Energy Efficient Offices

Offices are energy-consuming buildings; between heating and cooling, lighting, and technology and equipment required to run a business, the amount of energy used continues to rise. 

With more builders and contractors committing to sustainable building, commercial offices are becoming more green, or environmentally friendly. Green buildings are designed and constructed with sustainable materials that make the building more energy-efficient and reduces energy costs.

Business owners don’t often have control over how the building was built, unless moving into a brand new development. But there are things every office can do to maximize energy conservation and reduce costs. 

HVAC 

Space heating accounts for 25% of energy use in commercial buildings, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Ideally, a building will have proper insulation to help maintain a comfortable temperature. In older buildings, this cannot always be achieved. Whether you are leasing office space or own the building, maintaining your HVAC system can help decrease energy use and save money. Here are some ways to make the most of your HVAC:

  • Clean filters. Dirty filters slow down airflow. Check any filters regularly and change as necessary.
  • Program heating and cooling. Program the temperature of the office. After employees leave for the day, the heat (or AC) does not need to be turned up as high. 
  • Equipment tune-up. To make sure all systems are working efficiently, get a tune-up from an HVAC professional. 

Lighting

Lighting is one of the easiest ways to make energy-saving changes to your office space. Because lighting makes up 10% of the total energy use in buildings, it is worth the effort.

  • Motion sensor lights. Motion sensor lights are ideal for areas that are occupied during certain times of the day, including parking lots, stairways, and meeting rooms. 
  • Make the most of natural light. Builders are taking more advantage of natural light. Through a process called daylighting, sunlight illuminates buildings, cutting energy use and costs. This provides an added bonus – sunlight increases positive moods of everyone in the workspace. 
  • LED lights. LED bulbs last longer than fluorescent and incandescent lighting, and reduce the amount of energy used. 

Office Technology and Appliances

Offices are filled with technology and appliances – from computers and copiers to refrigerators and microwaves. Being mindful in your selection of these items can significantly reduce energy usage. 

  • Laptops. Laptops use up to 90% less energy than desktops. Depending on how many people work on computers in your office, this can make a significant difference.
  • ENERGY STAR. ENERGY STAR appliances, computers, copiers, televisions, and even fans and thermostats, are the most efficient equipment for the office. 

Minimizing energy consumption in the workplace is beneficial for both the environment and your business savings. As we take on new developments, we are mindful of sustainable practices and work to make each building as environmentally friendly as possible. 

 

Merrill Lynch to join 350 Goose Lane Office Park

The Office Park at 350 Goose Lane in Guilford signed a new tenant for Building C – before the scheduled build begins. 

Bank of America Merrill Lynch will occupy the entire third floor of Building C, for a total of 7,472 square feet of office space. With the build scheduled to begin this fall, Horton Group will work closely with Merrill Lynch to customize their office. This will allow the wealth management company the opportunity to create an optimal office floor plan.

The professional campus consists of three buildings. Building A was an existing building completely renovated by the Horton Group. Buildings B and C are brand new Type II-B construction

Customized Office Plans

Like Merrill Lynch, many of the tenants in buildings A and B signed on before construction was complete, allowing for the design of each office space to match the needs of tenants. 

Customization of work environments is becoming more critical to employers, as research shows that well-constructed office plans and green space can increase productivity and job satisfaction. In the offices at 350 Goose Lane, we have incorporated open layouts, glass walls, private meeting areas, collaborative workspaces, and waiting rooms. Each unique space meets the needs of our tenants. 

Unmatched Campus Green Space

Set on 16 acres, 350 Goose Lane Office Park was once home to Wilber & King Nursery. The impeccable grounds have been maintained for the use of green space by tenants in all three buildings. A beautiful courtyard, with outdoor tables, umbrellas, and wifi, allows people to take an outdoor lunch break or even work outside. All three buildings have views of the courtyard and on-site pond. Green space has been shown to increase feelings of contentment at work. 

“What makes the property really amazing is the amount of green space,” stated Horton Group President Kenny Horton. “It’s not the typical pavement, concrete, and walkways you see with other campuses.”

The Horton Group is thrilled to welcome Bank of America Merrill Lynch to this incredible campus. 

6 Tips for Creating a Productive Office Space

Most people spend more time at the office than their own home throughout the week. When moving into a new office, think beyond cubicles and desks so that you and your employees can be productive in an inspiring and comfortable atmosphere. 

In our commercial projects, Horton Group continues to work closely with a range of business owners to design and build their dream offices.  At our current commercial development, 350 Goose Lane Office Park, we have built offices for large national corporations, small business owners, and everything in between.

Below are six tips for creating a productive office space, no matter what industry you work in.

Ask for Employee Input

Ask your employees what their dream office would look like. You won’t be able to incorporate all of their ideas, but if you find out that 90% of the people working for you would utilize standing desks, for example, you can determine how to fit a couple into your office space. 

When employees are given the opportunity to set up their own workspace, they have more satisfaction and better performance at work compared to employees who have no control over their environment. 

Traffic flow

Utilizing the space efficiently is essential no matter what size office you have. Consider how people will move from work areas to meeting rooms, the bathroom, and kitchen areas. Keeping these common areas clear of clutter makes it much easier to move around the office.  Traffic flow is especially important if you have customers or patients coming in and out of the office all day. 

Don’t Neglect the Basics: Lighting, Noise, and Temperature

We’ve all been uncomfortable or distracted while on the job. The more you can eliminate small annoyances, the better. This means paying attention to lighting, noise, and temperature in the office. 

Natural light is ideal, but not always possible. In spaces without windows, opt for overhead lighting options that mimic natural light. Unnecessary noise at work can decrease productivity and increase headaches. Ask your builder or contractor what can be done to eliminate noise from other offices. Finally, make sure the temperature can be easily controlled in the office. 

Variety of Workspaces

A variety of workspace options is essential in increasing productivity. Some parts of the day may require an independent work station where people can tune out the rest of the office and tackle important phone calls or deadlines. Other times employees may need to connect with coworkers in a collaborative meeting area or a step into a quiet room to decompress. By incorporating numerous spaces to work in, people can move around throughout the day and tailor the space to their work needs. 

Greenspace

Whenever possible, incorporate green space. A beautifully landscaped property can include an additional workspace in good weather. The benefits of green space for employees include increased job satisfaction and decreased stress. 

Plan for Growth

As a business owner, chances are you have a 1, 5, and 10-year plan. Will the office you are creating today be able to hold your vision for the future? Take into consideration the fact that you will expand, leaving some wiggle room for reorganization. 

 

What are Common Area Maintenance (CAM) fees?

Commercial leases can come with Common Area Maintenance (CAM) fees, which help the landlord pay for upkeep on the property’s common areas. While CAM fees are common in leases, they can vary from space to space and year to year. When signing a lease for a commercial space, be sure you understand all parts of the Common Area Maintenance fees.

What do CAM Fees Cover?

As the term suggests, CAM fees help to pay for the cost and upkeep of common areas in the building and grounds of a commercial property. Common areas can include hallways, shared bathrooms, lobbies, elevators, as well as the parking lot and landscaping. CAM fees in a lease typically include regular maintenance to the property and building, but can also consist of emergency repairs, security systems, signage, insurance, and in some instances salaries of administrative staff.

Variable CAM Fees

If you have a lease with variable CAM fees, this means the fees you are charged can increase based on factors outlined in the contract. If the factors are not explicitly stated, find out what they are from your landlord and get them in writing. You should also find out if there is a cap to how high the fees will go.

Flat CAM Fees

Flat CAM fees in an agreement mean the fees are fixed, and will not adjust up or down. Depending on the lease, these fees can be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually. Sometimes, the costs of major renovations are separate from flat CAM fees. If this is the case, determine if there are scheduled renovations happening in the future.

With commercial leases, there is not a standard on what can and cannot be included in CAM fees. While most landlords will not take advantage of their tenants, it is important to always carefully read your lease and get clarification on any items that are not explicitly stated.

 

Access and Security in Commercial Buildings

Commercial buildings, especially those with multiple tenants, have people coming in and out all day long. Access needs to be convenient for clients and customers, while security needs to be a top priority for all involved.

With technology and multiple options, both access and security can be achieved in any commercial building.

Locks

Upgraded locks are essential for security for both small and large commercial spaces. This can consist of a regular key and lock, or a key fob, which allows access through a small hardware device. If you are in a building with a front entrance, find out what type of lock secures the front, as well as your specific office space. At 350 Goose Lane Office Park, the front entrance of the buildings require a key fob to get in the building after hours, and individual tenants have either a traditional key or key fob access to their own office.

Surveillance Cameras

Surveillance cameras provide security when monitored correctly. By installing surveillance cameras to cover entry points, exits, and common areas, and monitoring the cameras regularly, tenants and those coming to the office will be getting an extra layer of security.

Security Guards

Depending on the size and use of the commercial development, security guards may be essential. This can come in the form of a security booth you check in at as you drive onto the property, guards circulating the grounds and buildings, or both.

Another option is utilizing virtual security guards with a remote video monitoring service. Virtual monitoring services can be set up at any location in or outside of your commercial building.  When a suspicious incident is identified, the monitoring service can take steps to determine if it is a false alarm and contact law enforcement when necessary.

Access Control

Access control systems can help you authorize who can enter your building. Smart cards or key fobs are used to allow access into a building or office suite. This also allows for tracking who is in the building at different times throughout the day.

Safety is at the top of the priority list for business owners. Always know your options when you sign a lease and implement necessary security measures when moving to a new office space.

 

Office Space: Collaborative Conference Rooms

What do you envision when you think of conference rooms? Many people still picture a large room with empty walls and a large table with chairs. In today’s collaborative workplaces, meeting areas and conference rooms are taking on many different designs.

Determine Size Needs

If you are designing your office space, first determine the need you have for meetings. Smaller rooms can be utilized for more intimate meetings with two to six people. These spaces can also be used for brainstorming sessions, focus work, one-on-one sessions and phone or video conferencing.

Large conference rooms may still be needed for management sessions or company-wide meetings, but the layout doesn’t have to be traditional. Consider comfortable seating surrounding a central area. Being in a relaxed space can make people feel more at ease, and therefore more willing to share thoughts and ideas.

Of course, the traditional conference room still holds its purpose for larger and more formal corporations.

Purpose of Meeting Rooms

There’s a variety of reasons companies need meeting areas. Are you bringing outside clients into your office? Are you holding management sessions to make decisions for the company? Do employees need space to collaborate on projects?

The purpose of your meeting areas will help you determine the style layout of each space. Many offices that rely heavily on collaboration opt for meeting areas with glass walls. Collaborative areas may also need items such as a large whiteboard for brainstorming.

For larger, company-wide meetings, consider using the traditional table and chairs with a focal point for presentations. A horseshoe or teardrop shaped table allows everyone at the table to see more easily.

Smart Conference Rooms

Technology is essential in any meeting space. To make your meetings as functional and efficient as possible, investing in the technology your team needs can save everybody time.

A wireless presentation system, such as an Apple TV, allows you to display presentations, share a computer screen, and do video conferences easily, making it the most common piece of technology for meeting rooms. For a large company, utilizing meeting room scheduling software eliminates double booking. Companies that want to take the whiteboard to the next level, interactive boards, such as Google Jamboard, allows for multiple users and transferring the project to a computer or mobile device.

350 Goose Lane Office Park allows tenants to design their office layout. The Horton Group works to provide what your company or office needs to

 

Ribbon Cutting at 350 Goose Lane Office Park

Last week, The Horton Group held a Ribbon Cutting for Building B at 350 Goose Lane Office Park. The Shoreline Chamber of Commerce helped kick off the event before guests and tenants mingled and enjoyed refreshments throughout the 16,000 square foot building. They were joined by tenants of the building: One + Company,  Company Cubed, Altman Orthopaedics, Newor Media, and American Cruise Lines, each with a unique office set up that best represents the type of atmosphere desired by each company.

Building B is the second of three buildings on a professional campus that was once home to Wilber & King Nursery. The Horton Group has kept the integrity of the site by first renovating the existing 4,200 square foot Building A, which opened in 2017, and constructing two new buildings (Buildings B and C). The new construction consists of Type II non-combustible steel and concrete structures. Building C, a three-story 24,000 square foot building, is currently being constructed.

While developing 350 Goose Lane Office Park, The Horton Group paid particular attention to the green space surrounding the buildings. Tenants can enjoy the onsite pond, spacious courtyard, and beautiful landscaping. Studies have shown that green space in commercial development has significant benefits for both employers and employees. The Horton Group knew that the former nursery would provide the perfect site for a new office park, combining state-of-the-art building design and ample outdoor space.

Interested in Building C at 350 Goose Lane Office Park? Contact us for details.

Types of Signage for Commercial Leases

Having your business logo on the building you work in makes good sense. It allows clients or patients to quickly find you and is a form of advertisement. This is especially true if your building can be seen from a highway or busy intersection.

If you own the building, you are free to put your company logo where you want it. But if you lease commercial space, signage needs to be discussed with your landlord before you sign a lease. Determine what type of signage is offered to you as a tenant. Don’t assume you will get the same type of signage as other tenants, because it often depends on the space available.

Types of signage

There are several types of signage that you may be able to get if you are in a commercial building with other tenants. The size, type, and location of signage rights should all be clarified in your lease.

  • Building signage. When available, landlords will offer signage right on the building. If you are in a strip mall type of building, stores and business will usually be able to get their signage on the building or front entrance. In a commercial space in a multi-level building, this becomes harder to accomplish. As a sole tenant or main tenant occupying multiple floors in one building, you may have exclusive building signage rights, meaning your logo would be the only one displayed directly on the building.
  • Monument signage. Commercial buildings often have a monument near the road entrance to display the tenants. Monument space is limited to a certain number of slots, so there is no guarantee that your company’s logo will be placed there if it is not in the lease. In addition to whether or not your logo will be on the monument, you should also address where on the monument your logo will be displayed and the size of the signage, as some monuments offer different proportions.
  • Directory or Suite. If your commercial building has a lobby, find out what type of signage is there to guide people to the correct office space. A directory or suite signage will give company names as well as suite numbers. Find out if this signage is all the same font, or if your actual logo can be used here.
  • Door signage. Once people get to your suite, signage at the door or on the wall next to your door will let them know they are in the right spot. Your lease should explain the size and location of signage at your office space.

Signage directs clients to you. Make sure you consider all the types of signage you want when you move into a new space.

Benefits of Glass Walls in Offices

Open office spaces were highly sought after a few years ago. Now, many offices want to blend the open office feel with some space for privacy or sound barriers. While nobody wants to go back to working in a cubicle, many people felt distracted in a completely open office.  

What is the compromise? Companies want their employees to be able to work efficiently and effectively – with time for collaboration and space to focus. To meet all of these needs, many offices are incorporating glass walls or partitions.

Glass walls can create private meeting areas, conference rooms, or a partition while still appearing open and inviting. This allows for collaboration while still allowing for private conference or phone call areas.

We have incorporated glass in many of our client’s offices at 350 Goose Lane Office Park. A doctor’s office has the traditional sliding glass to separate the waiting area from the receptionist office. Another space has a podcast room with a glass wall and door so others can see in while shows are being recorded. We have also built small offices and conference rooms with glass walls.

The benefits of using glass walls or partitions in office spaces include:

  • Communication. The glass allows for an open feel in an office space. People can see when you are available to collaborate and are more apt to ask a question or share a thought when others are visible.
  • Privacy. The flip side of collaboration is privacy – most offices have workers who need both. Glass offices or conference rooms allow for some privacy. By adding in curtains or blinds, these spaces feel even more private when needed. Another option is frosting the glass, so it is not as easy to see into a room.

  • Light. By replacing traditional walls with glass walls, light is able to stream through the entire office. Natural light is beneficial in improving mood and focus.

Many people wonder about how sound travels when using glass to separate spaces. There are types of glass that are more soundproof than others. You will also want to consider the ceiling. An open, industrial style ceiling will enable sound to travel and echo more, while a drop-down ceiling with soundproof ceiling tiles will help to keep sound in.

When deciding what type of layout you want in your office, speak with your contractor about what can be done, so your office is functional for your needs.

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