The Office of the Chancellor demonstrates commitment to sustainability with high marks in the Green Workplace Certification program
It’s easy being green at Appalachian, since sustainability is important to our community as a whole- students, staff, and faculty. And because of that commitment, the Office of Sustainability offers a voluntary Green Workplace certification program for offices on campus (the sister program, Green Appal, is for students living in residence halls). Currently, there are 21 offices certified, including the Office of the Chancellor, which recently certified at the highest level.
“This program is an opportunity to engage faculty and staff in sustainable education,and we have had a tremendous amount of interest and participation since the beginning,” states Sustainability Program Manager Jen Maxwell. “We are proud of our Chancellor’s office and their efforts with this program. It shows the level of administrative support that contributes to our success around sustainability.”
While participating in a program like this might seem daunting, getting started is simple. Designate a sustainability coordinator as a liaison with the Office of Sustainability and email us a firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation. The rest of the requirements can be found on the website here, as well as resources to help your office along the way.
The main component of the certification process is a questionnaire, administered by your sustainability liaison. There are eight categories of questions: Energy & Water, Food & Events, Health & Wellness, Purchasing, Service & Community Engagement, Social Justice, Transportation, and Zero Waste. Answers are tallied, and a “level” of sustainability is assigned. These levels are based on reaching the peaks of how sustainable your workplace can be, and as such, are named for the mountain peaks of our community. In ascending order, these are Rocky Knob, Howard’s Knob, Elk Knob, and Grandfather Mountain.
There are currently four offices certified at the highest level: College Access Partnerships, ACT, the Office of Sustainability, and now the Office of the Chancellor. 12 are Elk Knob, and four are Howard’s Knob. The certification lasts for three years, but the questionnaire can be retaken at any time to climb to a higher peak.
As a new, added benefit to the program, participants get to be among the first recipients of new free LED light bulbs for their offices. Sponsored by New River Light & Power, the Physical Plant, and the Office of Sustainability, this program aims to educate employees on the types of LED lights, and how much money and energy they save. The lights are housed on a mobile cart, which will stock 2700K (soft white) and 5000K (daylight) bulbs and include a demo space to try them out.
“The soft white bulbs are more relaxing and peaceful, but the daylight bulbs stimulate work and help seeing colors and details,” says Energy Analyst Patrick Richardson, who values the program as an important component in educating people about energy efficiency.