We’ve recently moved to our new headquarters and showroom at the in the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority, and what a ‘move’ this has been!
We are now all stationed in an office space that is among the first in the UAE interior design and fit-out world to be eligible for international LEED gold certification, based on green standards that we already offer to our clients.
This was not an easy task, I must admit, but the benefits of becoming a leader in the eco-conscious building industry has definitely been worth the effort. There were some initial challenges…
Designing in accordance with the LEED rating system was a steep learning curve for us all. The greatest challenge was to design within set LEED and budget parameters while maintaining the functionality of the interiors and without compromising on the look and feel of the office.
The second challenge was working with the interior designers and project team to execute the office interior fit out in terms of finding suppliers and sourcing materials that adhere to the strict LEED specifications. And finally there is the preparation, compilation, and submission of LEED documentation for final review by the US Green Building Council prior to award of LEED certification.
In saying all of this, our team now feels ‘at home’ in the office space and we have never looked back! We now have central building management control system, we use LEED certified furniture and products as well as materials with high recycle content. Our premises now has water efficient fixtures to reduce water consumption by more than 32%, and building lighting energy has been reduced by about 54.98%. To create a healthier working environment, ventilation has been increased, providing about 30% more fresh air than the minimum specified in the standards.
Most importantly, I feel like the office environment that we now work in is much more positive… the lighting that we use now is less harsh with an abundance of natural light and open space which I have no doubt, has increased our productivity levels.
All wood used in the project was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, in keeping with the responsible management of the world’s forests. We have also designed the whole workplace to have easy access to public transport as well as provide bicycle storage spaces with changing room facilities for all of our members of staff. We have even introduced car pooling to our staff to help reduce pollution and the strain on the local infrastructure.
Having energy and environmentally friendly interiors is extremely important to Summertown and we hope to spread the word about the opportunities that are available in Dubai. If Summertown, as an interior design and fit out contractor, is to design and execute green interiors for others than we ourselves must ‘walk the talk’ and LEED by example.