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Penn President Amy Gutmann introduces Climate Action Plan 2.0, which serves as Penn’s blueprint for environmental excellence.

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Are you ready for Green Office 2.0?

March 17, 2014

In the two years since the introduction of Penn’s Green Office Certification program, 71 offices have been certified, covering more than 1,400 employees. Of these, four offices have achieved Level 4 Green Office – the highest level – meaning they have invested a substantial amount of time, effort, and, often, budget, in bringing environmentally sustainable practices into their day-to-day operations.

“Actions initially listed as innovations in our first checklist have become more commonplace, and tools once rarely used are now readily available,” says Andrea Kreiner, sustainability consultant to the Green Campus Partnership. She points out how Penn’s Managed Print program had not existed in 2011 when Green Office was launched, but now it gives offices a way to control paper and printer usage, saving money for every office signed up. “Zero-waste events were unheard of,” she adds, but says that large programs in Alumni Relations and the Wharton School are now regularly planned to skip the landfill.

To those wondering if Green Office is the right program for them, Penn Environmental Sustainability Director Dan Garofalo offers this advice: "All offices at Penn can benefit from pursuing Green Office Certification.  The four levels allow offices to find a match for their unique capabilities and interests."

Feedback on the existing Green Office Certification Program was gathered from key staff in Purchasing, IT and Transit, and from a focus group of sustainability coordinators and lead staff in certified offices. Thanks to this feedback, new actions in the upgraded version of the program encourage the purchase of reusable items that replace disposable ones (think drinking glasses and coffee mugs instead of paper and plastic), and the use of vendors that take away old items when you buy new furniture or equipment.

Improved actions in Green Office 2.0 will be used for new certifications, as well as offices that will apply for re-certification. “Certification is valid for 2 years,” explains Ms. Kreiner.  “Those offices that were first on-board in 2012 will soon come up for re-certification. They’ll have an opportunity to challenge themselves to find new ways to be ‘green.’ Green Office is, after all, designed as a continual improvement process.” Read more about the Green Office program.

Fact

Penn’s ReThink Your Footprint Campaign increases awareness of waste minimization strategies including enhanced recycling and composting efforts.

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