By Katya Lobanova | Jan 9, 2015

If you're a sustainability-minded UW employee, chances are you've heard of the Green Office Certification program. If you're really lucky, perhaps you already work in a certified office and have the swag to show off your green cred! If you're unfamiliar with the program, or daunted by the requirements for certification, read on - it's easier than you think! Over the next few months, I will be profiling a section of the application with resources, tips and tricks to easily turn your workplace into a sustainability superstar.


Let’s start by discussing energy. A veritable heavyweight of the certification application, reducing your energy use can seem difficult - after all, the use of technology in our daily work is inescapable - but it doesn't have to be! Through a combination of adopting greener habits and implementing efficient electronics, our energy use can be reduced simply and effectively.


Perhaps you've seen these in offices, restrooms and break rooms around campus, but our Bark! Bark! Go Dark! sticker templates are a catchy way to remind your officemates to turn off the lights when not in use. Simply print on adhesive paper, cut out and place them on light switches and Dubs will help you regulate your energy consumption. If your department has a little more dedication and a little more budget flexibility, consider getting an estimate from Facilities Construction on replacing your light switches with dimmers or motion sensors - an investment that will go a long way towards reducing your overall energy use!


If your office is in the market for a new refrigerator, computer monitor or another electronic item, consider making it an ENERGY STAR-certified appliance. Certified electronics go a long way towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is the long-term goal of the University's Climate Action Plan, a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as mandated by Washington State's emissions targets.


Fun fact: did you know that the UW Tower Data Center just earned ENERGY STAR certification for the second year in a row, the only data center in the US (out off 22) to ever do so? Congratulations, UW IT! A sustainability star resource, they offer Green Computing tips to help your office help the UW go greener with purchasing suggestions, sustainable practices and additional resources.


If you're curious about the energy use on campus, the McKinstry UW Energy Dashboard tracks the data on a building-to-building basis in real time, and it's really neat. Take a look!


Sustainability starts with education and is achieved through commitment and teamwork. The UW is lucky to have many sustainability superstars among its faculty, staff and students who showcase that commitment on an individual and institutional level, through their daily practices and policymaking. You can help by starting the sustainability conversation in your office - add a green item to your staff meeting agenda or department newsletter or simply remind a colleague to turn off their monitor at the end of the day. It may take an institution to go carbon-neutral, but it takes an individual to start a green revolution.