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Lauren Gersbach
IU Office of Sustainability
lgersbac@indiana.edu
812-855-1822

Last modified: Thursday, December 9, 2010

Office of Environmental Health and Safety Management first IU green team to earn certification

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 9, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In recognition of its continued efforts to make Indiana University a more sustainable institution, the Office of Environmental, Health and Safety Management (EHS) has been awarded the first level of certification in the Indiana University Office of Sustainability's Green Office Certification program, an accomplishment that highlights the abilities of IU faculty and staff to effect change within their respective campus units.

EHS Green Team

The IU Office of Environmental Health and Safety green team was awarded the first level of certification for sustainability practices.

Print-Quality Photo

EHS is the first of the 24 Bloomington campus green teams to receive "Seed" certification. To earn this distinction, participants fulfilled 17 actions, such as setting up printers to automatically duplex print, establishing a central location for collection and re-distribution of surplus office supplies, and unplugging electronic appliances when not in use to avoid phantom energy loss. These "low-hanging fruit" measures have allowed participants to make environmentally friendly practices visible, and manageable, in their immediate work space.

"We received our 'Seed' certification less than two weeks after forming our team," said EHS team leader and IU industrial hygienist Patty Moser. "It turned out a lot of the issues we discussed, and some that we had already initiated, were in the checklist, so we were well on our way to getting 'Seed' certification. Once the remaining items were achieved, we applied online for certification. It was a very informative and easy process."

The Office of Sustainability (IUOS) implemented the certification program in August 2010 to make the task of greening office spaces more tangible and accessible. The program consists of a linear series of four certificates, each with a checklist of feasible sustainable actions. In total, there are 80 actions distributed among eight categories: education and outreach, resource use, recycling, sustainable computing, energy and built environment, transportation and food.

Those eight categories correspond to both the IUOS working groups as well as categories included in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). IU is a charter member of AASHE STARS, and IUOS believes that the system will soon be the standard sustainability assessment and reporting tool for American colleges and universities.

"Green Teams are the root system of our campus sustainability tree and I am happy to see them grow," said IU Director of Sustainability Bill Brown. "The EHS Green Team is off to an amazing start in such a short time and I can't wait to see what they accomplish next."

For additional information on the Office of Sustainability's Green Office Certification program, visit http://www.indiana.edu/~sustain/Green_Teams/Certification.html. General information on green teams and how new teams can be formed is located at http://www.indiana.edu/~sustain/Green_Teams/index.html.