SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF

By Karren Fultz, administrative officer, Sustainability Office

With over 27,000 employees at the university, small changes to our daily office habits can add up to a large collective impact. These can be seen in continual cost-savings and environmental benefits. The Sustainability Office offers ongoing support and customized training to help implement new practices. So, reimagine your office routine through Green Office Certification.

Green Office Certification is a tool that guides staff and faculty as they adopt sustainable choices in the workplace. Using the Green Office Checklist, departments and colleges provide opportunities for everyone to participate in sustainability activities related to purchasing, energy use, transportation and more. After completing the checklist, schedule an appointment with a green-office specialist to verify the level of certification.

“Green Office Certification has helped our office be more aware of our collective carbon footprint,” said Jennifer Browning, office assistant, College of Architecture + Planning. “Maintaining our gold standard has become a group effort with everyone involved. Because of this program, we are always trying to think of new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle here in our office. We are so grateful to the Sustainability Office for introducing us to this campus program.”

Participating departments are recognized in three tiers of achievement: bronze, silver and gold.

Five departments have achieved gold, three have silver and three have bronze. Additionally, 22 departments are working on their certification.

Gold: Bennion Center, College of Architecture + Planning Dean’s Office, Office of Sponsored Projects, Second Language Teaching & Research Center, Sustainability Office

Silver: City & Metropolitan Planning, Facilities Management Utility Systems & Services, Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Bronze: College of Humanities Dean’s Office, Eccles Health Sciences Library, Parks, Recreation & Tourism

The first office at the U to participate in Green Office Certification was the Bennion Center.

“Green Office Certification is about planning ahead and knowing what you really do or do not need,” said Debbie Hair, administrative assistant with the Bennion Center. “It is about remembering to use on/off switches, printing on both sides of paper, and other simple actions that give back to Earth.”

After earning bronze, the Bennion Center didn’t stop there, advancing to gold certification in February 2015. With this achievement, they joined the dean’s office in the College of Architecture + Planning, which was the first campus office to earn gold.

The Sustainability Office also uses Green Office Certification to collect data for the Association for Advancement in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Through this self-reporting system, universities and colleges measure their overall sustainability performance. The U is currently designated STARS Silver and working to achieve STARS Gold by 2020.

Ready to take action? Join the faculty and staff of 33 departments and colleges by registering your department today. Contact Karren Fultz, karren.fultz@utah.edu for more information.