How to: Environmentally Sustainable Retail Shopfitting

In the wake of current climate change conversations, many of us feel powerless. When global issues arise, it can be tempting to convince yourself that nothing you do makes a difference. That’s simply not the case. When it comes to sustainability, fitting out a retail space can often rack up quite the carbon footprint – but there are ways to drastically reduce your impact on the environment during this process. We’re assembled some clever tips to help you on your sustainable retail shopfitting journey – because contrary to a certain singing amphibian’s advice, it is easy being green. 

Go for raw materials

Let’s start at the heart of your sustainable retail shopfitting journey – the materials you’re building with. Going for raw materials is an eco-conscious choice that can help to connect you and your customers back to the earth, creating a calm and grounding atmosphere. Pre-finished or recycled timber is a great place to start – it offers a distinct visual vibe that can be quite eye-catching. If you prefer things more polished, you can opt to seal the timber with a solvent-based or synthetic product for a green alternative.

 

If you’re starting from scratch, concrete flooring is a fantastic sustainable construction option. It’s extremely versatile, offering the opportunity to customise colour, polish, and stain to adapt to your specific fit-out. Another handy material to keep an eye out for is recyclable steel – this is just another small addition that can make a big difference, especially if you are using large volumes in your fit-out. 

Get illuminated with energy-efficient lighting

When it comes to saving energy, lighting is one of the easiest ways to do it. Despite the higher up-front cost compared to metal halide and fluorescent globes, LED lights pay for themselves over time. They last up to 50,000 hours and have lower power consumption, meaning you reap the benefits when electricity bills roll around. Energy efficient lighting technology also helps to keep things eco, as the bulbs emit significantly less UV radiation than traditional bulbs.

 

Not only are LEDs better for the environment, but they also provide you with a whole new world of lighting styles for your retail space. LED lighting products range from backlights, strip lights, and downlights right through to rings and lines, so you can create endless display combinations to complement your visual merchandising.

Paint the town eco

If you’re about to slap a coat of paint on anything in your space, put down the brush and first ask yourself – is it eco? Yep, it turns out that eco-friendly paint does exist! Using a water-based low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) painting solution can greatly reduce negative health and environmental impacts during your fit-out process

 

Biodegradable acrylic-based paints are an eco alternative to solvent-based paints, and an extensive variety of paint brands stock them. More perks include minimal odour and a scuff-resistant finish, not to mention the wide variety of shades on offer. Most of these paints can be used on walls, floors, interior and exterior doors, trims, and window frames, so you know you’ll get your money’s worth. 

Add a splash of greenery

Not only is horticulture so hot right now, but adding plants to your retail space (if appropriate) can actually do a world of good. There are specific types of plants that are biologically engineered to clear the air – so you can potentially make your fitout more beautiful while also helping the atmosphere. If you’ve got the space to spare, consider going for a whole green wall – they look pretty spectacular. 

 

Some air-cleaning varietals to look out for include:

  • Devil’s ivy
  • Dwarf date palm
  • Peace lily
  • Philodendron
  • Spider plants

Remember to recycle

The process of recycling isn’t just important when fitting out your retail space – it’s a habit that you should instil within all of your business practices. While you’re completing your fitout, brush up on the materials that you’re using and whether they can be recycled. If so, make sure that everyone involved in the fitout process is across your recycling plan. Provide clearly labeled waste receptacles so that labourers know where and how to dispose of materials. 

 

Carry these principles over into the everyday operations of your business. If you have an office with staff, provide them with adequate training and appropriate bins to recycle properly. Try to keep all of your communications digital and only print if it’s absolutely necessary.

Doing anything is better than doing nothing

Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of changes that can be made, or afraid you can’t afford to make them? Just remember, every little thing you can do helps. Start small and work your way up – you’ll have a clean, green shop fit-out in no time. 

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