role in office design for 2019. Research shows that people who experience higher levels of well-being are more resistant to colds, have a quicker recovery time from illness, a greater life expectancy, feel less pain, are more creative, and are better at problem solving. Literally, there’s no downside for a company to create a space that makes people feel good about working there.

Blurring the lines between the workplace and the comforts of home will also continue in 2019. For example, relaxation spaces will be a big plus to employees. Comfy seating, mini fridges stocked with cold beverages, and coffee machines will be a must.

photo source: Kimball

photo source: Kimball

Experience-driven spaces.
Another trend that experts expect to see among companies other than the high-tech and startups is something called experience-driven spaces. These spaces could include such features as massage therapy, yoga studios, meditation areas, virtual reality gaming spaces, espresso bars, and even rock-climbing walls or music stages.

The melding of furniture design and technology.
The introduction of laptops, cloud, and mobile phone technology into the workplace has increased the demand for more creatively thought out workstations. In 2019 expect to see more desks and workspaces with built-in technology like air-charging ports for mobile devices, under-desk mounted CPU holders, tabletop-embedded “personal assistant” touchscreens, electronic cable management systems, even Bluetooth-enabled standing desk controllers connected to mobile apps.

photo source: Kimball

photo source: Kimball

Abstract patterns.
Plain walls are so 2018. Abstract patterns and geometric shapes will be the thing for 2019. In the halls, lobbies, and conference rooms, you'll start to see the use of bold shapes, colors, and patterns accenting the walls. Handcrafted, artisanal, and earth-based products will also be making their way into the office and wood furniture will be moving towards darker, more elegant tones.

The Second Nature trend.
The use of plants and biophilic design in office space will continue to grow. (Sorry, for the pun.) Living green walls, plants, trees, and flowers will be used more and more to bring the outside in. This once trendy fashion statement is now considered by many companies to be a “must have’ in 2019 workspace design.

Here are some other characteristics of this Second Nature trend:
• WELL certification
• Fitwell certification
• LEED certification
• Natural materials - biomorphic forms and patterns such as wood and stone
• Natural lighting
• Thermal comfort and high-quality ventilation
• Visual connections with nature

photo source: Kimball

photo source: Kimball

So, if you’re designing a new space or giving your old space a makeover for 2019, make sure you keep these new trends in mind. If you need furniture to fill that space, we know a great place where you can look.