Buildings are responsible for 37% of global carbon emissions. But the commercial real estate industry is seeking to reduce its environmental footprint. We are seeing a rise in building design trends that promote healthier and more efficient spaces.

This is great news for all people, plants, and animals living in the built environment. After all, studies have shown that even small environmental acts can have a big impact. Like this patch of native greenery in Melbourne that increased insect biodiversity by 7x!

Take a look at some of the top sustainable design trends in commercial real estate today.


    When you think of sustainable buildings, energy efficiency is probably one of the first elements to come to mind. Energy-efficient HVAC systems, LED lighting, and smart building technologies are all popular tools for optimizing energy usage.

    To take it a step further, buildings can incorporate renewable energy sources. Using solar panels or wind turbines to power your building can significantly reduce its carbon footprint.


    Green building certifications like LEED, BREEAM, BOMA BEST, and WELL are increasingly popular. These certification systems are industry standard programs used to assess a building’s sustainability performance. Getting certified has a host of benefits including increased property value and tenant attraction.

Did you know nature-based solutions like bee habitats and gardens can earn points towards major green building certifications?

Discover how many points you could earn based on your certification and region. Book a chat with a member of our team.

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    Engaging your building’s tenants and their employees in your sustainability practices fosters a sense of belonging and responsibility.

    This is why environmental workshops and team building activities play a major role in Alvéole’s nature-based solutions. Team members can subscribe to updates about their building’s bees on the MyHive app. They can take part in activities and learn everything from bee biology to how to extract honey from a beehive.

    Hands-on activities are an effective way to get tenants to care about the environmental efforts your building is making.

    READ: 7 ways to drive tenant engagement and wellness with nature-based amenities


    Net zero buildings only consume as much energy as they can produce. To achieve this, they often rely on a combination of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy generation.


    Passive design strategies maximize natural heating, cooling, and ventilation. Features may include well-placed windows for natural lighting and ventilation. Green roofs offer a passive cooling solution, reducing indoor temperatures in warmer months and moderating the heat island effect.

    READ: 6 reasons to install an urban garden on your commercial property


    Biophilic design incorporates natural elements, like plants and natural light, to connect building occupants with nature. The goal of biophilic design is to:

    • Improve physical and mental well-being
    • Boost creativity and productivity
    • Make the built environment more sustainable

    Studies show that biophilic design elements in offices can reduce sick leave, increase job satisfaction, and support employee retention and attraction.

    READ: 7 tips for using biophilic design in your office


    Do your part to encourage the people going to and from your building to use sustainable transportation. Bike-friendly amenities like bike storage, showers, and changing facilities make coming to your building a whole lot easier for cyclists.


    You can’t have a sustainable building without healthy and happy building occupants. Air quality, natural lighting, and opportunities to connect with nature are all proven to have a positive effect.

    A report on the global impact of biophilic design in the workplace took a closer look at the benefits. Employees working in offices with natural greenery saw a 15% rise in productivity over a three month period. This was compared to those working with no natural elements in their environment.

    READ: 3 ways interacting with nature improves your health


    Commercial buildings can significantly reduce their water consumption by using strategies like low-flow fixtures, harvesting rainwater, and recycling greywater.


    Many buildings are implementing strategies to reduce the amount of waste they produce. These include:

    • Implementing recycling and composting programs
    • Properly managing e-waste
    • Reducing single-use items
    • Many of the other initiatives listed above

Ready to bring a new sustainable initiative to your building?

Sustainable design is here to stay. Alvéole’s nature-based solutions spread environmental awareness, connect people with nature, and boost building value.

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