It depends. Small, separate garden offices like the O-Pod are becoming ever popular with telecommuting enthusiasts and green entrepreneurs around the world (Europe in particular). These small, independent buildings are often situated in the home garden to provide not only physical separation from home life, but also to provide a pleasant and visually appealing view to the worker within.
People are attracted to these types of office alternatives for a variety of reasons. Some like the fact that building a garden office is cheaper than adding a room to an existing home. Others appreciate the ability to immerse themselves in a botanical environment.
But are these garden offices actually an eco-friendly alternative for a small green home business? There certainly are some environmental advantages. For starters, round buildings are supposed to be more energy efficient than square or rectangular ones, so it may reduce your work-time utility bills. Additionally, if a garden office is substituted for a long, fuel-intensive commute into an office, than working from home can reduce your commuting greenhouse gas emissions tremendously.
- Don’t consume resources to build a separate office for yourself if your existing house already has plenty of space to accommodate your home office.
- Be sure to select eco-friendly materials like FSC-certified woods, double- or triple-pane windows, sustainable flooring like recycled carpet, low-VOC paints, and eco-friendly furnishings.
- Situate your garden office close enough to your house so that you can walk or cycle to it every single day. There’s no sense building an eco-pod office that requires a vehicle commute.
- Ensure that you have adequate insulation for your particular climate to minimize the use of heating and cooling energy consumption.
- Design the space to use natural light as much as possible, and then install energy efficient lighting to reduce how much energy you need for illumination.
- Be sure to install power strips and other features that help you shut everything that would consume energy off when you leave for the day.
- If your home is going to be unoccupied for the day while you’re in your garden office, be sure to turn off lights, heating, and cooling in your main house to minimize wasted energy.
So if you’re interested in building one of these O-Pods or garden offices for yourself, you can find plans and designs online. But if you want a tightly-built, professional result, you may want to depend on the experts. If you need more inspiration about how to build your own garden office, check out Alex Johnson’s book Shedworking: The Alternative Workplace Revolution.
Images Via O-Pod