Thirty-four ‘Green Offices’ earn certification

Employees become sustainability champions on behalf of university

After launching the Green Offices Program just one year ago, Washington University in St. Louis recently recognized those offices achieving gold, silver and bronze certification.

Because office environments throughout the university’s campuses are major consumers of energy and materials and significant contributors to the waste stream, this program is a way to encourage employees to be sustainability champions — and to support and recognize those actions.

In total, 34 offices have been certified and many others have registered. Two offices achieved gold-level certification — the Institute for Public Health and Environmental Health & Safety; both offices are on the Medical Campus. “We did not think anyone would achieve gold certification in the first year of the program, but these two did,” said Phil Valko, director of sustainability.

The Green Offices Program offers a point-based, self-assessment checklist to help employees assess current practices and set goals. Offices receive bronze, silver, gold or platinum certifications based on percentage of compliance. Registered offices submit the checklists annually and also have opportunities to re-submit quarterly to increase certification levels.

“What it really came down to was a great group of people willing to make small sacrifices for the greater good,” said Jon Kruyne, Green Office representative for the Environmental Health & Safety team. “We were all in it 100 percent. If there were options on the list that we were, in any way capable of doing, we did them. There were some changes, of course, but nothing we really even notice anymore.”

Anna Mazzuca of the Institute for Public Health said her team also implemented small changes, such as powering down the copier each night. The team also began composting coffee grounds and food scraps.

Certified Green Offices are listed on the Office of Sustainability website, receive a plaque, and soon will be given an icon that can be used on departmental websites.

The certification plaques embody the values of sustainability: handmade from reclaimed lumber here in St. Louis with a design laser-cut directly into the wood — which uses less material — and adorned with simple glass tiles and finished with natural oil.

Offices can register by filling out a form and downloading a checklist. To learn more, visit the sustainability website or email

Gingerbread Brookings
Gingerbread Brookings