Green Office Program

The Facilities Management team at Western launched a Green Office Pilot Program and sought volunteers from across campus. They approached Western Engineering’s Dean’s Office and we agreed to be a part of the pilot. Those who are taking part in this pilot as a part of the Dean’s Office include 13 staff and faculty including the main Dean’s Office in SEB 2008/2003, External Services (offices on 2nd floor of SEB) and the Research & Graduate Office (SEB 2080/2079/2072). UES is also a part of this pilot program and has appointed an Environmental Commissioner, Marsha Cooke, to lead the pilot. The UES Executive is involved in the pilot, which includes approximately 8 individuals. This pilot program runs between September 2011 and February 2012 and will be launched campus-wide in the Fall of 2012.

Green Office Program goals

The goals of this program are to:

Raise environmental consciousness and practices within staff and faculty at Western
Contribute to the reduction of the university’s greenhouse gas emissions
Reduce our impact on the environment by decreasing and rethinking our consumption of resources
Encourage and increase the use of environmentally-friendly products

Who is participating?

Five offices across campus will be part of the pilot program which include:

  • Facilities Management (AVP)
  • Engineering (Dean's Office)
  • Engineering (UES Executive)
  • Student Success Centre
  • Hospitality Services (Lambton)

What areas can Western Engineering improve in?

The Dean’s Office completed a baseline survey to determine where they currently are in their sustainability efforts and to identify areas for improvements. The survey evaluated us under 8 categories:

  • Energy and Climate
  • Food and Dining
  • Publications and Outreach
  • Purchasing
  • Transportation
  • Waste Management
  • Events and Meetings
  • Initiatives

Certification Levels

The certification levels, and minimum score required to achieve these levels, include:

  • Participant (n/a);
  • GOP Bronze (60 points);
  • GOP Silver (110 points);
  • GOP Gold (160 points);
  • GOP Platinum (210 points)

The maximum points available are 255 points. The Dean’s Office has achieved Bronze status, with a goal to achieve Gold status. We have reviewed where we can make improvements and have developed a plan to make these improvements. The UES would like to achieve Platinum level.

The below chart summarizes the point scale earned and yet to be achieved in the Dean’s Office. The green portion of the bar graph indicates the total number of points available in each category and the blue portion shows what points we have earned so far. Progress in meeting our goals will be reported on at the next staff meeting with the plan to complete another survey in December to see how we are doing.

Green Office Program Summary Chart

Below is a summary of the areas we are pursuing in each category as a part of the Green Office Pilot Program. Click here for more information on this program.

Energy and Climate

  • Our computers, monitors, and printers are shut off at night or when not in use.
  • We have enabled sleep mode on all copiers and printers after 5 minutes of inactivity.
  • All our lights are turned off when not in use as well as during the night; including common areas, kitchens, storage rooms, and conference rooms.
  • We have labels on all light switches to remind staff and faculty to switch off lights.
  • We have calculated our individual carbon footprint.
  • Power bars are used in individual workspaces and turned off every night.
  • We make sure all small appliances (such as kettles, microwaves, and coffee machines) are unplugged at night.
  • At our office, we make sure all blinds are closed at night during the winter time to preserve heat and keep cold out.
  • At our office, we make sure all blinds are closed at night during the summer months to preserve cold and keep heat out.
  • 100% of our staff has a natural plant at their desk area to improve indoor air quality and well-being.

Food and Dining

  • We have a composting bin in the kitchen and a schedule for its proper disposal.
  • We discourage the use of individually packaged beverage and food items in our office.
  • All staff practices water conservation techniques by turning on the faucet half way when washing their hands. (Reminders have been posted where applicable).
  • We only use biodegradable/non-toxic or environmentally preferable dishwashing soap in the kitchen.
  • All staff/faculty in our office bring a “litterless” (waste-free) lunch.
  • Bottled water, Styrofoam, and plastic cups are never purchased by our office.

Publications and Outreach

  • All of our staff have “save paper, think before you print”-type of message included in their email signature to discourage unnecessary printing.
  • Our office (or group) receives a “Green Tip” e-mail monthly and before holidays from our Green Office Representative.
  • Every month and before all holidays and breaks, an email is sent to our staff that includes energy saving tips.
  • We include information on the University’s and Department’s green initiatives, policies, and/or guidelines in our new staff/faculty orientation packages (if one exists).
  • Members of our office are encouraged to attend a sustainability related event and/or webinar once a year.


  • In our office, only rechargeable batteries are purchased and used.
  • If furniture must be purchased, sustainable certified companies are sought and/or we buy only recycled furniture.


  • We have conducted a commuter survey to determine the percentage of staff that uses alternative forms of transportation, such as cycling, transit, walking, and carpooling.
  • 25% of our staff uses alternative forms of transportation at least three times a week.
  • In our office, only fuel-efficient cars are requested and rented for business travel.


  • We have UTOSS (Use the Other Side Scratch-pads) bins to collect paper.
  • We keep a scrap paper bin close to our copier/printer area.
  • We have clearly marked recycling bins in all common areas and where there is a trash can present (i.e. kitchens, conference rooms, mail rooms, copy rooms).
  • In our office, there is a reusable bag in the kitchen or common room that staff/faculty can use if needed.
  • We have reviewed Western’s recycling procedures in the past 12 months.
  • In our office, we photocopy/print double-sided whenever possible and reminder signs are posted in the printer/copier room.
  • We encourage staff/faculty to print in grayscale and fast draft whenever possible.
  • When printing is strictly necessary, we decrease margins of documents to 0.5 inches.
  • Recycling bins for paper and beverage streams (total of 2) are located at all office events and meetings.
  • We have looked into ways in which we can reduce our paper consumption as well as our waste output and have presented the findings at a staff meeting.
  • In our office, margins are set to 0.5 inches as a default.
  • We have set a goal to go paperless and have started to shift towards electronic forms.

Events and Meetings

  • All materials that must be printed for meetings are printed double-sided.
  • Prior to meetings, a reminder is sent to staff to bring their own reusable mug if beverages will be served.
  • At our office, we do not provide bottled water but pitchers with filtered water, reusable mugs and cups.
  • We use reusable cups, dishware, and cutlery whenever possible at our events and meetings. When this is not possible, we use recycled, compostable or biodegradable products.
  • In order to reduce waste, we purchase products in bulk for items such as sugar, ketchup, and beverages.
  • Our office encourages the use of video conferencing whenever possible to reduce our carbon emissions.
  • We buy carbon offsets to compensate for air and ground travel to conferences that cannot be avoided.

Other Initiatives

  • Put “Green Office” bulletin board in SEB 2002 (copier room).
  • Post “We are a Green Office” on our office doors.
  • Bulletin in Main staff kitchen – update with Green posters (as above).
  • Email to all faculty/staff re: Purple Bike program and Carpooling program at Western University.