Sustainability certification program rolled out to entire campus

Sue Sullivan, the facilitator for the Business and Financial Affairs office speaks on October 19, in Wilson Library, about her accomplishments with the Sustainable Office Certification Program. Photo by Sam Heim | Communications and Marketing intern

Sam Heim
Communications and Marketing intern

This past summer, the Office of Sustainability at Western Washington University piloted the recently created Sustainable Office Certification Program.

The goal of the program is to applaud the faculty and employees who focus on energy efficiency on Western’s campus. The pilot program included five voluntary departments of the university: Library Circulation, Environmental Health and Safety, University Advancement Services, the Provost’s Office and the Office of Financial Aid.

Carol Berry, the campus conservation program manager, and the facilitators from each of the offices met recently in Wilson Library to discuss the pilot program.

Each of the facilitators spoke about what energy efficiency achievements they made during the summer and what they hope to initiate in the future.

“The big benefit is that we’re working together,” Berry said.

Berry said the next step for the university is to use less -- less energy and less money.

One way to do that, she said, is by turning off computer monitors.

If the computer monitors in only the circulation are of the library were left on all day every day, the energy bill for that small number of computers would be around $7,000 per year. If they were left on for 10 hours per day the cost would be just over $3,000 per year, Berry said.

In January 2011, the Office of Sustainability established the 10X12 program, which aims by the end of 2012 to reduce by 10 percent the energy and consumption on campus. From this, the certification program evolved. The program’s goal is to promote energy efficiency throughout the administrative offices on campus.

Each of the offices participating in the pilot was awarded an “action score” and certification level. Officials evaluated the program with a 75-question survey about the previous energy-efficiency accomplishments and the new actions created during the pilot process. Points were awarded depending on the cost, impact and effort demanded. The Financial Aid office was awarded the most points, 109 out of 145 and a gold level certificate. Kathleen Nolan was the office's facilitator. 

The office began using all paperless processing, such as using One-Note as a reference manual instead of the desk reference guide. It also implemented the separating of waste to “remove compostable food waste and food-soiled paper” from the office, according to the Sustainable Office Certification report.

The Office of Sustainability is now expanding the program, and beginning Nov. 1, all administrative offices on campus dealing with clerical, managerial, professional or executive businesses are eligible.