WUSTL Green Offices Program launches

Program seeks to encourage, recognize offices for sustainable practices

Washington University’s new Green Offices Program has launched to encourage offices on all WUSTL campuses to become more sustainable.

WUSTL offices are major consumers of resources such as paper. (Credit: Morguefile)

Offices that enroll in the program, sponsored by the Office of Sustainability and Resource Management, fill out a checklist of sustainable practices focusing on awareness, education and behavior change.

The higher an office scores on its checklist, the higher the certification level. As offices incorporate more sustainable practices into their workplace, they can retake the checklist and earn higher certification.

By launching the program, the Office of Sustainability and Resource Management hope to give offices concrete sustainability tips that can easily be incorporated into offices’ everyday routine and practice, says Phil Valko, director of sustainability. The university also hopes to recognize offices that already follow sustainable practices.

“Office environments throughout the university’s campuses are major consumers of energy and materials and significant contributors to our waste stream,” Valko says. “The Green Offices Program is a framework and set of resources that has the potential to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of our university community.”

The point-based, self-assessment checklist features seven categories: energy, waste, documents, purchasing, transportation, awareness and innovations. The checklist automatically calculates an office’s score.

Teams can be made of groups of up to 20 people who share equipment such as copiers. (Credit: Morguefile)

Participating offices can include anywhere from three to 20 people who share equipment, so large offices can be broken down into manageable groups.

Offices that reach a certification level of Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum will be recognized for their achievements in ways such as being publicized on the Office of Sustainability website, being recognized at Staff Day, and receiving a sustainability icon for their website and a certificate for their office to advertise their success.

The Office of Sustainability piloted the program last month with five offices across the university and received very positive feedback, Valko says.

One pilot office, the Office of Continued Medical Education, received Bronze certification on their first try.

Secretary Christine Berry says the program opened up communications in her department.

“I asked my colleagues to bring to the office their at-home conservation and recycling practices by turning off their lights, monitors and printers and to use the recycling bins,” Berry says.

To enroll an office, visit wustl.edu/greenoffices. Complete the online registration form and download the checklist.

To learn more about the Green Offices program, visit one of the following noon Brown Bag information sessions:

  • Danforth Campus: Thursday, April 19, Danforth University Center, Room 248
  • Medical Campus: Wednesday, April 25, Farrell Learning & Teaching Center, Room 213A and 213B
  • North Campus: Thursday, April 26, Room 1312
  • West Campus: Friday, April 20, Room 350

For more information, email sustainability@wustl.edu.