Green Workplace Program

Green workplace logo

Working Green at MHC

The Miller Worley Center for the Environment’s Green Workplace Program is an opportunity for staff, faculty, and student workers across all campus workplaces (offices, departments, divisions, etc.) to work together to implement sustainable practices to lower their environmental impacts while contributing to the College's strategic priority of environmental sustainability and our goal of carbon neutrality by 2037, the College’s bicentennial.

The certification program has four levels with a range of increasingly challenging actions across the following areas:

  • Reduction & Reuse
  • Energy
  • Meetings/Events
  • Purchasing
  • Transportation
  • Water
  • Air Quality
  • Community Engagement
  • Innovation

Once a group accomplishes 75 percent of the actions in a given level, they will receive a Green Workplace Certification.

Miller Worley staff are available to orient workgroups to the program, answer questions, and provide resources.

Ready to get started?

Step 1: Bring up the idea of becoming a Green Workplace at your next staff meeting to introduce your colleagues to the program and gauge interest.

Step 2: Designate a Green Workplace Liaison. The liaison’s job is to be a point of contact between your workplace and the Miller Worley Center as well as coordinate your workplace's participation.

Step 3: Fill out the sign up form. A Miller Worley staff member will be in touch to set up a brief orientation meeting.

Step 4: Participate in an orientation meeting with Miller Worley staff and as many members of your workplace as possible. We will discuss a customized plan for your workplace and answer any questions you may have. After the meeting, you will be provided with your Green Workplace Worksheet.

Step 5: Identify your Green Team. The Green Team is responsible for participating in the actions that your group adopts and proposing new ideas. Your Green Team should include at least 75 percent of workplace members.

Step 6:  Check out the resources available to help you green your workplace.

Step 7: Start implementing sustainable actions and filling out your group’s copy of the Green Workplace Worksheet.

Step 8: Publicize and celebrate your part in making Mount Holyoke a more sustainable campus community!

Reduction and reuse

Printing

  • set all computer defaults to two-sided printing
  • placed reminders to print two-sided on all printers
  • make a policy to always print preview before printing to reduce the need to reprint
  • consider the proper paper size before printing
  • reuse inter-office envelopes
  • reuse shipment boxes
  • de-subscribed from junk mail and removed former employees from mailing lists
  • switch to electronic subscriptions whenever possible
  • avoid printing labels by printing addresses onto envelopes
  • exclusively use electronic intra-office communication

Breaks and lunch

  • use reusable dishes and flatware rather than disposable
  • use reusable mugs
  • purchased shared products (coffee, sugar, creamer) in bulk rather than in individual packaging
  • participate in the campus K-Cup recycling program
  • any disposable napkins/paper towels are made of unbleached recycled materials and compostable

Recycling

  • post college recycling guidelines clearly and effectively
  • have recycling bins alongside each trash bin
  • recycle MFD ink cartridges by mailing them back to the supplier or sending them to Auxiliary Services
  • have a designated reuse area where coworkers can leave unneeded office supplies for others to use
  • everyone has familiarized themself with what can be recycled on campus and recyling procedures

Energy

Office equipment

  • set appliances (computers, laptops, printers, etc) to switch to standby mode after 10-25 minutes of not being used
  • deactivate screen savers on all computers
  • set all computers and monitors in the office to power saving mode
  • set energy saving/auto-off mode for all copiers, printers, fax machines, scanners, and other appliances

Lighting

  • turn off lights when rooms are empty
  • turn off all lights at the end of the day

Efficiency

  • unplug power strips and appliances that draw energy when not in use
  • share common appliances such as one communal coffee maker, microwave, and refrigerator
  • those who are able take the stairs rather than using elevators
  • do not use automatic door openers unless needed
  • clear at least 8-12 inches of space in front of radiators and vents
  • refrigerator is set to 37°F and freezer is set to 3-5°F
  • close windows at night and during cold weather
  • request that Facilities Management seal windows during heating season

Green Meetings

Waste

  • use bulk dispensers rather than individual packets (sugar, cream, etc)
  • do not purchase or use single-use water bottles (including 5 gallon bottles)
  • avoid disposable stirrers and straws
  • provide and/or encourage the use of reusable cups, dishes, and flatware
  • avoid individually wrapped food and flatware

Printed materials

  • avoid lamination except for materials that will be used for several years
  • collect and reuse name tag sleeves
  • send out electronic rather than printed invitations
  • send meeting agendas electronically before the event rather than printing paper copies
  • print necessary materials on recycled paper

Equipment

  • meeting area has a projector and/or whiteboard
  • avoid using plastic/disposable tablecloths

Purchasing

Office supplies

  • purchase recycled material desktop items (paper clips, pencils, pens, etc.)

Transportation

  • At least 10% of workplace staff walk or bike to work.
  • At least 10% of workplace staff commute using the PVTA
  • At least 50% of workplace staff walk, bike, or take the PVTA to on campus and 5 College meetings

Water conservation

  • when washing dishes, soap and scrub before running water.
  • report any leaks immediately to Facilities for repair

Air quality

  • at least one member of the workplace has read the Indoor Air Quality Plan

Community

  • place green office reminders strategically around the office
  • make green office information and tracking accessible to the entire workplace (by sharing the google sheet, for example)
  • discuss sustainability initiatives regularly (monthly is encouraged)

Innovation

  • devise another green initiative that was not mentioned above

Reduction and reuse

Printing

  • store documents online through Google Drive or Dropbox, or on an external drive
  • work on drafts electronically rather than printing drafts
  • have a scrap paper pile to use for drafts and notes

Breaks and lunch

  • take our lunch waste home for composting
  • use reusable storage containers rather than aluminum foil and plastic wrap
  • use reusable napkins and avoid the use of paper napkins/paper towels

Recycling

  • recycle inkjet and non-MFD laserjet toner/ink cartridges by mailing them back to the supplier or sending them to Facilities Management
  • recycle batteries by bringing them to a public campus collection area

Energy

Lighting

  • replace all incandescent light bulbs with LEDs in task lighting
  • minimize overhead lighting and instead use natural light and individual LED lamps

Appliances

  • ensure all appliances that draw energy (coffee maker, microwave, printer, etc.) are turned off and unplugged at the end of the day
  • unplug all chargers once our devices are charged in order to prevent phantom electricity draw
  • organize/clean out electronic storage to put less pressure on servers
  • send out a break checklist before all breaks to remind our workplace of energy saving techniques

Temperature control

  • follow college policy to not use personal space heaters unless provided by Facilities Management
  • close blinds in the summer to reduce heat
  • close blinds at the end of the day during the winter months to conserve heat

Green Meetings

Waste

  • practice paperless meetings
  • reuse centerpieces

Food/purchasing

  • buy certified fair trade, shade grown, humanely raised, and organic options
  • serve food from lower on the food chain (fruits and vegetables rather than meat)
  • purchase options with minimal processing and packaging

Advertising

  • spread awareness of the sustainable aspects of our event to all attendees prior to the event
  • encourage attendees to bring their own reusable utensils and mugs
  • create banners/signs that can be reused for future events rather than one-time use posters

Purchasing

Office supplies

  • purchase green cleaning products (such as Seventh Generation, EPA Safer Choice hand and dish soap)
  • purchase tissues made with recycled content
  • purchase rechagable batteries
  • consolidate orders and wait to order until a minimum of $50 price has been reached
  • order water-based permanent markers rather than solvent-based

Transportation

  • start and encourage the use of a workplace carpool or rideshare
  • encourage webinars or teleconferencing

Water conservation

  • be aware of and adhere to local water advisories, particularly in the summer

Community

  • share sustainability best practices during staff meetings
  • share sustainability successes during staff meetings to encourage further action
  • review recycling practices at a staff meeting or an email memo has been sent to all workplace members
  • participate in a campus sustainability-related event

Innovation

  • devise another green initiative that was not mentioned above

Reduction and reuse

Printing

  • track printer use using Papercut
  • individually graph/visualize the progression of printing activity regularly
  • reduce document length by using smaller fonts and decreased margins whenever possible while ensuring accessibility and readability
  • print materials using low-ink typefaces such as Ryman Eco, Century Gothic, Calibri, Garamond, or Times New Roman
  • purchase 100% recycled paper

Breaks and lunch

  • participate in Meatless Mondays
  • strive for Zero Waste lunches

Recycling

  • reuse and recycle grocery store plastic bags
  • recycle packing peanuts with Facilities Management (https://www.mtholyoke.edu/mwce/wastereduction-recycling)
  • host an Office Clean Out Day annually to create an inventory of what we have and promote recycling of what we no longer need

Energy

Lighting

  • rely on natural lighting rather than overhead lighting as often as possible

Energy efficiency

  • use smart power strips to reduce phantom power draw
  • have no more than 1 mini fridge for every 5 office members
  • do not have any personal deskside printers; use common MFDs

Green Meetings

Waste

  • ensure all food scraps from our events will be composted by the caterer or in the Willits compost area

Food/purchasing

  • buy seasonal, local foods in addition to the silver level certifications
  • label all food items with their source
  • offer only vegetarian dishes at our events

Advertising

  • do not advertise through print materials

Energy use

  • strive to find a space that has the opportunity for natural lighting rather than overhead lighting when planning events

Purchasing

Office supplies

  • create an inventory of all office and consumable supplies to avoid reordering unneccessary supplies
  • use staple-free staplers whenever possible

Furniture

  • coordinate with Facilities Management to reuse/donate all unwanted furniture at the end of the year
  • when in need of new furniture, work with Purchasing and/or Facilities to assess used and remanufactured options
  • have a policy to buy furniture manufactured with recycled material

Water

  • individuals do not use single use water bottles

Ordering

  • consolidate orders and wait to order until it is a minimum of $100
  • have a policy to examine where and of what materials workplace merchandise is sourced from

Transportation

  • at least 30% of workplace staff commute to work by walking, biking, PVTA, and/or carpooling

Community

  • share our ideas for sustainable action with the Miller Worley Center
  • provide updates on sustainable actions in our staff meetings
  • include at least 1 sustainablity performance metric in individual work plans
  • have our Green Workplace Certification displayed in our workplace.
  • participate in a campus sustainability-related event

Innovation

  • devise another green initiative that was not mentioned above

Reduction and reuse

Paper

  • digitize all handbooks, manuals, and orientation materials in an accessible manner and make them available online rather than printing copies
  • digitize all necessary forms in our workplace in an accessible manner and allow for online completion and submission

Breaks and lunch

  • have a reusable standard coffee filter or K-cup pod and do not purchase single-use filters/pods

Recycling

  • send polystyrene back to the vendor for recycling when available

Energy

Lighting

  • conduct a lighting audit to determine better practices for lighting the workplace including task lighting and natural light
  • identify locations where ocupancy sensors would reduce energy use and submit a request to Facilities Management for further evaluation

Equipment

  • purchase energy efficient models of office equipment

Energy efficiency

  • identify areas that over or under heat and submit the information to facilites management for evaluation
  • survey all of our workplace outlets to make sure that only essential appliances are plugged in and that those plugged in do not draw a phantom load

Green Meetings

Waste

  • reduce food waste by planning not to over-serve at events
  • achieve Zero Waste meeting

Purchasing

  • consolidate orders for supplies and wait to order until $150 worth of materials are needed
  • evaluate usefulness, product life, and packaging waste when purchasing branded/promotional items (pens, water bottles, etc) and choose the least wasteful, most useful option
  • evaluated the companies purchases are made from to ensure ethical social and environmental company practices whenever possible

Transportation

  • at least 75% of our workplace staff commute to work by walking, biking, PVTA, and/or carpooling
  • when renting vehicles, choose the most fuel efficient option
  • have a ZipCar subscription
  • encourage train travel rather than air travel

Air Quality

  • do not smoke on campus
  • become an articificial fragrance-free workplace (including perfumes and air fresheners)
  • 50% of our workplace staff have read the IAQ Management Plan

Community

  • coordinate a staff outing to have a Campus Sustainability Tour led by MWCE staff
  • have all workplace staff review the College's Sustainability goals
  • help sign another workplace up for the Green Workplace Program
  • include sustainability performance metrics in job descriptions
  • include a sustainability commitment on our workplace's website
  • display Green Workplace Certification in the workplace
  • participatee in at least two campus sustainability-related events

Innovation

  • submit a proposal for a Campus Sustainability Grant or propose a candidate project for the Green Revolving Fund
  • devise another green initiative that was not mentioned above

Participating Workplaces

Departments will be listed at the corresponding levels as they are achieved.

Working toward a status level

  • Asian Studies, Classics, & Italian
  • Geography & Geology
  • German Studies
  • Foundation Relations & Sponsored Research
  • Library, Information & Technology Services (TISS, CTMS, RIS, LRC, ASC)
  • Professional and Graduate Education
  • Russian & Eurasian Studies

Bronze level

Green workplace bronze medal
  • Admissions
  • Spanish, Latino/a, & Latin American Studies
  • LITS - Administration

Silver level

Green workplace silver medal
  • The Miller Worley Center for the Environment
  • LITS - Discovery & Access

Gold level

Green workplace gold medal
  • No workplaces are currently at the gold level

Platinum level

Green workplace platinum medal
  • No workplaces are currently at the platinum level

Have questions?

Email sustainability@mtholyoke.edu for more information.