03/06/2016 - 08:38

Scope’s office meme is clean ’n green

03/06/2016 - 08:38

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A Perth-based software and technology firm has developed what it believes is the city’s greenest office, both literally and figuratively.

Scope’s office meme is clean ’n green
GREEN: Scope Systems has utilised a combination of new technology and living features in its West Leederville office. Photos: Attila Csaszar

A Perth-based software and technology firm has developed what it believes is the city’s greenest office, both literally and figuratively.

Scope Systems has taken environmental concerns to a new level in its West Leederville office.

See more photos here.

Early last year, Scope Systems found it had outgrown its long-term Scarborough home and needed a new office to accommodate its larger team.

Founder and non-executive director Norman Pater said he identified an opportunity to address climate change through Scope System’s new premises, with the process of searching for a new office unearthing a clear intention to lighten the company’s carbon footprint.

“What we found when we started to talk about the company’s own footprint was that as a tenant, there wasn’t that much we could do,” Mr Pater told Business News.

“We had closed windows, we had an air-conditioning system that was quite dated, we had a location that wasn’t really that great from a public transport point of view, and there was a third factor in that we had grown in times of the boom and had moved two divisions out of our office. Those three factors together made us decide to build our own building that was as low impact as possible.”

Mr Pater said Scope Systems found an old warehouse in West Leederville and set about developing his vision to have the city’s greenest office.

The office utilises the latest in energy efficient technology, including a 98-kilowatt solar array on the building’s roof and LED lighting with motion sensors, while 80 per cent of the office’s lighting comes from sunlight, thanks to a 70-metre skylight.

Scope Systems also installed three living walls within the office, while nearly every desk has some sort of plant on it.

Mr Pater said the greening of the office was done in the belief that plants decrease stress while enhancing productivity.

A purging system recirculates the air in the building every night, with a large set of fans effectively allowing the office to ‘breathe’.

Outside the office, Scope Systems addressed a requirement to spend on public art by incorporating solar panels into three flower sculptures at the front of the building.

The flower sculptures, developed in collaboration with Europa Studio Australia and Kentin Engineering, generate 1.8kW of power.

However, energy efficiency at the office wasn’t the only initiative Scope has run with, with the company also focusing on better ways to get employees to the office (and home again).

Scope Systems managing director Troy Morrison said the company addressed the problem of not having enough car bays for all of its workers by providing a quality end-of-trip facility to encourage cycling to work and also subsidising public transport costs.

“We charge staff that want to drive to work to park a fair value based on the area,” Mr Morrison told Business News.

“But if you want to catch the bus or the train, we will pay for that in full.

“We subsidise the cost of the train or the bus with the money we get from the car parks.

“The impact that’s had … 80 per cent of staff previously normally would have driven to work, now that’s down to about 20 per cent.

“So for a small business, it’s a big impact in the sheer volume of traffic on the road.”

For those employees who need a car for external meetings, Scope Systems has a fleet of four electric vehicles for them to use.

“Lots of people catch the train to work, there’s nothing new about that, but with the plug-in cars and the solar power on the roof and the reimbursement and the end-of-trip facilities, it’s an interesting model,” Mr Morrison said.

Mr Pater said Scope Systems had also been working with apartment developer Psaros to help make their buildings more sustainable.

“Even though they build high rise, I wanted Psaros to really consider their buildings’ life cycle and their carbon footprint,” he said.

“They have actually totally embraced the concept and have adopted a 14-point plan on climate.

“Every apartment has access to solar power and has its own iPad power consumption system.

“The initial reaction of developers is ‘well it’s going to cost more so it’s going to impact our return’.

“But in the overall scheme of things, the difference in costs are not material.”

Energy efficiency is also emerging as a strong selling point for the city’s biggest office landlord, Brookfield Property Partners, which recently achieved a five-star Green Star rating for Brookfield Place Tower 2.

Technology in place at the 34,000-square metre tower includes daylight harvesting, light zoning and control systems, grey water harvesting, smart lifts and a generation system that produces electricity, heat and cooling in a single process.

Brookfield’s head of development, Carl Schibrowski, said feedback from tenants was that the tower was an enjoyable and efficient place to work.

“We see the innovative sustainable features built into the design as contributing to the overall attractiveness of the building and the Brookfield Place precinct,” he said.

 

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