Sustainability: a time saver

Sustainability strives for saving natural resources so that we utilize them at a much smarter rate than is usual nowadays, so that we get more from each pound, kW, Euro spent on something. Time is no different from energy or water. It must be treated with the same importance as all other natural resources as time is the most natural resource that we all possess.

In fact, all natural resources are generated and provided by the planet Earth, and time is the only one that is “generated” by us. We don’t really have to move a finger to make it. Nevertheless, with a constant feeling that we are running out of time, an urgent need for time saving is sticking to mind. No wonder that Sustainability aims at providing time-saving opportunities, in addition to all other savings.

Time is a glue that sticks Sustainability fundamentals (environmental, social, economic) into one working piece, with the main focus on social – human time savings

Here are the main ways how Sustainable Buildings save time:

Commuting time can significantly drop due to convenient building location and available means of transportation – walking, cycling, public transport. Personal cars are then one of the choices, but not the only option. Such favour situation provides building users, visitors, staff with multiple options to model their individual commuting routes and save time on daily basis. 10 minutes saved a day, totals 5 working days a year!

For instance, one of the most convenient commuting options in Helsinki is city trains. They connect residential suburbs with the commercial city center where most offices are located.

Morning commute by city train (Helsinki)

In some cases, the main lobbies or main building entrance area are fitted with  public transport information for building users’ convenience. Here is an example from an office building in King’s Cross, London:

Info about public transport in the lower right corner (King’s Cross, London)

Amenities in near proximity to the building also save time as the main needs (food, cash, postal services, pharmacy, etc.) can be reached on foot or bike within minutes. No need to drive somewhere for lunch. The rest of lunch break can be enjoyed walking in a park nearby instead of placing your car in parking garage.

Post box is one of the key amenities in Helsinki. The nearer, the better

Alternative working schedules, although are not directly related to Sustainable Buildings, can be great time-savers if utilized by building occupants. For instance, when working from home, there is no need to get dressed for work and travel the whole way to the office and back. Such “Home Office” technique can save ~1 h/day, and if used at least once a month (usual corporate practice), saves 12 hours a year i.e., almost 2 workdays annually! Similar benefits are associated with compact workweek – working 4 longer days and having a 3-day long weekend.

Rasita’s home office in Vilnius

Alternative working means, such as conference call or virtual skype meeting instead of the traditional face-to-face meeting saves lots of time! Even if the meeting takes place in the same city, it takes at least 30 more minutes to get to the venue and come back, depending of the city size. When bigger cities or even different countries are in question, time savings are even greater.

In addition to these direct time savings, mentioned above, additional benefits can also be pointed out. Not only time you spend on commuting, getting to your favorite lunch place or grocery store after work is what matters. It is also important HOW you spend that time “on the go”. If you bike to office, you not only commute to work, but also exercise, which eventually saves time you would elsewise spend on exercising. If you walk by a nice scenery (lake, forest, park…) on your way to work, that’s a bonus you get for choosing to walk instead of driving. And finally, the accumulated time savings result in days off that can be enjoyed in numerous ways… 🙂

Afternoon chess in Barcelona

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