Washington University’s Green Office Program challenges staff and faculty to create sustainable work spaces within their offices. Through a self-assessed, point by point checklist, offices can determine their sustainability in six key areas: energy, waste, documents, purchasing, transportation, and awareness. The checklist assesses sustainability on the specific practices applicable to each office, such as how employees commute to work, the percentage of post-consumer recycled content in printer paper, and the types of light bulbs used. Offices can also receive points for their own unique sustainable innovations not covered within the checklist. The program allows offices to assess their strengths and areas for improvement, with the ultimate goal to encourage sustainability not only in the workplace but also in the lifestyles of WashU staff and faculty.
Offices can certify at a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum level. When the program first began in 2013, certified offices received custom-made plaques during an awards ceremony. For the past two years, offices have continued to receive plaques recognizing their certification and re-certification levels throughout the academic year, but there hasn’t been a formal ceremony. The Office of Sustainability is excited to bring the ceremony component back with the “Green Carpet Awards,” which will be held in early December 2016. The Green Carpet Awards will recognize offices newly certified in 2016 with their plaques, certificates, and a catered lunch. It will also award the offices earning the highest points and those that show the greatest improvement. Guest speakers have not yet been decided, but the Office of Sustainability plans to invite Chancellor Wrighton to attend.
The Green Carpet Awards aim to encourage new offices to register for the Green Office Program and to inspire registered offices to strive for a higher level of certification. To receive an invitation, offices must register and receive a certification level for the Green Office Program by mid-November. For more information about the Green Office Program or to learn how to register your office, click here.
This article was written by Cara Cook, a student Green Office Associate.