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Green Office Program

Offices represent a significant portion of campus energy and material use and waste production. The Penn Sustainability Office recognizes the efforts of staff and faculty to green their daily activities by offering four levels of Green Office certification.

Participating offices earn points by completing specific sustainability actions, which are assigned point values based on their impact and level of difficulty to implement. Offices can choose to aim for the highest level from the start or work their way up slowly from Level One. Level One certification can be reached with 25 easily achievable actions, while subsequent levels require increasingly more effort and cost, but also have increasing impact. The checklist provided below can be used to track points and mark progress towards your target level.

Participating green offices will receive a certificate celebrating their achievement, and will be acknowledged on the Penn Sustainability Office website and other publications for their positive contribution to sustainability at Penn.

The Green Office Program is organized into seven sustainability categories:

  • Waste
  • Purchasing
  • Energy
  • Water
  • Indoor Air Quality and Human Health
  • Transportation
  • Involvement

Actions are assigned point values based on impact and level of difficulty to implement. Some actions can be implemented at no cost; others may have a cost associated with the initial implementation, but result in operational savings over time. Offices can be certified at four levels based on the number of points achieved. The entry certification level (Level 1) is based on an office being able to implement at least 25 easily achievable actions. The relative ease of entry into the first level of the program is intended to gain widespread participation from offices around the campus. 

There are over 250 possible points that can be earned. No office is expected to implement all the actions listed in this document. Points required for certification are:

  • LEVEL 2 100 POINTS
  • LEVEL 3 140 POINTS
  • LEVEL 4 180 POINTS

Certification is valid for 3 years from the date of the award. To recertify, an office must submit a new application for certification. Offices will receive a e-certificate for the level achieved and can receive a framed certificate upon request. We recommend the certificate should be placed in an area where it will be easily viewed by staff and visitors to the office. To learn more, see our full list of Certified Green Offices at Penn.

Sustainability staff is available to talk with your office about the Green Office program and to assist your office is reviewing its operations and selecting the appropriate level of certification to strive for. To set up a talk or get assistance for your office, send an email to sustainability@upenn.edu, using the subject line "Green Office".

Steps to Certification

  1. Download and complete the Green Office Certification Checklist (link below) by marking all the actions applicable to your office. The Checklist will automatically calculate your score. The How To Green Your Office PDF has details for each credit in the checklist to assist offices in implementation, including information specific to implementing the action on the Penn campus.
  2.  A percentage of office members, including the office head or program director, must sign the Green Office Application (link below) to affirm that their office is taking the steps identified in the checklist. Certification at Levels 1 and 2 requires at least 50% of the office to sign the certification form. Certification at Levels 3 and 4 requires signatures from at least 75% of the office. Your application must also be signed by the office head. As a self-certification program, the Green Office program does not require a formal audit by the Penn Sustainability Office, although certification status is subject to periodic review.
  3. Send the completed checklist and application form to sustainability@upenn.edu, using the subject line “Green Office Application”.