Penn certifies three as Level 4 green offices

Green Office Certification

If Penn’s Green Office Certification Program was the Olympics, achieving Level 4 accreditation would be equivalent to winning a gold medal.

To date, three offices at the University have won gold. In total, 38 University offices have medaled in the Green Campus Partnership’s Green Office Certification Program.

Penn Law IT and the Penn Woman’s Center were the first to achieve Level 4 last fall. They were recently joined by the central office of the Business Services Division (BSD).

University offices use a great deal of energy and materials, and produce considerable amounts of waste, so Penn encourages all offices to consider participating in the Green Office Certification Program.

Offices are evaluated on various levels of sustainability: waste, purchasing, energy, water, indoor air quality and human health, transportation, and involvement.

Points are earned by completing specific sustainability acts, with point values based on impact and difficulty of implementation. Some actions cost nothing; others may have an upfront cost but result in operational savings over time.

For instance, offices can earn two points for setting their printer default to double-sided printing. Offices net three points by using re-useable cups, dishware, and utensils, as is the practice at all Penn residential dining cafes. Purchasing 30 percent post-consumer recycled office paper adds one point.

Level 1 starts at 25 points for easily achievable actions, but subsequent levels require increasingly more effort and cost. Level 2 offices must amass 70 points. Level 3 offices must accumulate 130.

Penn Law IT, the Penn Woman’s Center, and BSD earned 180 out of more than 250 points to reach Level 4 status. These offices will receive a certificate signed by President Amy Gutmann celebrating their achievement. Certification is valid for two years.

Law IT focused on energy-efficient operations, while the Women’s Center implemented innovative operations, including its environmental education kitchen, a rainwater capture-and-reuse cistern, and green housekeeping and purchasing protocols. Both offices also educated staff and visitors about their greening.

Marie Witt, vice president of BSD, says the Green Office recognition “demonstrates that when individual staff members combine their efforts to pursue a goal, meaningful and measurable outcomes can be achieved.

“It speaks well for the program that any type of office at Penn—from our transit headquarters to the Arboretum—can participate in supporting Penn’s Climate Action Plan,” she adds.

For more information about the Green Office Certification Program, visit the Green Campus Partnership website.

Originally published on February 7, 2013