United Way of Columbia-Willamette has served the greater Portland area for over a hundred years with a mission to “improve lives, strengthen communities and advance equity by mobilizing the caring power of people across our metro area.” When DAO Architecture presented us with the opportunity to collaborate on a recent project to reduce the size of their office space, we were more than happy to assist them in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. This consolidation will also allow United Way to rent meeting space to other non-profit organizations and generate additional funds for their programs.
Since this would be a dramatic change from their existing configuration, United Way really involved their team in making decisions for the project. By seeking out their input during the planning process, United Way employees were also more receptive to the cultural adjustments they would need to make in the new work space. After discussing the options, United Way wanted an open atmosphere with more light. Their staff would also need enough privacy to speak on the phone and reduce distractions. We determined that lower height refurbished panel systems with glass panels on top would fit these specifications.
By using refurbished panel systems, United Way was able to keep costs low while utilizing a sustainable product. The amount of labor and energy required to alter an existing product during refurbishing is 85 to 95 percent less than that required to manufacture a new product. And, since much of the product has already been manufactured, refurbishing saves the enormous amounts of energy required for production, especially when metals are kept out of the re-smelting process. Office furniture recycling extends the lives of resources already in circulation such as aluminum, steel, plastics and fiber, using them over and over to the fullest extent possible.
When addressing their ergonomic needs for the new workstations, we determined that each station would need a desk that fit the needs of that individual staff member. Employees could choose between desks installed at a standard height, a custom height or with electric adjustable height legs for sitting or standing. In order to maximize the smaller work space, we also specified a mobile pedestal with a cushioned top that doubles as storage and guest seating.
We greatly appreciate to efforts of United Way in behalf of our community and we enjoyed working with them on this project. Please consider donating to your local United Way.