How can my office be greener?

Headshot Dec 2013By Ben Walsh, Green Seal Project Coordinator

Have you ever wondered whether you could recycle that yogurt cup or pizza box?

Have you ever noticed a colleague throwing soda cans into the trash day after day?

Maybe you’ve wondered if the computers in the office were the most energy efficient. As a former office manager, I often asked those questions and maintained this curiosity when I came to Green Seal. What are the best ways I can make my office and our operations more sustainable?

Whether you own your office space or lease it, as an office manager you make operational and purchasing choices every day that can significantly reduce the footprint of your office and provide a cleaner, healthier environment for your staff. That’s where the Green Seal™ Green Office Partnership Program comes in. We are proud to announce the launch of this brand new pilot program.

The program will look at a variety of factors, including:

  • Waste reduction and recycling
    • Are you recycling everything that you can?
    • Is it easy for staff to find well-labeled bins?
  • Office supplies
    • Are you buying environmentally-preferable options?
    • Do your printers use remanufactured toner cartridges?
  • Kitchen and pantry supplies
    • Is reusable kitchenware available?
    • Are you using bulk or single use supplies?
  • IT equipment and management
    • Are printers set to print double-sided by default?
    • Is newly-purchased equipment Energy Star-rated or EPEAT-registered?
  • Operational systems
    • Are motions sensors applied to lighting space intermittently used?
    • Can you program your thermostat depending on the time of year?
  • Training and education for staff
    • Are employees informed about green practices?
    • Do you have an assigned “green leader” or “green team”?

The Green Office Partnership Program intends to be a multifaceted collaboration between Green Seal and the participating offices. Once an office signs up, the operations manager will download a checklist of actions that offices can take. While some actions are mandatory, most of the list is designed to be flexible to meet the needs and capabilities of a variety of organizations. Next a Green Seal staff member will conduct an on-site review of the checklist with the operations manager and provide a summary of suggested improvements. After we verify that the mandatory actions have been met, the office is awarded a Green Office Partnership! You can promote your partnership and sustainability leadership with the Green Office Partnership graphic shown above, and your office will be included on Green Seal’s website.

After the Partnership is awarded, Green Seal will provide guidance on how you and your staff can further improve your operations and purchasing choices. In addition to this written summary, we will be available to answer questions about office sustainability, and explain why these efforts are important. We are also happy to provide tips to increase employee buy-in and encourage your staff to take part in this program.

In the remainder of 2014, Green Seal will be piloting the draft checklist on fifteen association offices selected by the ASAE Foundation, Green Seal, and Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, the major donor for the pilot program. The pilot associations will have their initial program fees subsidized and have the benefit of being first to achieve this recognition.

If you are not an ASAE member or are outside the Washington, DC Metro area please contact Green Seal about how you can participate.

For more information on the program, please visit greenseal.org/GreenOfficePartnership, or contact Ben Walsh, Project Coordinator, at bwalsh@greenseal.org or 202-872-6400.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s