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Green Office Program

Northwestern is committed to being a leader in sustainability, and faculty and staff have essential roles to play in reaching the University's sustainability goals. The Green Office Program engages faculty and staff in the process of adopting environmental best practices in the workplace. The program offers guidance on conserving energy and water, reducing waste, and increasing environmental awareness on campus. The process empowers all of our faculty and staff to become green leaders and its success is based on broad engagement and collective impact.

The benefits of certification

The Green Office Program provides tools and support to help offices and departments conserve resources, reduce costs, and create a healthier, greener workplace. Participating offices and Green Office leaders receive University-wide recognition for their efforts and become part of a campus-wide community of sustainability leaders.

The certification process

sustainNU guides Green Office leaders as they work toward certification. Here are the basic steps to the certification process. 

  1. Contact sustainNU. 
    Contact sustainNU at sustainNU@northwestern.edu to learn more and start the process.
  2. Hold an introductory meeting. 
    Meet with a sustainNU staff member to review the certification process.
  3. Get approval. 
    Get approval from your office leadership to proceed with Green Office Certification.
  4. Host a staff presentation. 
    Organize a Green Office presentation for your staff with sustainNU and submit the Faculty and Staff Participation Form.
  5. Form a Green Office Team. 
    Organize a Green Office team to lead the certification process.
  6. Complete and submit the Green Office Assessment.
    Review your office’s equipment and practices by completing the assessment.
  7. Start greening your office.  
    Work with your green team to start implementing the steps in the Green Office Certification Guide.
  8. Check in with sustainNU.
    Update sustainNU on the status of your certification process, share a target completion date, and receive support during a mid-guide touch base.
  9. Submit the Green Office Certification Guide. 
    Submit your completed Guide to sustainNU for review and verification.
  10. Receive certification. 
    sustainNU will present your Green Office Certification at a celebration event or meeting of your choice.

After certification

Certified Green Offices keep up their commitments to environmentally friendly practices and receive ongoing support from sustainNU to continue improving the sustainability of their offices.

Stay Active and re-certify

  • Maintain an active green team
  • Continue the sustainability practices your office implemented through the program
  • Maintain participation in Green Office Program efforts, including annual recertification

Green Offices are encouraged to

  • Network with other Green Office staff at Green Office programs and events
  • Participate in new sustainability office activities and opportunities
  • Stay up-to-date with news and opportunities through the Green Office Program mailing list
  • Use resources provided by sustainNU to promote your office's certification

Get started today

Getting started is simple. Reach out to sustainNU at sustainNU@northwestern.edu to set up your introductory call. Check out our Green Office FAQs if you have more questions.

Connect with sustainNU

Want to get connected with sustainability initiatives right away?

  • Sign up for our newsletter to hear sustainability news, events, and opportunities
  • Follow us @sustainNU on Facebook and Twitter

Download Green Office materials

Green Office Program Overview
An introduction to the Green Office Program, the program requirements, ways to get involved, the certification process, and the sustainable practices. 

Faculty and Staff Participation Form
Use this form to create a list if everyone in your office and keep track of who has participated in the Green Office presentation. To achieve certification, your office needs at least 75% participation in the presentation.

Green Office Assessment
Conduct an assessment of equipment and practices in your office to identify areas for improvement.

Green Office Certification Guide
Use this guide to implement environmentally sustainable practices in your office. To become certified, your office needs to implement at least 21 of these sustainable practices.

Certified Office Profile Guide
Use this guide to document your successful certification and get featured on our list of Certified Green Offices.