Green Office Tools
Staff throughout the university support campus sustainability. Here’s what you can do!
- Participate in the Sustainable Office Certification program.
- Become a Department Conservation Coordinator.
- Hang the What You Do poster in your office. Sustainable best practices in Western’s working, learning, and living spaces make a difference. Use your power for good.
- Post the “Top 10” Sustainability Action Poster in your office.
- Use the Green Office Tools(Check Below!)
Sustainable Office Certification Program
Sustainable Office Certification reduces costs, protects the environment, conserves resources and promotes fairness, safety and health. The program supports actions and provides a simple way of measuring efforts that happen at the office level. Participating Offices are recognized for their level of achievement, as a way of showing thanks and appreciation for measurement of work well done.
Department Conservation Coordinators
A Department Conservation Coordinator is a staff or faculty member in a participating department, with the following qualifications:
- A commitment to conservation concepts and actions
- A strong interest in reducing utilities costs and working toward zero waste in their departments
- Two to four hours per month release time for activities, including a quarterly training and networking meeting.
Students may serve as assistant Conservation Coordinators in departments with a staff or faculty DCC.
Top 10 Actions/What You Do
Disable Screen Savers
Switch off lights and equipment
Wear a sweater
Ditch the plastic
Use less paper; choose recycled
Sort your trash
Call for Recycling
Share materials you don’t need
Share the ride, walk, or ride a bike
Spread the news
Have you been wanting to start composting, but haven’t been sure how to get started? Want to learn about composting? If so, take a look here.
Energy Conservation Tools
The Belkin Power Strip has 6 remote controlled outlets, and two 24/7 outlets. The remote control can be hung on the wall and has a long range for ease of access. Now you don’t have to crawl under your desk to reach your power strip every day!
A Belkin Power Switch helps with turning off appliances that may be difficult to unplug. The outlet allows one appliance or device to be plugged in, and has a switch on the side that turns the outlet on and off. This allows for energy to be consumed only when the device is needed and on. When you switch the outlet off, the device can remained plugged in without consuming “phantom energy”.
A Belkin Insight Monitor is available to check out for a short period of time (a week or so). The Monitor has an outlet and a readout screen, which allows you to plug in any appliance and see the cost and real-time voltage of electricity used by the equipment or device, and the associated CO2 emissions produced. The monitor collects data when your appliance/device is on and off.
We compared the electricity draw of LED holiday lights versus incandescent holiday lights. If left on 24/7, the regular light string would cost $40.56/year in electricity used, compared to the LED light string, which would cost $1.74/year.
Ink and Toner
If your office is using the Magnum recycled printer cartridges, available through Keeney’s, returning the used cartridges is done through Keeney’s. However, Western’s Central stores will accept all types of cartridges for recycling. Send your used ink cartridges, or new cartridges for printers you no longer use to Central Stores, MS 9116
Magnum has produced quality re-manufactured toner since 1991. Magnum brand toner cartridges have an average 1% defect rate, meeting or exceeding OEM toner defect rates. Magnum toner cartridges are available for laser printers, copiers and multi-function printers as well as faxes. They are made in Seattle, by fair-wage employees of all abilities, hired from the local community.
The cartridge cores are re-used up to 12 times and the Magnum brand product boxes are re-used up to 30 times. Reducing waste in landfills and helping consumers reduce their carbon footprint is part of the company mission.
300 million toners are thrown in US landfills every year. 97% of the components of a toner are recyclable. Help break this cycle by recycling your toner cartridges. WWU purchasing recommends using Magnum brand toner to reduce your cost, and also reduce Western’s carbon footprint!
Paper Waste Reduction
When office paper can no longer be used, it should be recycled. Most campus offices have bins for paper recycling at desks and common areas, with contents periodically transferred to the large blue barrels in building hallways. Most offices reuse paper ream boxes as their recycle box for under desks or near copy machines. This is encouraged because it’s reusing and the boxes are easy to replace if lost. If you want a bin for this use you can order a blue plastic bin that has “Recycle” printed on it through Keeney’s, or contact the Office of Sustainability for possible custom solutions.
Read More: Paper Waste Reduction (PDF)
Special Events Checklist
Minimize or eliminate handouts
Send invitations via email
Virtual teleconference meetings
Fair trade, local, organic
Water is provided as a choice
Avoid individually-packed servings
Share the news!
Set a zero waste goal & waste plan
Reduce the impact of giveaways
Choose compostable centerpieces
Help others plan ahead & follow up
68 degrees is the targeted heating set point in all campus buildings.
Room temperatures will typically vary a few degrees above and below the set point throughout the day, depending on a variety of factors. A room or area may seem warmer or colder, depending on proximity to system fans, windows or vents, and in relation to outside temperatures.
Facilities Management is committed to solutions providing comfort and functionality, while working to reduce utilities costs and supporting university climate action commitments.
All members of the university community are asked to support the 68F set-point through common-sense actions:
- Winter Tips for staying comfortable while conserving heating energy
- Rooms and offices with adjustable heating units
- To report a heating or air circulation issue in your area
5 Things in 5 Minutes
Quick ways to reduce personal electricity consumption. This Graphic can be attached to an email and forwarded throughout a department, as a reminder. Department Conservation Coordinators can order full-color prints to post in prominent locations. Stickers or clings to post as reminders to switch off lights, computers and other power-using devices can also be requested.
Power Down for Break
One PC and monitor, left on continuously, adds up to 1,000 Kilowatt hours per year, causing about 1,230 lbs of CO2 per year, at an annual cost of just under $100 each, based on our local electricity rates. Multiplied by between 1000 and 2000 staff and faculty office computers alone, you can get the idea of the magnitude. (And that doesn’t include the printers, fax machines, coffee makers…) the tools below can help expand energy conservation actions throughout campus.
Department Conservation coordinators can help reduce campus wasted energy load during holidays and extended breaks by forwarding “Power Down for Break” reminder messages to faculty, staff, and students. The 10×12 Program sends a message prior to each break, and can provide a template for you to customize for your department.
Power Down – Poster Series:
|Before you leave for break – remember to Power Down. Help reduce WWU standing electricity load (also known as power drain) or phantom load:
Power Down Computers
Turning computers and monitors off at night will reduce electricity consumption impacts and costs substantially. For more strategies, Read these guidelines for computer electricity reduction.
The average office computer and monitor use about 130 KWh of electricity. The computer uses 55 KWh and the monitor uses 75KWh. If they are on 24/7 this costs $80 a year, at our regional electricity rates, and generates 1,229.90 annual lbs. of CO2 per computer annually, about the size of two and a half standard transit buses. (How Big is 1 Ton of Carbon?)
The cost of electricity may seem small, but multiply that by the number of computers on campus and it’s easy to see how turning off our screen savers and setting computers to standby mode can get WWU closer to energy conservation and carbon reduction goals.
Disabling the Screen Saver and sending your computer to standby or hibernate when you leave your desk are easy ways to reduce electricity consumption, carbon impacts, and WWU utility costs. The screen saver doesn’t save energy – in fact it uses just as much electricity as your monitor does when you are working.
- One Action That Always Saves Energy
- Screen Saver
- Standby Settings
- Manual Standby
- To Determine Your Computer’s Operating System
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Won’t turning it on and off shorten the life of my monitor?
A: Well, theoretically maybe, but in practice, monitors are usually replaced when the computer is replaced, long before the monitor wears out. The payback in energy savings is immediate and ongoing, without shortening the useful life of the monitor.
Recycling University-owned equipment and materials is required. To dispose of used computers, printers, keyboards, mouses and other electronic devices, there are two options:
Submit the e-sign form for surplus equipment pickup. There is no charge to the department for pickup, and equipment is determined by WWU surplus to be either re-usable, or recyclable, and disposed of accordingly. Here’s a link to the form – it’s also under S – for Surplus Equipment Pickup.
Or, if the equipment works, but is no longer needed in your office, ATUS will take it for re-distribution and re-use. Call x3333 to request a pickup, or ask the technician who maintains computers in your area if they can take the equipment to ATUS.
Thanks for checking about recycling options! Further questions or concerns about office sustainability practices, may be directed to the campus conservation program manager, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Cool and Power Down
You can stay cool while keeping your power draw to a minimum and reducing Western’s carbon emissions by following some simple tips.
Download the Power Down for Summer Poster here: Summer Power Down
- Dress appropriately
- Drape a moist towel around your neck
- Open a window
- Close window blinds
- Take a break
- Find air-conditioned spaces
- Haggard Hall Library & Skybridge
- Viking Union
- Unplug equipment
- Turn lights off
- Place a fan close by
- Turn off fan and appliances when you leave
- If you feel that your space is unnecessarily warm, please contact Facilities Customer Service @ 650-3420. FM staff work with Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) to assess room temperatur Click here for the procedure on initiating a report on warm work spaces.
- If you would like EHS to hold a short Heat Stress training for your department, please call 650-3064 or email John Kingsford-Smith at Kingsford-Smith@wwu.edu.
- For more information on Heat-Related Illness, please see this section of Western’s Safety Information Book.
- For general information on staying cool when it’s hot this CDC website is also helpful.