Certification for Sustainable Work Spaces
The Green Office Program at the University of New England aims to engage faculty, professional staff, and students by providing a program with the necessary tools for offices to achieve a green office certification. The program brings offices and departments together by creating workplace communities that value environmental stewardship as outlined by the University of New England’s Core Values.
Three achievement levels exist, which are assessed in two ways — the percentage of office member participation and the proportion of points received on a self-conducted assessment tool.
|Certification Achieved||Percentage Points Possible||Percent of Team Participation|
To support even more sustainable practices within UNE’s offices and departments, we encourage offices to elaborate on their actions to attain partial assessment tool points. We reward creative measures by providing additional points within the innovation category on the assessment tool.
- Environmental Health and Safety Department
- College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Office
- Abplanalp Library
- Student Academic Success Center, Biddeford Campus
- Oral Health Center Administrative Offices
- Health, Wellness, and Occupational Studies
- Ketchum Library
- College of Graduate and Professional Studies
- Office of Communications
- Departments of Environmental Studies and Mathematical Sciences
- School of Marine Programs
Benefits of Green Office Certification
- A framed green office certificate for display, identifying the certification level achieved
- Recognition on UNE’s Sustainability webpage
- Ability to display UNE Green Office logo on department webpages
- Opportunities for on- and off-campus media attention
- Greater cohesion among office members and an appreciation for sustainability
- Realized cost-savings while engaging in environmental stewardship
Steps to Green Office Certification
- Acquaint yourself with the information on the UNE Sustainability and UNE Green Office web pages.
- If questions arise or you would like to participate in the program, email the Sustainability Office.
- The Sustainability Office will then email an Excel spreadsheet assessment tool to the Green Office Leader to be completed by the members of your office. Please complete the assessment tool and email a copy to the Sustainability Office.
- Schedule an appointment with the Sustainability Office for an Eco-Rep to make a verification visit.
- After the verification visit, your assessment checklist will be scored and you will receive notice about which level you have achieved.
- We will schedule a time to present your certificate, typically at a staff meeting so we can take a group photo to publicize your achievement.
- Congratulations! You are now a green office!
These resources were created for use as your office works towards certification and with the assessment tool in mind. For example, the pledges can be used to earn points on your office’s assessment tool, or could be used to spark awareness in the office. Most are meant to be viewed online only and are not formatted for printing — the exceptions are noted.
These are meant to be printed and signed by your office members participating in the pledge
- Water — Bottled or Tap? Resource Guide (PDF)
- Local Food Resource Guide (PDF)
- Know Your Coffee Resource Guide (PDF)
- Hosting a Zero Waste Event Resource Guide (PDF)
- Green Team Resource Guide (PDF)
- Carpooling Tips Resource Guide (PDF)
- Purchasing Carbon Offsets Resource Guide (PDF)
- Poster and Tips for an Eco-Friendly Kitchen/Common Area (PDF) (this poster can be printed and hung in your common area)
- Alternative Transportation Resource Guide (PDF)
The UNE Sustainability Office manages the program with the help of a team of student Eco-Reps.
The students in the spring 2015 Sustainability Lab, ENV 240, took on development of the Green Office Program as a project for the semester. The students drafted the assessment tool, made recommendations about achievement levels and incentives, and drafted educational tools, advertisements, and website content. They also conducted pilot assessments in three departments to hone the assessment tool. The Sustainability Office and a summer intern used all of these pieces to create the Green Office Program in its final form.
As mentioned in our registration form, we define an office as spaces that provide frequent interaction among colleagues, such as all individual offices that are in close physical proximity, and/or all office spaces and employees that are in a building or on a floor. The definition is intentionally vague as the Green Office Program will consider all reasonable office definitions. We want the office to feel a sense of camaraderie, so the defined group should be established in a way that makes sense and increases the likelihood of success. The defined office could look very different from other groups. For example, an office may be defined as an entire floor of a building, such as with the English Department on the first floor of Marcil Hall. On the other hand, an office could be defined as a cluster of individual office rooms such as the Dean's Office in School of Pharmacy. Or it may make sense for a department to have two groups because the department is split up into two or more locations, such as the Admissions group being split between the Welcome Cottage and Petts Health Center.
If you are having trouble defining your office, email email@example.com for office definition suggestions.
Upon completion and submission of the Green Office assessment tool, participation percentages are determined alongside total assessment tool points. For example, to be eligible for Level 1 certification your office needs to achieve 40% of the total points possible on the self-conducted assessment tool and have a participation rate of at least 50% of the defined office members. It wouldn’t make sense for an office to be able to achieve a Level 3 certification if only half of the office members were participating.
- Energy conservation
- Waste reduction
- Transportation alternatives
- Involvement/leadership opportunities
Yes. We have prepared a document with just the assessment items (no points or selection options are included) that we will email to you upon request from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, currently we are requiring recertification every two (2) years by your certification anniversary. We envision that if an office achieves a Level 3 certification for two consecutive certification rounds, recertification will not be necessary unless there is a staff change of two or more people.
Yes — and we encourage you to do so at any time. You do not need to wait until your certification anniversary. Send us an email at email@example.com to schedule an Eco-Rep visit. Have your assessment tool handy for the visit with the changes you have implemented.
The Green Office Leader is the liaison between your office group and the Green Office Program. They are responsible for completing the registration form, seeking support for conducting the self-assessment, and transmitting the assessment tool back to the Green Office Program. The leader will make the appointment with the Eco-Rep to verify the assessment tool.
The leader is not responsible for making sure that all of the office members comply with the items in the tool or get them to agree to participate. This should be someone in your group who is interested in facilitating a process that the majority of office members are excited about participating in. It should be fun, not arduous.
Eco-Reps from the Sustainability Office are trained to provide the educational backbone to all checklist items. Eco-Reps won’t simply audit your assessment tool, but rather give insightful advice on how your office may achieve the points associated with an item that may have been originally perceived as “not applicable.” Eco-Reps may also bring an example toolkit with items to demonstrate implementation strategies for a more sustainable office.
Our toolkit is designed to demonstrate items that can enhance the Green Office Program experience — and help your office gain more assessment tool points, ultimately increasing your ability to achieve a higher certification level. Items your office may want to purchase (at minimal increased cost) include thermometers, LED bulbs or task lamps, surge protectors, reusable mugs, eco-friendly dish soap, organic and fair trade coffee, etc...The Green Office Program cannot provide all of the materials necessary but can provide you with resources for where items can be purchased, if necessary.
Most all assessment tool items are applicable to all offices. For example, you may think that centralized printing is not possible for confidentiality purposes, however, procedures can be put in place to ensure confidentiality, while still consolidating printing. Another example may surround purchasing carbon offsets for air travel. It may be rare for anyone in your office to travel, however, there are conferences and meetings required occasionally in almost all departments, and carbon offsets are easy and relatively inexpensive to purchase.
If you still think an item in the assessment tool does not apply, the Eco-Rep will review all items indicated with a “not applicable” answer and ask questions for final determination. All of the “not applicable” items will not be counted in the final tally of points.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, and a response will be returned to you as soon as possible.