Revamp streamlines Green Office Certification program

Author: Dana Bakirtjy

Online process available for individuals and offices

A revamp of the Office of Sustainability’s Green Office Certification program is expected to reduce the amount of time needed for certification from several weeks to days. The revamped program was piloted by OIT and is intended to streamline the process, making the program easier for campus community members to participate.

The new system features an online form for employees to use when self-auditing their personal workspaces. The form, developed with the help of OIT’s Marty Klubeck, consists of four sets of simple yes or no questions about the employee’s personal work space. 

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The form also asks employees to complete a simple energy audit that counts the number of appliances and electronics in their office. Once completed, the form automatically calculates the employee’s individual sustainability score, compiles it with coworker’s scores, and reports it to the Office of Sustainability.

“The form does in five minutes what would have previously taken one person on the back end hours to do” said Marty Klubeck, the developer of the form and a Green Ambassador for the OIT. “It helps the university be more efficient and sustainable at the same time- no paper, less effort, less time. I’m excited to see it put into use.” The online form streamlines the system by removing paper surveys, centralizing data, and eliminating the need for an Office of Sustainability team member to perform an in-person energy audit. It also allows the Office of Sustainability to maintain a database of all of the sustainable offices on campus which is used to help the University maintain its Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. 

The Green Office Certification process begins by an interested party contacting the Office of Sustainability to receive the link to the self-reporting survey. If pursuing a personal certification the employee will then fill out the form and have the opportunity to correct any unsustainable behavior. Based on their score they will be offered one of three downloadable badges to put in their email signature that identifies them as achieving One Leaf, Two Leaf or Three Leaf Green Office Certification. 

If an entire office decides to pursue Green Office Certification, a representative of the office must contact the Office of Sustainability with the names and email addresses for each employee in the office for form distribution. Every employee is required to fill out the online form.

Once this is completed, the Office of Sustainability will contact the representative to award the office’s certificate and the office will be acknowledged on the Office of Sustainability’s website for their positive efforts. 

Since its creation in 2012, the Green Office Certification program has certified four full divisions and over 27 additional offices, including the Law Library, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the President.   

 “The purpose of the Green Office Certification program is to educate and inspire offices to adopt the best practices of sustainable work spaces.” Explained Erin Hafner, Senior Program Manager in the Office of Sustainability. “We hope participants come away with the understanding that like Pope Francis said in his encyclical Laudato Si’, small actions can lead to big impacts.”