HMC Green Office Program

The Green Office Program is an initiative facilitated by the Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design. The program is designed to encourage our academic and administrative offices and departments across campus to engage in environmentally sustainable practices. More specifically, the program aims to:

  1. Increase awareness and knowledge of sustainability
  2. Increase sustainable practices and culture
  3. Foster a collaborative sustainability community

How It Works

Offices and departments across campus are invited to apply to be recognized by the Hixon Center as a Green Office. Based on how environmentally sustainable their practices and purchases are, they can achieve varying levels of certification, listed below:

  1. Platinum (Pt)
  2. Gold (Au)
  3. Silver (Ag)
  4. Copper (Cu)

After having applied, individuals within that unit take a comprehensive survey, that asks about a variety of practices that span across six key areas:

  • Purchasing
  • Recycling and Waste
  • Energy
  • Water
  • Transportation
  • Culture and Learning
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Innovation

Note: More than 50% of your office, department or unit must take an individual survey to be considered for certification.

Survey results are compiled in aggregate, and measured against scoring criteria for certification. An office can earn up to 123 points, and should an office score approximately a third of those points, they will achieve base certification. For every additional twenty percentage points they earn, they jump up a certification level. The points breakdown for certification is shown below:

Green Office Program Certification
Certification Level Minimum Points Required
Copper (Cu) 40
Silver (Ag) 65
Gold (Au) 90

Once an office/department is certified, a follow-up presentation is delivered its members to review the results by Louis Spanias, the Sustainability Program Manager. Units are re-certified on a yearly basis, and can work with Louis to strategize regarding what practices can most easily, and feasibly, be improved or modified within a year to earn more points and achieve higher certification.

Note: Certifying Offices will also be given a special plaque for display in their space. In the coming years, awards for the highest scoring office and the most improved office will be introduced.

Resources for Office Sustainability

Our expectation is that offices use certification levels as an incentive to improve their practices, though we do not expect perfection. Our first priority is improvement across purchases and practices. With that said, after an office is certified, we offer assistance in a variety of ways:

Green Purchasing Guide

The Green Purchasing Guide is available on our website for reference, and has been adapted from the University of California, Santa Cruz’s purchasing guide. While this guide does not include recommendations for specific products yet, it details what to consider and look for when making sustainable purchasing decisions. Through 2017, we expect to update this website with suggestions for commonly purchased office items (e.g., paper, furniture, various electronics).

Walkthroughs with the Sustainability Program Manager

Upon request, Louis will walk through your office or department space and highlight opportunities for improvement within the physical space. This is an opportunity for faculty and staff to learn to spot improvement areas and strategize for improving sustainable practices going forward.

Play Survey

After certifying, we distribute the scoring criteria to offices to review and to help them strategize for recertification.

How to Apply

To apply, complete the Green Office Program Application.

If you have any questions, please contact us at