Congratulations to the Office of the Vice President for Research for becoming the first to achieve a Green Office Certification and for being the pilot office for this new campus program. “Being the first department on campus to earn the certification is an honor, and is a tremendously proud moment for us,” said Mark DeVore, Research Administrator.
The Green Office Certification is a new initiative from the Office of Sustainability designed to engage faculty and staff with the University’s strategic goals of reducing carbon emissions by 50% per square foot and increasing waste diversion to 67%, both by 2030.
The Green Team at OVPR has been hard at work this year placing extra recycling bins in their conference rooms, educating the staff about what is recyclable, promoting the use of reusable k-cups and switching from individual bottled water to shared coolers. They have been pleasantly surprised with the support they have received from their office regarding some of these changes.
“Reusable k-cups have been a big hit with our office; staff members claim the coffee tastes better and fresher than the disposable alternative,” said DeVore.
The OVPR Green Team played an integral role in developing and refining the certification program. “Their feedback was extremely helpful in understanding how a certification program would be implemented in a large office,” said Erin Hafner, Programs Manager in the Office of Sustainability. “Together, we were able to shape the program into one that sets a high standard of sustainability while still being streamlined and feasible.”
The certification process covers five categories: education, energy, waste, transportation, and purchasing. Points can be earned for actions such as using smart strips, regularly reminding co-workers to be green through email, using reusable towels, and encouraging the use of public transportation or carpooling. Partial credit is available, as well as ‘innovation’ credit for creative solutions to further sustainability efforts above and beyond the requirements.
There are three levels of certification: Leaf One, Leaf Two, and Leaf Three. Leaf One denotes that 40% of the total points available have been received, Leaf Two denotes 75% of the points, and Leaf Three denotes 95% plus at least one innovation point. OVPR received a Leaf Two rating. Certified offices have the opportunity to re-certify in future years in order to increase their rating.
In order to be certified, an office will be audited by a member of the Office of Sustainability’s staff based on the checklist available here. To initiate the process for your own office, please complete the checklist and submit it to the Office of Sustainability. If you have questions, please email us at any time.