The Somerset County Business Partnership (SCBP) serves as the county’s Chamber of Commerce. Having been located in an old bank building in the center of the county for decades, the SCBP came to realize that they had a twofold set of needs that needed to be addressed through a facility upgrade.
First, the common areas needed to be welcoming, serving as a physical location for a county-based information depot. The conference facilities had to serve the needs not only of the SCBP, but also be available for other county groups and businesses to use. SSP worked closely with SCBP staff to allocate information zones throughout the common / lobby space, transforming a previously “leftover” space into a county hub. SSP also provided full interior design for the refresh and conversion of the old meeting room into a more appropriate conference center.
Second, the SCBP staff office and workstation layouts were in need of updating and converting to be treated as a showcase. Long a proponent of sustainable design, SCBP needed to physically express how interior work can be done in a sustainable, “green” manner, following the County’s “High Performance Building Program” guidelines. SCBP understands that a healthy, happy workforce is a vital component of a productive, successful business in the long-term, and needed to be a model for its membership.
SSP reconfigured SCBP’s existing space using ‘green’ design practices that maximize beneficial outcomes as well as solutions that are effective, elegant and affordable. The design creates a balance between traditional commercial considerations, long term resource use (primarily energy), and employee well-being and productivity. The sourcing of materials themselves was a crucial element of this green office space. Materials used in the SCBP renovation, such as low and no-volatile organic compound (VOC) paint and flooring, and green certified furnishings and finishes, were selected because they contribute to improved air quality and are also easy to clean and maintain, given that cleaning products themselves can be a major source of pollutants. All of these factors have been shown to reduce absenteeism and contribute to the health of all occupants.