UCSF Sustainability Stories

By Stephen Szeto

LivingGreen Office Assessment at the School of Medicine Dean’s Office

At the end of September, the Dean’s Office at The School of Medicine became one of the first workspaces to participate in LivingGreen Office! One of the first steps to becoming LivingGreen Office certified is for your office or workspace to undergo an initial environmental assessment by a UCSFGreen Campus Intern. The assessment addresses five areas of environmental sustainability: waste, energy, water, toxics, and culture.  Stephanie Belger, Manager – Special Events for the Dean’s Office, School of Medicine is leading the effort for her office to become LivingGreen Office certified. After Ms. Belger contacted the Green Campus Program, two interns went to the Dean’s Office for the initial visit and preliminary assessment.

The Green Campus Interns found some positive sustainability measures in the Dean’s Office, but also some areas where sustainability initiatives can be implemented. This is the case with just about every single office or workspace in any organization. Here are some highlights from the LivingGreen Office initial assessment:

• Excellent job recycling office paper, plastic bottles, and even batteries.
• Office uses paper that has 30% post-consumer waste content.
• Office uses lots of natural light and energy efficient lighting in under-lit areas.
• Has signage up encouraging employees to be more sustainable and submit ideas to BrightIdeas.

The LivingGreen Office assessment also found some things the Dean’s Office can improve on. These issues are common among all offices in any organization. We encourage all offices to address these issues, which not only saves your office money, but also reduce its environmental impact.

• Program or set printers, computers, and monitors into standby or power saving mode when idling or not in use.

• Purchase environmentally friendly products such as office paper with 50% post-consumer waste content, non-toxic cleaning supplies, and EnergyStar appliances and office equipment.

• Install faucet aerators in offices with kitchen and/or bathrooms.

• Have a plan or process for employees to turn off lights at the end of the day.

The Green Campus Program has sent Ms. Belger our list of recommendations and ranked them by priority. Green Campus Interns will also help the Dean’s Office, School of Medicine to implement these recommendations. By participating in LivingGreen Office, your office will qualify for free tools to improve the sustainability in your office.

Some of these tools include energy-saving timers and occupancy sensors, faucet aerators, smart strips, “Turn Off the Light” stickers and “Turn Off Your Monitor” stickers.