By Chika Acholonu | Jan 20, 2016

The Green Office Certification Program encourages everyone at the University of Washington to help make their workplace sustainable. One of the areas of emphasis in the certification form is energy conservation, and it's also an area where many offices have room for improvement.

Below are a few tips on how your office can take easy steps to reduce energy use. For more ideas, see our Green Office Resources page or email us at

Remember to Turn Off the Lights

Perhaps the easiest way to reduce your office’s energy use is to minimize use of lights. Our “Bark! Bark! Go Dark!” light switch covers are a great way to remind your office to turn off the lights. To avoid maintenance issues, these covers should be printed on Post-It adhesive paper.

Buy ENERGY STAR and EPEAT Products

ENERGY STAR® and EPEAT® products are designed to save energy and, thus, reduce air pollution as well. When offices need new equipment or appliances, it is important to consider ENERGY STAR and EPEAT products because they are much more energy-efficient than their conventional counterparts.

ENERGY STAR was established by the EPA more than 20 years ago, and since then products with the ENERGY STAR rating have significantly reduced energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. In 2013 alone, ENERGY STAR products saved an estimated 294 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions overall. As a result, use of these products has helped slow down climate change. ENERGY STAR products include energy-efficient appliances, computers, computer monitors, lighting, and other products. To determine if a product is certified, check for the ENERGY STAR label.

EPEAT is the leading environmental rating system for electronics. It is a simple-to-use procurement tool developed through a partnership between manufacturers, government, environmental advocates, and other stakeholders. EPEAT-rated products include computers, printers, scanners, copiers, and computer monitors, among other things. This rating system is great because it considers all stages of a product’s life cycle. Products are rated based on their energy conservation, packaging, elimination of potentially harmful chemicals, design for end of life, and other characteristics.

Turning off lights and purchasing energy-efficient products are just a few of the ways your office can work towards becoming more sustainable. Look for more ideas on our Green Office Resources page. If you're already taking sustainable steps in the workplace, apply for Green Office Certification today!