Fitwel 2 Star and 3 Star Rating Award Achieved

We’re delighted to have helped RO Real Estate achieve two Fitwel Certifications in their office buildings – 1 Suffolk Way in Sevenoaks and GNR8 in Watford.

1 Suffolk Way has been awarded a Fitwel Certification System 2 Star Rating which makes RO Real Estate the first company in Kent to have a Fitwel certified building.

GNR8 is a high-end office redevelopment in Watford and it has been awarded a Fitwel Certification System 3 Star Rating. It is only the second 3 Star Fitwel certified building in the UK.

Element 4 are certified Fitwel Ambassadors; please contact us to see how we can help you to achieve this international wellbeing standard for your commercial and residential properties.

Air Quality – Government Guidance Documents Overview

Photo by Yolk CoWorking – Krakow on Unsplash

We know that environmental factors are influencing the spread of the virus that is causing the nation to stay at home.  We cannot influence the factors for the outdoor environment, but we are now starting to understand how the indoor environment can impact the spread of infectious disease.

The Government has recently released the “Role of Ventilation in Controlling SARS-CoV-2 Transmission SAGE-EMGdocument that provides guidance on how airborne disease can spread within the buildings we occupy.  One thing is clear – there is not one single solution. The key take homes from this document include: –

  • Further guidance is required across all sectors to update environment control for far field airborne aerosol transmissions, including enhanced ventilation requirements.
  • Regularly occupied buildings that consistently exceed 1500ppm CO2 should be identified and prioritised for improvement.
  • Sector guidance and practical advice is required to upskill facilities management and businesses to manage daily building environments while educating occupants.
  • Simple guidance documents are needed to further educate non ventilation experts but support guidance on practical steps that can help improve indoor spaces.
  • Investment and research are required to further understand how technology such as air purifiers and enhanced filtration can improve air quality.
  • Continuingly monitoring air quality parameters through sensor technology will provide data and insight for occupants and provide early information to when action is required to improve air quality.
  • The current development of standards such as Part F offers an opportunity to develop long standing benchmarks that will put health at the front of future ventilation design for all buildings.

These are a few of the main points raised and please download the guidance from the above link for the full details.

Element 4 welcomes this much needed guidance and recommend that businesses and industry understand how this can improve your building.  Part of our mission is to help clients deliver healthy, productive spaces through schemes such as WELL, Fitwel and RESET air.  Air quality is the foundation of each standard and service we deliver for creating healthy spaces.

In addition to our work with clients to improve indoor air quality, Element 4 are actively guiding the developing BESA ‘safe havens’ IAQ guideline document that will provide a layman’s term playbook for facilities management and building occupants across all sectors.

Please log in and join the BESA panel discussion on the 5th November to listen to industry experts and ask any questions on how we can improve your environment.

For any further information please contact our indoor air quality expert – Shaun Hill.

An update on the raffle for a good cause

In the last post, we talked about the raffle for a good cause. Today, we are going to share more information of each of the raffle prizes and the reasons why our industry friends would support the legal case that seeking a judicial review of the UK Emissions Trading Scheme.

“Season of Light II” and “Season of Light III”

These 2 pieces of original artwork by London-based artist Jane Peng were created with acrylic on canvas and pays homage to nature and the raw elements. Through her work, Jane seeks to capture the impact of life on the terrain of our own inner world. As an artist, Jane caught the attention of art galleries in Paris, Shanghai, and Singapore early on, and her works have been selected for group exhibitions in London, with more exhibitions slated for next year at marquee events such as ArtExpo New York. Her latest works will be seen next at an art auction at the Mandarin Oriental Shanghai, where Jane Peng will be the event’s feature artist. It is Jane’s hope that this piece of artwork can help light up the home or office of the raffle winner, and bring joy and contemplation over time. These paintings come ready to hang and are double varnished to ensure that it will last for generations to come.

“Protecting the health and sustainability of our planet has been something I’ve been passionate about since I was a child. Georgia is tackling an extremely important issue that will have ramifications on our society for years to come. I believe it’s a deeply worthy cause to fight for and it’s my great privilege to be able to lend my skills as an artist to this campaign.”

Jane Peng, Jane Peng Art

Deep Bio chair

The Deep Bio chair seat is made from an innovative biopolymer line of material known as Plantura, that is highly durable and can be compostable at the end of its life. 

“Anything that helps make the environment better is a good thing.  A cleaner planet should really be the goal, and for that brief 2/3 week period when the world literally stopped, we all noticed the difference of cleaner air, quieter environments and a better connection to nature. Sadly we now find ourselves in a sea of disposable masks, more plastic and even more fumes; as individuals, I believe we can all play our part in recycling. I believe if Georgia can win this case against the government, we are playing our part in getting more individuals and businesses recycling for a healthier planet.”

Natalie Rice, Sagal Group

Icarus laptop table

Icarus is a stylish, agile little table ideally suited as a casual surface to use a tablet or laptop to catch up with work, or just as a spot to place a nice cuppa. The steel base is made using circa 56% recycled content and is 100% recyclable, whilst the new Bamboo top option uses one of the most sustainable materials available. Entirely renewable, fast-growing and sustainably harvested, bamboo is 100% recyclable and CO2 negative over its life span.

“We are delighted to support Georgia with this. The environment impacts us all and whilst we endeavour to manufacture greener products we want to encourage recycling and not the easy disposal option.  There are many incinerators who adhere to high standards and have filters in place to protect the earth and also work alongside universities to find new ways of safe and environmentally friendly incineration. We would hope that Georgia can change the current ways to match those that do it the right way. It needs to be the same for everyone throughout the UK.”

Nikki Bytheway, sixteen3

Radic8 “Hextio” Air Purifier

The Hextio is a compact and portable air steriliser that deactivates viruses and improves indoor air quality.

“Having met Georgia at an industry Magazine round table on Air Quality we basically took over the whole event like we were the only ones in the room. The conversation carried on and we’ve been in touch ever since discussing projects and initiatives, ideas and technology. Georgia’s “positive disruption” is kicking ass and we’re delighted to be supporting her.”

Nathan Wood, Farmwood

Free WOD Business Membership

WOD Digital Business membership gives access to a global network of like-minded women from the workplace design industry. WOD digital is a community networking platform which allows people to make strategic business connections and stay updated and connected during these uncertain times. With free access to all our well-curated events and courses, this membership aids continuous professional growth and helps raise your profile in the industry.

“Georgia’s commitment towards making our environment safe for our children is what we support. Her tireless efforts and fights against the government and local councils to implement better ways of recycling materials and rubbish need all the attention and support and we at WOD are happy to stand by her. Her campaign and this legal case can change the future of this city, country and our children.”

Harsha Kotak, Women in Office Design

10W Fast Executive Charger

The 10W Fast Executive Charger provides a premium wireless charging experience in a beautifully designed product. Any mobile device with wireless charging capability can simply be placed onto the charger to start the fast charging process. The Executive Charger is manufactured from high-end materials with an aluminium body and tempered gorilla glass finish.

“We at Aircharge have a firm belief that over the next few years, handset manufacturers will start to remove charging cable ports which will in turn reduce the amount of charging cables that are shipped with handsets today.  We all have too many cables which eventually end up in landfill sites.  This needs to stop.  Technology will help with achieving this now and in the future.”

John Brooks, Aircharge

“I’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with Georgia at Women in Office Designs events and believe this is incredible cause she is fighting which myself and Isomi are proud to support!”

Mell Davies, Isomi

Other prizes including:

Milly Stool by MARK Product
Gower Cottage Brownies
Starbucks vouchers x 2

Raffle is £5 per ticket, and you can buy as many as you like via:

The cut-off date is 27th November 2020 and prizes will be drawn randomly and announced during the first week of December 2020 via Linked In. Lookout this place for the details of each prize and why the donor wants to support this legal case.

So what are you waiting for? – Tickets are available now – BUY! BUY! BUY! – and good luck.

Free screening event of the climate documentary ‘2040’

Please join us on 4th November at 4:30pm for a screening of the fantastic award-winning climate documentary ‘2040’ followed by a discussion panel moderated by Element 4’s Georgia Elliott-Smith. Panellists include Kat Scott from dRMM Architects (also a member of Architects Climate Action NetworkLondon Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) & UK Architects Declare), carol scott from TAIT Towers and Sian Conway, the founder of Ethical Hour Ltd.

‘2040’ is an Australian documentary directed by Damon Gameau. 2040 follows Gameau’s imagining of a future for his four-year old daughter, where climate change has been solved. Gameau travels around the world investigating numerous solutions that can contribute towards climate mitigation and imagining what a future would be like where they have been implemented at scale.

Register free for this screening event at eventbrite, and the panel discussion at

A family screening section is also available on 1st November at 4pm with free tickets available here.

Raffle for a good cause

As mentioned in some of our previous posts, our Managing Director, Georgia Elliott-Smith, has filed a legal case at the High Court seeking a judicial review of the UK Emissions Trading Scheme.

In the last couples of months, we received a lot of enquires from passionate people who would like to support the legal case. These are generous people who are wholeheartedly supporting the campaign: Nikki BythewayNatalie RiceAnna HartNathan Wood, Jane PengJohn BrooksMelanie DaviesGuy Stanley and Harsha Kotak. Georgia has already raise £20k so far and we would like to take this further by hosting a raffle with the following amazing prizes donated by our industry friends:

🔹 Laptop table from sixteen3
🔹Deep bio chair from Sagal Group
🔹 Milly stool from MARK Product
🔹 Air purifier from FARMWOOD M&E SERVICES LTD.
🔹 2 x original paintings from artist Jane Peng
🔹 Wireless charger from Aircharge
🔹 Brownies from Isomi
🔹 2 x £25 Starbucks vouchers from Stansons Group
🔹 Business membership from WOD – Women in Office Design

Raffle is £5 per ticket, and you can buy as many as you like via:

The cut-off date is 27th November 2020 and prizes will be drawn randomly and announced during the first week of December 2020 via Linked In. Lookout this place for the details of each prize and why the donor wants to support this legal case.

On Clean Air Day – A reflection on the UK Government’s effort to reduce air pollution.

Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash

Have you given your car a day off today on Clean Air Day?

Last month, during the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, we talked about the three main areas that we can act as individuals to help improve air quality: switch to renewable energy; take alternatives in transportation and; act together as a community. This month on Clean Air Day we would like to emphasis on the role of the government.

In December 2015, The Paris Agreement was adopted at the Paris climate conference (COP21).  It is the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate change agreement and the UK is among the parties stating that they would take every opportunity to reduce CO² emissions and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Over the years, the UK government has submitted numerous national climate action plans to tackle air pollution and introduced measures focussing on reducing the level of Nitrogen Dioxide in the air.  Schemes such as retrofitting of buses, heavy goods vehicles & black cabs, scrappage schemes of older polluting vehicles, and cutting speed limits on polluted motorway sections are all welcome developments.

However, the UK government is also rewriting environmental policies for an easier Brexit.  Here our Managing Director, Georgia Elliott-Smith, has filed a legal case at the High Court seeking a judicial review of the UK Emissions Trading Scheme.

As most air pollution is produced by the burning of fossil fuels and waste, one of the World Health Organisation’s global recommendations is to promote waste reduction and use incineration only when unavoidable and when emissions controls are in place. However, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has recently published a document called “The future of UK carbon pricing” setting out their plans for a new UK Emissions Trading Scheme but excluding incineration from the measures. That means that the 48 incinerators in the UK can pour over 6 million tonnes of CO² into the atmosphere every year without penalty. This in turn encourages more waste to go to incineration instead of being recycled.

Air pollution is the most significant environmental threat to health in the UK and it is a major cause of diseases such as asthma, lung cancer, stroke and coronary heart disease.

Please donate to Georgia’s legal challenge on this Clean Air Day.

Visit for more information.

Why Food Waste Matters

Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

Have you ever thrown away uneaten food? Perhaps you have bought food and left it forgotten in the fridge, the next time you take it out it has already gone bad and you chuck it into the bin. Another common scenario you may have come across in a restaurant where you order too much food that you cannot finish and give permission to the waiter to take it away. Not surprisingly that food will end up in the bin as well.

Today is International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste. Here at Element 4 we always emphasise the importance of achieving the balance among the three pillars of sustainability: environment, social and economic. Let’s see how food loss and waste affect these three elements.

Environmental impact:

When talking about food waste, the first thing that comes to people’s mind is the methane it produces when the food waste ends up in the landfill. In fact, the food waste in UK can be associated with more than 25 million tonnes of greenhouses gas emissions (GHG)1 per year. However, food waste is not just about the potent GHG emissions, but also the energy that has gone into the production process of the food, including the water and carbon footprint in food production and logistics.

Social impact:

UK is one of the most wasteful countries in Europe when it comes to food with people throwing away over 10 million tonnes2 of food each year. Meanwhile, according to Fare Share, 8.4 million people in the UK are struggling to afford to eat, and this is equivalent to the entire population of London. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has pointed out that a third of the world’s entire food supply could be saved by reducing waste and would provide enough food to feed 3 billion people3.

Economic impact:

Food waste not only has a massive economic impact on itself, but the costs to local government of collecting and treating food waste are also significant. In a report by Friends of the Earth UK, the cost of handling food waste to the UK government is estimated at over £300 million. To the surprise of many people, the majority of food waste in the UK comes from households as opposed to restaurants, hotels and businesses, including supermarkets4.

What can we do to reduce food waste?

Have a look at the following waste hierarchy, which is adapted by WRAP UK from the original EU Waste Framework Directive (2008) with steps for dealing waste and ranked according to their environmental impact.

More practical ideas of reducing food waste can be found on the following links:

1 WRAP (2020). Food surplus and waste in the UK.

2 Which? (2019). Three food waste facts everyone needs to know.

3 FAO UN (2011). Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, study conducted for the International Congress – SAVE FOOD! at Interpack 2011, Germany

4 WRAP (2020). Food surplus and waste in the UK.

International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies

Today marks the very first International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies. It emphasises the need to make further efforts to improve air quality, including reducing air pollution, to protect human health. 

World Health Organisation (WHO) data shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. Air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year; either by bad outdoor air or indoor smoke. 

There are three main areas that we as individuals can do to help improve air quality: –

1) Switch to renewable energy

It is a known fact that coal is the worst among burning fossil fuels as it releases more carbon dioxide (CO²) per unit of energy than oil or gas; however more than a third of the world’s electricity is generated by coal. If more people switch to renewable energy, this can help reduce CO² emissions and also the toxic particulates which contribute to air pollution. 

2) Taking alternatives in transportation

As the majority of cars run on either petrol or diesel, they emit CO² and other gases like Nitrogen Dioxide (NO²) from the exhaust fumes and these all contribute to air pollution and climate change. 

Walking, cycling and taking public transport are alternatives to driving and encourage more active and healthy living. Car owners can also consider switching to electric cars and consuming renewable electricity to achieve zero-emissions both ‘at the pipe’ and from the power source. 

3) Act together as a community

There are many movements going-on initiated by environmental bodies like Friends of The Earth, Green Peace and Climate Tracker. We can act together as a community and help to enforce our governments to enact upon air quality issues. 

Our Managing Director Georgia Elliott-Smith is fighting for cleaner air. Georgia has initiated a legal challenge against the government’s decision to exclude waste incinerators from its new carbon trading scheme. You can read more about her challenge in the Guardian here:

Have you looked up to the sky today? Tell us what you think about air pollution. 

What we have learned from Plastic Free July?

Photo by Dustan Woodhouse on Unsplash

“Just because you can’t see it; it doesn’t mean it’s not there”.

Have you ever realised how much waste we produce each day?  Do you know where your waste ends up? Most of the time we do not think much about our daily consumption of products and the associated waste but if we spend some time thinking about it logically, even though our waste disappears from our sight; it still exists somewhere on the planet. 

According to Greyer et al. (2017)1, as of 2015 an estimated 79% of global plastic waste was discarded in landfills or the natural environment, 12% was incinerated and only 9% recycled. Another publication issued by UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)2 in 2015 highlighted that on average 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans every year. These figures are alarming and as a citizen of Planet Earth, is there something we can do?

You might think the developing world is mainly responsible for poor waste practices, but the London average household recycling rate is less than 30%, despite around 80% of what we throw away being recyclable.

As we approach the end of Plastic Free July, I would like to share this shocking video of plastic waste discarded in the Mediterranean Sea: –

Here are a few ideas we can all try to help minimise plastic waste: –

  • Identify the types and quantity of plastic you use. Is there more you can recycle? Consider buying products or food in bulk to minimise excessive plastic packing.
  • Replace disposable products with reusable ones. For example, using reusable bags when shopping decreases single-use plastic bags but you could also try using reusable drinking straws, cutlery and coffee cups.
  • Switch to brands that use planet-friendly packaging and materials. More and more brands are switching to packaging made from recycled and / or biodegradable materials. Try to develop a habit of looking at the packaging / content label and choose wisely to help with reducing plastic waste.
  • Contact your favourite brands by social media or email asking them to reduce their packaging or change to more sustainable practices. You never know, you could be the tenth person to ask the same question that week and that’s how we start to show businesses there’s profit in being green.

Plastic waste reduction requires a shift in both industry and individual practices. We need to make employees and communities aware of the need to adopt the 5 Rs suggested by Bea Johnson (2013)3: –

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse / Repair
  • Recycle
  • Rot (applicable for compostable plastics only)

We can voice the need to reduce plastic waste to politicians and government who have the power to enact policies to reduce the production and consumption of plastic. For example, imposing bans on plastic products including single-use cups and cutlery and levying a green tax on certain single-use plastics. For any policies put in place, government and organisations should continuously monitor and evaluate the performance and communicate them openly to help curb plastic pollution in the environment.

1 Geyer, R., Jambeck, J. R., & Law, K. L. (2017). Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made. Science Advances, 3(7), e1700782.

2 Jambeck, J.R. et al. (2015). Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Science, 347(6223), pp. 768-771. 

3 Johnson’s, Bea (2013). Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste

People from different parts of the world dialling in for the Sustainability Kick-Start Workshop

Our Agents of Change Programme has come to an end! Over the last 4 weeks we have been sharing questions around sustainability such as: –

•        Why become an Agent of Change?

•        Who is ready to build a community?

•        What will you do?

•        How we can all make changes?

We interviewed other Agents of Change and hope their personal stories inspire more people to make a positive change in their organisation or community.

We were pleased to see so many people join us for our Sustainability Kick-Start workshop including delegates from Canada, India, Iraq, Mexico, South Africa and across Europe.  We want to thank everyone for sharing ideas and questions that sparked off some great debate.  Due to the constraints of time we could not answer every question on the webinar but everyone is welcome to join our #AgentsOfChange LinkedIn group to continue the conversation.

Here at Element 4 we want to get people inspired and motivated to make real change within the environment and encourage greater sustainability. Let us know what topics interest you helping us to plan future webinars!