Green Office Certification Profile - Sabrina Lux
Green Office Certification Profile by Mary Ann Wilson
UCLA, Department of Psychology
How did you come to the decision to do the Green Office program?
I think that sustainability is something that I personally have been interested in, and when I was president of Staff Assembly, it was one of the things we were interested in as well as the chancellor’s own initiative. So when the green office program came about - I don’t remember exactly how I heard about it, it was probably through Nurit in one of the building coordinators meetings, I’m not sure. But my department was the first department that did it, as they had always worked with smaller offices. We’re very large, with three buildings, hundreds of people, and just very different than their previous offices.
How big is your staff and how many people did you have to deal with in getting this done?
We have 45 full-time staff and 70 faculty plus we have hundreds of other staff members and hundreds of graduate students. The way we worked on it was we focused on the main offices with full-time staff, and evaluated them for the Green Office program. But we instituted many of the same themes throughout the whole department; for example, the different types of recycling, both through the Green Office program and then others through our own initiatives with Chris Gallego, the recycling coordinator.
How long did it take you to complete certification?
We did it in a few months.
Did you send out the survey to the full-time members?
It was given to our eight managers.
How did you motivate your department to make changes?
There wasn’t a lot that we had to do to motivate people. People were interested in it, and there’s still work we could be doing. We looked at what we could do without spending any money or buying any new equipment for the most part. We got less buy-in for the more personal things, like using alternative transportation to work, but I think that’s still something people are interested in and strive for. And then we talked about making commitments toward future purchases - monitors, refrigerators, those types of things - that we continue to have that in our minds. I think it’s a general cultural acceptance that this is the route that people want to take.
How would you characterize the initial response to implementing these changes?
It was positive.
Did you have any up-front costs to implement any of these changes?
No, for example, the smart power strips is something that we haven’t instituted completely, so again, when we buy new equipment, we will purchase them. With all the recycled paper products or any kind of office supplies, they cost less.
Somebody said recycled paper cost more.
It doesn’t - then they didn’t do their research because we did it. I had them do a comparison. To get buy-in, I was hoping it would be that it would be that much more and when we looked at it, it cost less.
Where did you get it?
We got it from Office Max. I manage our storeroom. I had them look that information up, and we purchase products we hold in stock for folks to just buy from us same day vs ordering and then getting them delivered by Office Max the next day, so those are the products we have control over, and we only buy recycled. We use different percentage types depending on what the product is, for example, for our copiers we can’t use 100% recycled paper. It doesn’t work. The paper has to be a certain quality of paper or you have a broken machine everyday. There’s all these issues with that.
It seems like the older machines have that issue.
We have newer machines, they’re two years old. They’re Ricoh which is our vendor on campus here. The model is 1106-EX. We got them in 2009. Thirty percent is our minimum; otherwise we get a lot of complaints from staff members about the paper quality.
What are the challenges, if any, in maintaining a green office?
So now we have just the two recycle bins throughout the entire dept: recycled and food waste, but everyday I find trash in the blue bin. It’s just an ongoing effort.
When I was interviewed by someone else from Nurit’s office before, the whole complaint was there were too many different bins so they made just two. The stickers on the containers tell you what to do. I don’t know what else you can do. The other message we gave a few years ago, it needs to be consistent across campus so the students know that the bins you see outside are the same as the bins inside, and now they are the same.
Have you gained any insights from implementing this program that may be helpful to others?
It’s a lot easier than you think.
Did you find the reason it’s easier is because you had already been doing a lot of things anyway, and then you realized you’re close to bronze so all you have to do are a few things?
Maybe, that could be an absolute part of it. I believed the same myth that recycled products cost more. They didn’t, so that was easy. We just instituted a rule - we don’t buy the other kinds of products. Nobody every fights us on it unless we have paper problems.
Published: Monday, November 07, 2011