Green Office Initiative – Coming Soon!

Green tinted aerial view of Emory's campus

Sustainability and Emory University.

The Office of Sustainability Initiatives is hard at work developing the framework of the Green Office initiative! This effort is playing out in 3 stages: program development, pilot implementations, grow/sustain.

Our goals include education, ownership and leadership to achieve Green Offices that will further reduce our carbon footprint, energy and water use, while heightening efforts of recycling and reusing.

We are working on a checklist that will attempt to address everything from lights on/off to the cleaning products used. Some of the efforts we want to capture include 2-sided copying; tree free paper use (100% post consumer waste recycled paper); ink cartridge and battery recycling; centrally located composting bin along with white paper, plastic, and mixed paper recycling bins; events that use compostable or reuseable cups and utensils, and much more!

Our friends at the 1599 Building have been piloting a composting program for several weeks and we are looking forward to publishing the results, along with the composting efforts already in place across the campus. Soon composting will come to be as routine as white and mixed paper recycling across the Emory enterprise; it’s a complete win/win by reducing landfill use and Emory using the resulting compost across the campus to feed our green spaces.

A real emphasis is being placed on Green Events that ‘zero waste’…it is highly doable with leftover food and beverages being compostable, with plates, cups and utensils as compostable or reusable. The office checklist has the following categories under review; Energy, Water, Waste reduction, Procurement, Construction, Education and Chemicals (cleaning agents in particular).

The initial ‘survey’ will ask particulars about your space – open/public space, office space, kitchen space. It will cover both physical layout and your routines with turning lights and equipment on and off. If you are reworking an office space, the hope is that you will recycle the old furniture and equipment with Emory Surplus and work to purchase new furniture that is sustainable and equipment that is EnergyStar-rated where applicable. This too will be part of the checklist and your office will earn points for all things recycled, reused and sustainable.

The initial effort establishes a baseline; your responses will result in a score that will help you know how well you are doing and what you might want to consider adopting in an effort to promote sustainability. The Office of Sustainability Initiatives has made giant strides in pursuit of the goal: 25% reduced energy use by 2015 of the 2005 levels.

In 2011 we had reached 15% reduced energy, mainly by changing behaviors! Visit – it’s the Sustainability Dashboard and you will like what you see.  Be ready…coming soon…the Green Office Initiative!

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