How To Become a Green Office Partner

Headshot Dec 2013By Ben Walsh, Green Seal Project Coordinator

We spend roughly one third of our day in an office consuming energy and interacting with the environment around us.  Have you ever wondered if you and your office are doing everything possible to save money and protect the environment?  This is where the Green Seal™ Green Office Partnership Program comes in.  In 2014, Green Seal piloted a checklist in association with the ASAE Foundation and Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston—the major donors of the pilot program.

Since launching the program last year, the following fourteen offices have met the criteria to obtain Green Partner status:

  • American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
  • American Society of Association Executives
  • American Society for Nutrition
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • American Wind Energy Association
  • Building Owners and Managers Association International
  • Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • Investment Adviser Association
  • League of American Bicyclists
  • Metacred, Inc.
  • National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association
  • Whiteford, Taylor, and Preston, LLP
Reception celebrating the new Green Office Partners

Reception celebrating the newest Green Office Partners

These offices all undertook an on-site review by a trained Green Seal staff member.  During the on-site review Green Seal examines seven major categories as part of a comprehensive checklist. We’ve included examples of the subject areas and questions each category addresses in the review:

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

As part of the program, offices also host a “brown bag” discussion between staff and the trained Green Seal employee to answer questions about such topics as purchasing, operations, and recycling regulations.  Afterward, these organizations can then promote the partnership and sustainability leadership with the Green Office Partnership graphic shown above, and the office is listed on our website.

Green Seal has expanded this program beyond the DC metro area and is available to conduct virtual reviews in any office that has a webcam and an internet connection.  Additionally, there is the Verification program option where Green Seal can ensure the environmental rigor of a company or organization’s already existing office greening program through third-party verification.

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.

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