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
Level 1 40 50
Level 2 55 75
Level 3 70 100

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.

Certified Offices

Level 1 Certifications
  • 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
Level 2 Certifications
  • 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

  1. Acquaint yourself with the information on the UNE Sustainability and UNE Green Office web pages.
  2. If questions arise or you would like to participate in the program, email the Sustainability Office.
  3. 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.
  4. Schedule an appointment with the Sustainability Office for an Eco-Rep to make a verification visit.
  5. After the verification visit, your assessment checklist will be scored and you will receive notice about which level you have achieved.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.


Who administers the Green Office Program?

The UNE Sustainability Office manages the program with the help of a team of student Eco-Reps.

What is the origin of the UNE Green Office Program?

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.

How should we define our office?

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 acariddi@une.edu for office definition suggestions.

How are the different achievement levels reached?

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.

What are the categories covered in the assessment tool?
  • Energy conservation
  • Waste reduction
  • Transportation alternatives
  • Involvement/leadership opportunities
  • Innovation
Can I preview the assessment tool before registering?

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 acariddi@une.edu.

How long does it take to complete the assessment tool?
It depends. If the Green Office Leader attempts to tackle the assessment tool alone, it could take several hours to be thorough and collect responses from all of the office participants. If the interested office members complete the tool together, it could take as little as an hour to an hour and a half.
Do we need recertification? If so, how often?

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.

Can we “level up”? If so, how?

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 acariddi@une.edu to schedule an Eco-Rep visit. Have your assessment tool handy for the visit with the changes you have implemented.

What are the responsibilities of the Green Office Leader?

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.

What is the purpose of the Eco-Rep visit?

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.

What things may be included in the example toolkit?

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.

What if an assessment tool item is not applicable to my office?

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.

Who should I contact with questions about the Green Office Program?

Email acariddi@une.edu, and a response will be returned to you as soon as possible.