Skip to main content

Sustainable Department Guide

 

Sustainability Practices for Departments

Office environments throughout the University of Houston are major consumers of energy and materials and significant contributors to our waste stream. The Green Office Program is a framework and set of resources that has the potential to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of our university community.

 Paper & Office Supply Waste 

  • Set double-sided printing as a default on our office computers, and we placed a visual prompt on our copy machine to remind members of our office to double-side copy.
  • Use an electronic timesheet/scheduling system.
  • Have a designated area in our supply closet, or elsewhere in our office, for sharing office supplies that can be re-used (file folders, binders, pens, paper clips, etc).
  • Recycling bins should be placed next to waste bins where applicable and clearly labeled.

Recycling

  • Review proper recycling practices at a staff meeting or through an office email to ensure that all members of office are aware of the procedures and have had their questions answered.
  • Eliminate desk-side trash containers and switched to desk-side recycling, with central trash locations.
  • There are trash and recycling bins (where appropriate) in meeting rooms, conference rooms and classrooms, and these bins are clearly labeled with the correct signage.
  • Participate the annual UH e-waste drive.

Purchasing - Paper and Electronics

  • Recommended minimum 30% post consumer OR preferred 100% post consumer waste content.
  • Chlorine free paper.
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
  • Any new equipment purchased is ENERGY STAR rated silver or above, if applicable. If ENERGY STAR is not available, we work with our vendor to purchase the most efficient option.

Energy

  • Leave clear space around of all of our vents for better circulation.
  • Enable sleep mode and auto-off settings on all copiers and all printers.
  • Enable the recommended power management settings on our computers.
  • Shut off monitors and/or manually send computers into energy saving modes (standby or hibernate) when not in use.
  • Manually turn off lights when not in use

Water

  • Students, faculty, and staff are encourage to bring reusable water bottles and take advantage of the many water bottle filling stations on campus.
  • Any person can report sink leaks (kitchen, bathroom or lab) to FIXIT and inform Building Coordinator

Department Certification Program

Presented by the Office of Sustainability, UH’s Green Office Program aims to encourage offices across all campuse to be champions of our university’s sustainability ethic. 

The Green Office Program is organized into seven sustainability categories:

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

Participation is initiated through a point-based, self-assessment checklist with which offices can evaluate their current practices, set goals, and be recognized for their sustainable practices. As participants complete the checklist, points are automatically tallied. When an office earns points above a set threshold, it will achieve Green Office certification.

The Office for Sustainability encourages deparments to participate in the Green Office certification program. Departments can become certified at one of four levels of certification, and can earn higher levels over time. To get involved, review the Green Office checklist and email sustainability@uh.edu to schedule a department visit.

Steps to Take

  • Create an office/building pledge to sustainability
  • Find out about your office/building recycling practices
  • Join the Sustainability Committee
  • Connect with the Office of Sustainability
  • Commit to working together

Additional Resources