The Sustainable Office Certification is awarded to administrative and academic office working groups that measure and improve daily practices that reduce their impact on the environment by consuming less energy and materials and producing less waste. Currently, 28% of campus offices are certified at one of the levels listed below.
Bronze, silver, gold, and platinum certification levels are determined by the number of points acquired from the Certification Scoresheet.
Peter Thut and Kendra Bradford first stepped into the role of Department Conservation Coordinators during the 10×12 pilot. In that first year, the stockroom staff implemented a number of innovative programs, including recycling Styrofoam, collection and distribution of reusable and recyclable materials, and a fume hood sash monitoring and closing effort. Additional efforts include circulation of email reminders about sustainable practices. In 2014, the instructors and lab technicians in the stockroom collaborated to complete the SOC scoresheet, to find that their efforts added up to certification at the Platinum level! The staff continually strives to discover and implement systematic changes with the greatest results.
Employees: (5 staff/instructors)
Facilitators: Peter Thut, Kendra Bradford
Huxley College of the Environment, Main Office/Dean’s Office reached Platinum level in fall 2014, due to having already adopted many sustainable practices before being approached about participating in SOC. The Huxley office practices some unique actions, such as recycling empty coffee cans for bug collection, reusing and recycling the few plastic bags that are brought into the office, and encouraging carpooling by sending out email requests. The entire office shares one black-and-white printer, and the office uses a copier that is shared with three floors of the Environmental Studies building. Numerous large windows throughout the office allow for plenty of natural lighting and 75% of them open to allow for natural cooling. Office staff also maintain a collection of 16 plants that improve air quality in the workplace, including one impressive philodendron that runs along two long shelves.
Employees: (7 staff, 5 student staff)
Facilitator: Kathryn Patrick
HR staff have worked tirelessly to institute a successful waste sorting program in the HR break room. Beginning in March with a communal landfill bin and recycling done individually in the office, the break room now has composting and a full sorting system available. Cloth dishtowels and reusable silverware are available as well, cutting back unnecessary paper towel and utensil waste. On-campus HR events feature compostable materials and follow guidelines from the 12 Actions for Sustainable Events. Office Staff continually strive to both institute and educate about sustainable practices and have increased to the Platinum level.
Employees: 21 staff
Facilitators: Donna Mason, Jocylynn Kelley, Nick Sanchez
University Center at Everett Community College
Office Score – 129
When Program Assistant Britta Eschete joined the Woodring College of Education office at the Everett Extension of WWU, she saw many sustainable office practices in place, such as using refillable water pitchers and avid recycling. With her supervisor’s approval and co-worker participation, Britta reviewed the SOC scoresheet and invited Carol Berry, WWU Campus Conservation Program Manager, for a site visit, to join in a round-table conversation about what practices were in place and where staff & faculty wanted to go from there. The office documented their practices and added actions, encouraging each other and conferring with the University Center Technical Specialist. In September, they submitted the SOC scoresheet with a score of 129 points, meeting their goal of Platinum level certification! With great office practices in place, and a working environment that encourages collaboration, laughter, health, learning, and teaching, Woodring Everett is the FIRST WWU off-campus office to achieve sustainable office certification, and only the third WWU office to reach Platinum level certification. Everett Community College is committed to sustainable best practices such as composting, recycling, building design that maximizes light and a logical utilization of space, sharing of resources such as refrigerators, and partial reimbursement on bus passes. EvCC Energy Manager Molly Beeman deserves credit for support to Woodring Everett and the other Extension offices located at the University Center site.
Employees: 7 staff
Facilitator: Britta Eschete; Program Assistant
Having reached the Silver level in 2012, TLA continued to improve, reaching Platinum after a year of deliberate effort throughout the department. TLA has expanded their influence beyond their own office by sponsoring weekly Western Sustainability Lunch & Learn Conversations, and encouraging other members of the Library Learning Commons to join SOC. TLA maintains bins for food waste compost, markers/pens/pencils, and plastic/bottles/cans recycling in the multi-use area outside their office. Reusable mugs are provided for TLA participants, and sustainability success stories are shared with folks throughout campus and community, during bi-weekly TLA sessions. TLA staff assisted the Office of Sustainability in developing an office energy inventory that is now included in the SOC scoresheet. Energy reduction efforts include turning off computers and printers after hours and on weekends, facilitating and rewarding carpooling to conferences, and choosing conference venues based on reduced environmental impacts.
Employees: (2 staff, 8 students)
Facilitators: Shevell Thibou; Director: Carmen Werder; Student Co-Facilitators: Simon Bakke, Caroline Dallstream, Kali Legg
The Associated Students Club completed platinum level certification in February of 2019. Noble Solana-Walkinshaw, the facilitator of the certification process, said, “We try to promote sustainability in all of our events and have made it a priority to spread information about how to be sustainable and equitable to all the awesome clubs we support on campus.
Facilitators: Noble Solana-Walkinshaw
The Western AS Bookstore reached the Gold certification level in February 2016 due to many waste-reducing and low-impact innovations. The bookstore currently houses the only battery and electronics recycling bins for students on campus. Additionally, the staff have set up their own waste sorting station in their break room, which includes separating all glass, plastic, and cans into one bin, and all food and food soiled paper, including coffee grounds and paper towels, into a FoodPlus bin that they empty themselves. They strive to reuse as many materials as possible, such as cardboard boxes and plastic bags from textbooks, old supplies, scratch paper, packing materials, and student binders that are turned in with loose-leaf textbooks. The staff also choose to store all merchandise in the boxes they were shipped in to cut down on waste. The bookstore is also one of the biggest cardboard recyclers on campus, shipping out many bins of cardboard per day. In the retail section of the bookstore, all track lighting bulbs have been replaced with LEDs. Furthermore, the bookstore supports the research of sustainable merchandise, and provides many low-impact products such as decomposition books, recycled paper products, locally-sourced lab goggles, water bottle pens, Fair Trade items, and emergency preparedness kits.
Employees: 14 Staff
Facilitator: Peg Godwin, Manager
As the only permanent staff member working in the Underground Coffeehouse, Kim Masser has made many small changes and taken big steps to make this eatery a more sustainable place. One such change was the replacement of all lightbulbs with LED lamps in standing lamps and hanging lights. Another big change was getting approval from the Dining Services Director to remove two stand-alone landfill bins and put up signage directing customers to sorting stations. Not only does the coffeehouse have two four-part waste sorting stations, Kim has established a waste sorting station behind the counter which includes composting for coffee grounds and paper towels, as well as recycling for food product packaging and recycling for any clean paper. Whenever customers choose to eat in the coffeehouse, the staff provide them with reusable dishes and utensils, as well as reusable mugs for drinks. For those taking food with them, staff provide customers with paper bags that are compostable instead of plastic bags. Pitchers of water and reusable water tumblers are available for customers to use, and staff are instructed to use these tumblers instead of paper cups for personal use. Any water leftover in pitchers at the end of the day is used to clean or operate machinery instead of pouring it down the drain. For drip coffee, cream is served in a reusable pitchers as opposed to providing individual disposable creamer cups.
Employees: (1 staff, 11 student staff)
Facilitator: Kim Masser
Staff have started using natural lighting where possible, turning off overhead lights. During colder weather, sweaters and layers are the norm, keeping office temperature at 68F. Work with IT staff to reduce energy draw from idle computers is developing. Reusable mugs and dishes are available for visitor use, and all staff have a reusable mug and/or water bottle. Currently coffee grounds are being collected for compost, with a strong interest in composting food waste and bathroom paper towels.
Employees: 18 staff
Facilitators: MaryLynn Dawe; Supervisor: Diana Rosen; Director: Rick Benner
The Provost’s Office is a high profile place on campus, with 20 staff who meet with the public, assist administrators and University officials by engaging in meetings and events, and travel on behalf of the University. This office plans and follows through with sustainable catered events, including composting food and food-soiled paper. Energy saving measures include disabling screen savers on all office computers, changing hibernate settings with the help of the office IT specialist, and wearing sweaters for comfort, while keeping thermostats set to 68F.
Employees: 20 staff
Facilitators: Melinda Assink; Supervisor: Catherine Riordan, VP for Academic Affairs
EHS staff set up a separation area for all their waste materials, including paper towel compost, food waste compost, recyclable aluminum, glass & plastic. They have reduced landfill waste in their office by over 75%, and take compostable paper towels and food from their office waste to the SSC FoodPlus container located near their building.
Employees: (9 staff, 4 student staff)
Facilitators: Sue Sullivan; Supervisor: Gayle Shipley; Division: Business & Financial Affairs
The U Comm staff participate in many small actions and innovations that add up to create a more sustainable workplace, earning them a Gold Level certification. For their Mac computers, the optical mice are turned off when not in use, to conserve batteries. Lights in the stockroom and alcove are turned off, and all lights are turned off at the end of every day. Minimal paper use is encouraged throughout the office. Although compost collection is not available in their building, they have developed a system to separate and dispose of food and food-soiled paper. Reusable tote bags, mugs, water bottles, dishes, and silverware are used by all office members. The staff are participating in all sustainable purchasing actions, such as choosing to purchase recycled/recyclable content paper products, refillable printer/copier toner and dry-erase markers, and environmentally preferable cleaning supplies.
Employees: (9 staff, 6 student staff)
Facilitator: Jemma Everyhope-Roser
All five staff in the Advancement Services Office bike, bus, or walk to work daily, and regularly bicycle to off-campus meetings and retreats. In addition to separating recyclable material, staff also separate compostable food waste and dispose of it in the FoodPlus container located next to the Miller Hall dumpster. Sustainable office orientation for student staff has been incorporated into office routine.
Employees: (4 staff, 5 student staff)
Facilitators: Jennifer Hoover; Supervisor: Donna Janigo
The office has worked hard to implement sustainable practices throughout their space. By using poster reminders to help prevent contamination, the Environmental Sciences office is effectively separating and food soiled paper and food waste from the landfill, and taking it to the nearest FoodPlus collection point on campus. All office members have a reusable mug or water bottle while at work, and reusable dishes are offered to visitors in place of disposable ones to reduce waste production. The office uses environmentally friendly cleaning supplies and purchases recyclable and refillable office products for office use.
Employees: 3 staff
Facilitator: Bonnie Drewes
Recycling paper and turning off appliances and lights is a standard practice in the Center for Service Learning. Everyone in the office walks, bikes, or rides the bus to work. For special events when food is served, food waste and recyclables are separated, reusable dishes, linens, and utensils are used, and pitchers or water stations are used instead of bottled water. Even though compostable food waste needs to be carried outside the office for disposal, the group decided to adopt a FoodPlus kitchen pail and now compost or recycle all of their lunchroom waste.
Employees: (4 staff, 3 student staff)
Facilitator: Assistant Director, Travis Tennessen
IPE is located in LEED-certified Miller Hall, but faces challenges due to their widely-spread office structure. Not to be deterred, their group efforts include minimizing or eliminating desk-side trash bins to maximize recycling. They are the first group on campus to adopt trash mini-bins. IPE earned a 100% score for energy reduction actions, and pay special attention to special events & travel. Separated compost collection is available in Miller, and all staff make a point to use it. The shared printer is only turned on when there is a need to print.
Employees: (4 staff, 12 student staff)
Facilitators: SO Facilitators: Hannah Nevitt, Dan Lindeman, Laurie Nesheim; Supervisor: Krista Mantello
This is a large department, consisting of four office work areas, sharing a kitchen and break room. This office has received an award for going to all paperless processing, and had many action items were in place before applying for Sustainable Office Certification. They still found more they could do to reduce their impact, and are working these actions into their policies. The Kathleen Marye surveyed office staff anonymously, to get an idea of actions and attitudes supporting sustainable actions, and are working to ensure that efforts are equitable, and do not adversely affect workloads or working conditions in the department. The office has implemented waste sorting that removes compostable food waste and food-soiled paper from their offices, kitchen, and break room waste stream. Desk reference manuals are now paperless using One-Note, enabling simultaneous access and immediate update of all desk reference guides.
Employees: (23 staff, 31 student staff)
Facilitators: Kathleen Nolan, Program Coordinator, and Marye Scott, Student Employee
Computers, printers, and copiers are turned off overnight and on weekends, and natural lighting is used everywhere possible, turning off overhead lights. Special attention is paid to reducing packaging and food waste at special events, by ordering platters, rather than individual portions, using water stations rather than bottled water, and by carrying through with a compost and recycling plan for each event. Completion of a computer energy inventory reveals that by turning off computers overnight and on weekends, the office reduces over 10,000 lbs of CO2 annually, saving $680.00 in electricity costs.
Employees: 12 staff
Facilitators: SO Facilitators: Miranda Myers Barker; Supervisor: Carole Teshima
The Psychology Department is located in AIC, a Leed-certified building, with motion-activated light sensors and many other energy reduction features. Even so, an energy inventory revealed that by turning off computers and monitors at seven staff workstations when they are not in use (nights, weekends, holidays)the office reduces energy costs by $380.00 per year and reduces CO2 emissions by 5,900 pounds per year. The department staff added compostables collection in the break room/kitchen/conference room, and collect paper towels for composting in the labs and classrooms. Not satisfied with these efforts, the department is actively pursuing recycling options for Styrofoam packing material, and investigating a departmental bike for on and off-campus meetings and errands. Psychology received SOC status through the initiative and efforts of original Facilitator Monica Aebly, and are continuing practices after Monica has moved to another office on campus.
Employees: (4 staff, 4 student staff)
Facilitators: Mike Valente, Andrea Swanson
Office staff engaged in education regarding compostable materials and composting practices, and now separate all waste materials, including compostable bathroom paper towels as well as food waste. Attention is paid to waste & energy impacts at meetings. The BFA office earned a 100% score in purchasing practices. There is an exemplary level of participation in safety and emergency preparedness, including CERT and CPR training. Half of the office group participates in Whatcom Smart Trips, with several daily carpool and bus commuters.
Employees: 10 staff
Facilitators: Mary Seaton; Supervisor: V.P. Rich Van Den Hul
The Tutoring Center adopts sustainable practices wherever they can. They collect one-sided used scratch paper for employee and student use, and narrow print margins to reduce paper waste whenever possible. The office uses natural light or task light whenever possible to reduce overhead light energy consumption. The Tutoring Center saves energy by setting computer monitors to hibernate after a period of inactivity and by unplugging small appliances overnight. To promote sustainable transportation, the office has now posted WTA transportation schedules and contact info for students.
Employees: (2 staff, 60 student staff)
Facilitator: Katrina Buckman
The Provost’s Office is committed to sustainability, and upholding the values of WWU in relation to being environmentally friendly. By making small changes within the office, like using a compost bin and setting reminders to turn off computers and electronics, we are making a big impact on our carbon footprint and sustainability initiatives. We hope to continue learning about new ways to make our office even more environmentally friendly, and contribute to Western’ effort to making our campus sustainable.
Facilitator :Elizabeth Yarbrough
Western’s Extended Education offices in College Hall became certified at the Silver Level in the fall of 2015. EE joins Woodring Everett, one of their satellite sites, in certification. Departmental energy consumption and costs have decreased through several integrated practices, improving sustainable actions without compromising business needs. They started by working with copier support to identify the cheapest way to print, starting with copy orders and the most efficient in-house copiers as the best options, before moving to reduce network printers and personal printers. Consequently, the number of personal printers in the department has reduced by about half. They utilize lock-printing and set print jobs older than 1 week to delete automatically, which reduces paper and related costs for unwanted printouts, and improves data security. Staff created a teleconference room (CH 131) to facilitate meetings and reduce travel between extension sites, including 32nd Street. They have also used Outlook Calendars to share vehicles between all units in their large department, and have a Zipcar account for department-approved travel. Space heaters have not been purchased for many years now, and the remaining space heaters have been collected and turned in to Surplus. While personal refrigerators are used, they are typically shared by 3-5 people in an office. Two water bottle refilling stations were installed last year, encouraging use of personal reusable water bottles. EE borrowed kilowatt monitors from the Office of Sustainability to assess equipment power loads, installed remote-control surge protectors for electronics and appliances, and have added “Turn Off the Lights” to certain office spaces.
Employees: 60 Staff
Facilitator: David Crook
The Viking Commons office of WWU Dining Services has become certified at the Silver level, by reducing energy consumption, improving waste disposal, and supporting sustainable special events. Four staff working in the office have reduced energy consumption by participating in small yet significant habits including turning off moving screensavers, ensuring that all lights, computers, small appliances, and personal electronics are turned off and/or unplugged when not in use and overnight. To decrease waste they produce, the staff reuse once-used paper, share and edit documents electronically whenever possible, purchase recycled content office supplies and paper products, drink tap water, and use reusable dishes, mugs, and water bottles. Even though compostable material is not collected in the Viking Commons building, the staff have developed a system to sort their waste, including separating food and food-soiled paper, and disposing of it on their own in Food Plus bins behind the Viking Union. For transportation to work, 50% of the staff rely on carpooling, walking, or biking to campus, and all staff members utilize sustainable transportation for on and off campus meetings, as well as using teleconferencing whenever possible. To produce sustainable events, the staff develop proper waste disposal plans for events according to the products provided at the event, utilize Food Plus bins for food waste, choose buffet or family-style meals with reusable or compostable dishes and utensils in order to reduce individual packaging and waste, and provide pitchers of water instead of individual water bottles.
Employees: 4 Staff
Facilitator: Abbie Abramovich
Western’s University Police Department has implemented many sustainable practices throughout their office. In order to reduce phantom energy drain, all computers, printers, and copiers are set to sleep when not in use. The department uses rechargeable batteries whenever possible to reduce waste production and collects all other batteries, sending them to EHS for recycling. All office members use a reusable mug or water bottle. The department orders recycled paper and toner cartridges as well as refillable dry erase markers for shared use.
Employees: 27 Staff
Facilitator: Sergeant Ron Carpenter
As a Silver Level Certified Office, the Map Library has already adopted many sustainable actions in their workplace. The screen savers on computers have been turned off and computers and other office electronic devices are set to reduce power and/or sleep after a period of inactivity, as well as being turned off at night and on the weekends. Office supplies are shared and re-used. There are shared kitchen appliances for employee use, which are shut off at night and on weekends. Sweater use is encouraged and windows and doors are shut when heat system is on. Landfill bins in the Map Library have been reduced to one, incorporated into a waste sorting station with recycle bins. The Map Library promotes map upcycling on campus, working with other departments and when possible, holding public map giveaways to encourage the campus community to use outdated maps that must be taken out of the collections.
Employees: (1 staff, 3 student staff)
Facilitator: Dennis Matthews
The printers in Circulation are older and will not accept once-used paper without jamming. Circulation makes other efforts to reduce printing, and then collects any paper printed on one-side only for scratch-paper, sharing it with the Writing Center. Circulation has switched from using paper cups to designating a shared space for coffee-making and washable mugs, and designated an area for reusable office supplies, available to Library staff. They also collect and return packing materials to inter-library loan for reuse.
Employees: (5 staff, 10 student staff)
Facilitators: Clarissa Mansfield; Supervisor: Kim Marsicek
Webtech has adopted a few new sustainable practices to their daily routine in addition to some habits already in place that have helped them reach the Gold level of certification. One staff member is a telecommuter, and 50% of the staff walk or bike to work twice or more a week. There are over a dozen ceiling light fixtures installed in the office, and the staff were successful in asking Facilities Maintenance to remove 4 fluorescent tube lamps, reducing energy usage, due to abundant natural lighting. When hosting meetings, staff are sent a “Bring Your Own Coffee” message, which has now been edited to state “Bring Your Own Coffee in a Reusable Mug” to reduce waste. The office shares one large printer which has now been turned off and will only be turned on when in use. The staff have also developed a waste sorting station including a new compost bin to dispose of food waste and food soiled paper.
Employees: (5 staff, 6 student staff)
Facilitator: Max Bronsema
The AS Board is sweater-conscious, and office staff manage personal comfort levels with layering rather than using space heaters or turning up the thermostat. Nearly half the staff regularly relies on buses for transportation. The office uses rechargeable batteries, has disabled the screen savers on their computers and disconnects personal electronics when not in use. For special events serving food, the office provides reusable dishes and utensils or compostable ware and emphasizes tap/bulk dispenser water use, not purchasing bottle water for events either. Through mapping their office energy inventory the AS Board is continually striving to reduce energy use and improve their SOC scores.
Employees: 11 Staff
Facilitator: Max Zentner