- Green Meetings
- Paper Conservation
- Publications & Marketing Communications
- Recycling/Composting/Waste Reduction
- Additional Resources
- Innovative Ideas
- Printable Criteria
Reminders to turn off lights
The 'Bark! Bark! Go Dark!' campaign is available as reminders to turn off lights when not in use. The templates below can be printed out and installed on or near light switches.
- Bark! Bark! Go Dark! plate covers must be printed on Post-It adhesive paper (reposititionable) to avoid maintenance issues.
- Reminder Template may be printed full-page and posted near light switches or doors.
Have dimmers/motion sensors installed
- Choose appropriate locations for motion sensors, such as conference rooms, supply closets, or bathrooms.
- Contact UW Facilities Services
- You may fill out a work request, or request a quote on this site: http://www.washington.edu/facilities/fsworks/
- Note that your department may be required to fund the installation of dimmers/motion sensors, as the University does not have funds allocated for this.
Turning off vending machine lights
- Contact UW Vending and find out if your vending machine lights are able to be turned off.
- Contact info for UW Vending: http://www.hfs.washington.edu/dining/Default.aspx?id=344.
- It may be useful to post on the machine that the lights are turned out to save 1,300 kWh each year. Try posting this printable image.
Energy Star/EPEAT rated products
These products are designed to save energy, and meet standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. For more information about these products visit the following websites:
In simplest terms, eliminate (send to UW Surplus) any refrigerators over 7 years of age, confirm that appliances are Energy STAR certified, and confirm that all task lighting has CFL bulbs instead of traditional bulbs.
Is your building LEED certified?
Visit our Sustainability Map to see if your building is LEED certified!
- Close the blinds - especially in older buildings, closing the blinds or curtains helps insulate the building, reducing the amount of heat lost at night.
- UW-IT offers Green Computing with tips on technology recycling, teleconferencing and more
- SmartGrid, along with McKinstry, maintains the UW Energy Dashboard, which allows users to see real-time energy use by building
Green Meetings in this program refer to smaller departmental meetings, not large conferences or catered events. UW Conference Management offers ideas for Green Conferences.
Migration plan for printers/copiers
Many printers and copiers on campus are operated under contract, and cannot be immediately replaced because they do not have duplex printing capability. A migration plan identifies these printers and their contract expiration dates, and commits to replacing these machines with duplex capable machines when possible. Managed Print Services is UW's organizational copier/printer management and has a strong commitment to environmental sustainability. Contact them for an assessment of your departmental needs.
Online meeting resources
Several options are available for hosting meeting notes and departmental documents and using shared online spaces:
Please check with UW-IT about your office's printing options. Depending on your printer/contract, a tracking website may be readily available, a tracking program can be set up, or you may track your printing information through your billing. If your printer does not have this capability, you may have to manually count reams used each month to track paper use.
Duplex printing, also referred to as double-sided printing, will significantly reduce the amount of paper printed by your office.
A network printer is connected to the Internet and allows multiple computers to print to it. Having a network printer in the office will reduce the need for desktop printers, thus saving energy, maintenance costs and resources. IT Connect can help you set up a network printer in your office.
Turning stationery into notepads
Creative Communications can create notepads out of your outdated stationery for a fee. Your old stationery should be brought or sent (via campus mail, attention: note pads) to the Creative Communications building with instructions, contact information, and a budget number. Some Copy Centers on campus may also work with you to create notepads. You can choose the size and thickness of your notepads. Contact Creative Communications with questions.
Please be cautious with the paper that is turned into notepads and be sure that it does not contain sensitive information.
Other paper conservation resources
Publications & Marketing Communications
- Creative Communications can help with your printing and copying needs.
Supply exchange area
Consider setting up an area for common shared office supplies, such as a supply closet, mail room, or printer area. You may even want to set up a shared supply station for your entire building, and share excess supplies to minimize waste in purchasing and encourage the other two R's - reduce and reuse!
Toner cartridge recycling
UW Recycling collects a variety of items as part of its printer/copier cartridges and components stream. UW's recycling vendor refills cartridges for resale, returns them to the original manufacturer for refilling or, when refilling is not possible, recycles the materials. UW Recycling has a list of toner cartridge drop-off locations and advice on how to recycle.
All items purchased with University funds that are no longer needed by a department, whether they are in working or non-working condition, must be transferred to UW Surplus for proper disposal. UW Surplus will resell items that are working, and properly recycle or dispose of non-working items. By checking UW Surplus first for "new" furniture or other items, your office could save money and reuse.
Buying in bulk reduces the amount of packing materials used for shipping overall, and the packaging for individual units of the products you buy. By forming a coffee club or a similar group, the amount of packaging entering the waste stream decreases. Consolidating orders and ordering less frequently will encourage buying in bulk, reduce delivery emissions, and save time for the person placing orders. Consider setting up a request form for office supplies and designating a day of the week for purchasing, waiting until there is significant enough need for supplies before placing orders.
More purchasing resources
- The eProcurement website offers general information about Green Purchasing at UW.
- Read about How & What to Buy.
- uSwap - a service available to University of Washington employees for the exchange of equipment between departments.
- We have sample Green Office supply kits, provided by Office Depot, available to those who participate in the Green Office Program.
- Keeney's (an official sponsor of the Green Office Competition and UW supplier) offers a Green Office Essentials guide, a Green Breakroom Products guide, and a curated Green Office favorites list (in the eProcurement catalog, choose 'Green Office Items' from the dropdown in the side section titled 'MyFavorites').
Posters for Collection Bins
UW Recycling Posters for:
UW Recycling has many other posters, including signs for special events and item-specific recycling (cardboard, e.media, wood waste) on their website.
In most shared office/lab spaces on campus, recyclable office paper is collected in Bagits, which are reusable polypropylene bags that have handles and are held open on stands, which hold either one or two bag-its. Bagits are to be used in spaces such as labs, copy rooms, mail rooms, and shared offices; Bagits are not permitted in individual offices. Learn more or request a Bag-it station from UW Recycling.
UW Recycling now offers a mini (3-quart) desk-side waste bin that is self service, just like your personal recycling bin. This program, known as MiniMax, is meant to build awareness around recycling, promote personal responsibility for waste generation, and allow custodians to direct their time to essential cleaning tasks. The mini bins are also unlined, which will significantly reduce the number of plastic liner bags going to the landfill.
Participation in the MiniMax program is currently voluntary. Your office may be put on the waiting list upon request for the program. Please contact UW Recycling directly to learn more about the program.
If your public areas, conference rooms, or kitchen/break rooms do not have waste, mixed paper, and mixed containers collection bins, contact UW Recycling at email@example.com. They will perform a site assessment and determine the appropriate bins for the area.
- UW Recycling compost webpage
- Approved compostable serviceware
- Housing & Food Services compost webpage
UW Recycling has a reuse program for Styrofoam and other types of packing peanuts, and recycles large quantities of rigid Styrofoam blocks. Learn more about the procedures:
Post the location of your nearest e.Media recycling bin near your public area bins or recycling center.
Plastic film recycling
UW Recycling recycles plastic film, which includes clean plastic bags, bubble wrap, air pillows (deflated), and shrink wrap. This is a self-serve recycling program and staff are responsible for putting their plastic film into the grey plastic film toter at or near the building’s loading dock or service entrance. Request a plastic film container.
More recycling, compost & waste diversion resources:
- UW Recycling
- Find the nearest e.media bin, compost collection point and more on our Sustainability Map
Utilizing conference calls is a way to reduce travelling emissions, costs, and time. IT Connect conferencing services can help with audio/videoconferencing and other conferencing needs.
Secure bike parking
Secure bike parking entails having either bike rooms (map) or bike lockers and secure enclosures (map). Commuter Services has more information about bike parking and shower facilities on their bike parking page. Our Sustainability Map lists all bike racks and repair stations on campus.
The U-PASS provides faculty, staff and students with a variety of low-cost transportation options—from buses, commuter train service and light rail, to vanpooling and discounted impromptu carpooling. With a U-PASS, it’s easy to save money and tread softly through the environment by choosing alternatives to driving alone. Or consider “mixing up your commute”—using an alternative when possible, driving when necessary. As a bonus, many local businesses offer discounts to U-PASS holders!
The UCAR is a conveniently located and economically priced Fleet Services rental vehicle available for hourly rentals. The UCAR program is dedicated to supporting the short term transportation needs of the UW community for education, research, outreach and business. Any UW member with a valid UW NetID and driver's license is able to reserve and access a UCAR 24/7.
Alternative commute options
Alternative commute options include biking, taking mass transit, carpooling, walking or any combinations of these. Take a quick survey at your staff meeting, send out a poll, or simply go around and ask your colleagues about their commuting habits. The higher the percentage of your office that uses alternative commute options, the more points your office can get.
More transportation resources
- Transportation services
- Zimride - a private ridesharing network for UW Seattle
- UCAR, car charging stations and Zipcar locations on our Sustainability Map
Sharing best practices
Do you have great ideas on ways for your office to become more sustainable? Sharing these ideas at staff meetings is a great way to increase your impact. It does not have to take a lot of time - even one minute per meeting can spread the sustainability message. Give an update, share new ideas, or announce a reminder to keep sustainability on everyone's radar.
UW Sustainability Pledge
Taking the UW Sustainability Pledge is a way to show personal commitment to sustainability by committing to simple daily actions. Members of your office may not know about the pledge, but with a little communication and some coordination, you can easily earn this point. Consider adding the pledge to your new employee orientation information. Inform your colleagues that if 50% of your office completes the pledge and forwards the confirmation email to you, it will boost your Green Office Certification score.
Climate Action Plan
The UW's Climate Action Plan is an official commitment by the University to becoming carbon neutral. It was submitted to the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2009, and is guided by the Environmental Stewardship Committee.
Green cleaning supplies
Green cleaning supplies lack toxic chemicals or VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are hazardous to human health as well as the environment. In addition, if the product is manufactured in an eco-friendly process and is biodegradable then it would be considered "green." Look for products with a GreenSeal or EcoLabel Certified and Tested label. UW Custodial Services has won multiple awards (2007 & 2010) for their green cleaning practices. Information on their preferred cleaning products can be found here.
*Ask your supplier for a list of eco-friendly cleaning products.
A Green Team is a collaborative group committed to improving the environmental sustainability of their workplace (or any shared space), often involving representatives from various departments. At the UW, Green Teams periodically come together for a Green Bag Lunch organized by the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability office. Learn about existing Green Teams on campus and find out how to start a Green Team in your office.
Share your certification
We've provided images of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Green Office logos for you to use in your email signature and other communications to spread the word about your office's certification. Download the .zip file of the images.
UW Sustainability Dashboard
The UW Sustainability Dashboard displays the sustainability measures tracked around campus as part of Climate Action Plan goals.
UW Sustainability Map
The UW Sustainability Map displays many of the sustainability features on the Seattle campus. Find which buildings are LEED Certified, where the Green Offices are located, which buildings have green roofs or your nearest bike repair station.
Green your office on Pinterest
A collection of ideas and products to help green your office, collected together in a virtual pinboard.
There are so many different ways to be sustainable; it would not be fair to limit this certification program to the ideas thought up by the Green Office Committee. If your office is doing something different from anything listed above, you can get bonus points for that. Here are some ideas that the Committee thought of, and some that were submitted by other offices while applying for certification. For a complete list of submitted innovations, view the certified offices.
- Reusing paper with print on only one side through a "One Side Clean" collection box
- Patio Display Gardens with native plants or plants that provide food
- Having a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program deliver organic produce to the workplace
- Self-serviced recycling programs for bottle caps/plastic lids, pop tabs, & eyeglasses
- Adopt a Hallway Program - Have a set time or specific person to turn off the lights in the hallways at the end of the day
- Share office space for part time employees
- The UW Sustainability office is supplied with furniture manufactured sustainably and composed of a high percentage of recycled content
- The Southwest Maintenance Zone office fabricated their reception desk form old furniture
- Shared bicycles are provided for employees of the Southwest Maintenance Zone to use for traveling to meetings
Why is the Green Office Program Important?
The Climate Action Plan calls for the establishment of a departmental level reporting tool (Strategy 2.3.1) and for the availability of general office guidelines for UW offices (Strategy 7.4.2), both of which the Green Office Certification program supports. In addition to aligning with these strategies, the impact of the program's criteria help reduce carbon emissions and conserve water and energy resources.