Boston University Arts & Sciences

CAS News

Green Office Certification Program Comes to CAS

In May 2010, Boston University’s Energy Conservation and Sustainable Buildings & Operations Working Groups created a task force to address the impact of the behavior of faculty, staff, and students on sustainability. From this task force emerged the Green Office Certification. After months of planning and re-piloting, sustainability@BU launched the Green Office Certification initiative in March 2011 to both the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus. Individuals can achieve a Certified, Silver, or Gold rating depending on the amount of points earned. Once certified, participants receive a badge to display on their office name plaques. Please contact us at if you are interested in getting your office certified. Visit us here.

As of July 2011, sustainability@BU has audited over 140 offices in buildings and schools located on both the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus. Departments within BU, such as Dining Services and Residential Life, have committed to getting all of their offices certified.

The certification process includes specific questions that address day-to-day behavior such as regularly turning off the lights when you leave the office for at least 10 minutes and recycling as often as possible. The entire certification process takes about 20 minutes. Interviews are conducted by the sustainability@BU intern charged with implementing the initiative, Mike Orr (GRS’11).

“The program has been great for educating people about energy consumption or the benefits of waste reduction and recycling,” says Orr. “Oftentimes, people don’t realize the magnitude of their daily habits in the workplace. For instance, individuals with space heaters aren’t aware that leaving their heater on for one hour consumes enough energy to power 60 CFL bulbs for one hour. Or, that recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours.” An additional benefit of the Green Office Certification is that participants may also apply newly learned sustainability techniques in their homes. The following is a list of recommendations and actions that have a significant impact on the sustainability of offices or homes:

  • Turn off the lights to your office when you’re out of the office for 10 minutes or longer.
  • Set your computer monitor to go to sleep after 10 minutes or less.
  • Change your computer screensaver to “blank” or “none.”
  • Turn off all electronic devices at the end of the day. Devices such as the computer monitor, printers, and fax machines consume energy throughout the day unless they’re manually powered off. Better yet, energy conservation can be optimized if you manually turn off electronic devices anytime that they’re not in use.
  • Reduce the brightness of your computer to 50-60% of full brightness reduces the energy use of the computer.
  • Consider using natural lighting as opposed to overhead lighting.
  • Take the initiative to turn off lights in unoccupied spaces helps reduce energy use but also sets a precedent for energy conservation in your work environment.

Return to the October 2011 Newsletter

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Let us know about news or upcoming events. Please send news items to, or call Patrick Farrell at 617-358-1185. Announcements about upcoming events can also be submitted online. Events geared toward students should be submitted to the Student Programs Office.

For all matters regarding your alumni, please contact Associate Director of Alumni Relations Kirsten Lundeen at 617-358-5525 or Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Lauren Hall at 617-353-1060.

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