The Harvard Green Office Program, administered by the Harvard Office for Sustainability, is a program designed to create more sustainable workspaces across Harvard. This points-based system is implemented by individual office teams, and the outcomes— such as emissions and energy reduction, waste reduction, and greener purchasing— directly support Harvard’s University-wide Sustainability Plan goals.
We are pleased that the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has achieved “Leaf 3” Green Office Certification, which means that we have reached the second highest standard possible.
The process begins with taking an office inventory and collecting signatures from at least 75% of team members who pledge to follow the green guidelines dictated by green office standards. The program has a number of required points that an office must complete, such as ensuring all employees use duplex printing and have energy-saving computer settings, properly recycling all e-waste, purchasing recycled printing paper, and sharing green office practices with all new employees as part of their training.
Once the requirements are fulfilled, there are a wide range of initiatives and best practices that can be implemented for one, two, or three points, depending on level of difficulty or time commitment. A minimum of 80 points was required to achieve Leaf 3 certification.
Below are some highlights of what our Center implemented in the process:
- No “bottled water” policy
- Ergonomic assessments made available to all office occupants
- Utilize hybrid vehicles for local business travel
- Purchased office plants for indoor air quality
- Commit to using recycled paper for all external print jobs
- Reminders and signage posted to promote energy savings
Our office also received “innovation points” for implementing an annual wellness series for all staff members, an initiative that we piloted in summer 2014. As we look to achieving Leaf 4 in 2016, we will focus on several initiatives related to health and well-being, as well as culture and learning. Key initiatives will include greener travel policies, hosting sustainability seminars for our community, greener catering policies, and hosting an annual “free cycle” event for our building.
As set forth in our Sustainability Plan, Harvard is committed to increasing staff participation in the Harvard Green Office Program by at least 30% by 2020 from a 2014 baseline. We are extremely proud to support this goal, and our Center plans to serve as a resource to other offices at Harvard who are beginning the certification process.
Center staff members, Nicole Bellisle and Kim Riek, showcase our newly awarded certificate after a final walk-through of the green office space with the Office for Sustainability. As leaders of the Landmark Center Green Team, Nicole and Kim led the certification process for our team.