Green Offices at Harvard

The Harvard Green Office Program is a four tiered, do-it-yourself program designed to be spearheaded by employees who want to take the lead on greening their workspace. Green Offices result in direct savings to the University through resource, energy, and water conservation while engaging staff in Harvard’s sustainability goals. 

With your help, we can reach the University goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2006 levels by 2016 while using fewer materials and producing less waste.

There are four successive stages of the Green Office Program; Leaf One to Leaf Four. Once you have earned Leaf One, you are considered a Green Office. To create the ultimate green office space, pursue Green Office recognition through Leaf Four.

New to the Program?

Here's a step-by-step guide to getting started:

How to

Sign up to become a Green Office!

First, review and download the appropriate application, which can be found in the list below, of the Green Office leaf level you wish to achieve.

Note: Registration includes completion of the Green Office Inventory which you will find in the application.

Register

Seeking your next Leaf level? No need to register again, continue to the applications below, complete, and submit. 

Green Office Leaf Applications

Green Office Leaf One 

Congratulations! Starting Leaf One is the first step to creating a more sustainable workspace. This first checklist covers high impact areas over nine categories, with an emphasis on energy and waste reduction. This ensures a strong foundation of environmental practices in your office. 

Get Started


Green Office Leaf Two

Building on Leaf One, the second checklists hones in on zero waste events, transportation, and sustainable purchasing. With this checklist you will begin to move beyond the low-hanging fruit and establish lasting sustainability practices in your office.

Get Started


Green Office Leaf Three

The penultimate leaf in the Green Office Program, this short application builds on leaf one and two with a specific emphasis on office participation.

Get Started


Green Office Leaf Four

Completion of Leaf Four is the final step to creating a comprehensive sustainable workspace at Harvard. Congratulations!

Get Started


All Applications

If you are confident in the “greenness” of your office, download all four applications at once to better assess which stage is right for you. 

Download All 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the first step to becoming a Green Office at Harvard?

A: To get started on your sustainable work space, go to green.harvard.edu/green-office and click register. This will take you to an online form. This form requires detailed information about the equipment in your office. You will need to complete this form in one sitting as it cannot be saved. However, a hard-copy of the questions are available in the Green Office application packet.
Within five business days of submitting the online registration form, a Sustainability Liaison will contact you to schedule a welcome call. This call is intended to last 5-10 minutes and provides you with an overview of the program as well gives you an opportunity to ask questions.

Q: What is the Harvard Green Office ID?

A: When you register to become a Green Office, your office will be assigned a unique id number. We have generated these numbers to reduce the amount of information you need to input into the Green Office forms. Please save this id number as you will need it to complete all other forms.

Q: At what point does my office qualify as a Green Office?

A: An office is considered a Green Office after completing the walk through associated with Leaf One. Once the office walk through is complete, you will receive a certificate and decal stating the level of achievement and your office will be listed on our website. 

Q: What is an Office Inventory?

A: An office inventory is a list of all the energy using appliances in your office. The goal is to understand the energy usage of an office to better quantify the monetary and energy savings discovered through implementation of the Green Office program.

Q: What is the purpose of the Office Resource Sheet?

A: The Office Resource sheet is designed to be placed on the Green Board to make the program more visible and to inform people of the actions being taken to make the office a more sustainable work space. Sharing the names and emails of appropriate contacts gives individuals in the office direction for reporting leaks and other efficiency measures.

Q: What is the best way to approach the “Pick Two” section?

A: The “Pick Two” section allows for flexibility in the program and for individuals to choose a few a la carte options that cater to their office needs.

Q: What constitutes an Innovation point?

A: An innovation point is earned when the office identifies a green project that is not on the checklist. This is an opportunity to let your creativity shine.

Q: How does Harvard define a Green Office?

A: An office at Harvard must include at least one person. Please note: A Green Office consisting of one person may find that not all the items on the checklist are applicable. In those instances, please mark the item “N/A” and make a note of why you are unable to achieve this point. If you have questions, please contact sustainability@harvard.edu.

Q: What qualifies as a “Not Applicable” item?

A: The Green Office program is designed to be used University-wide. Because what may be feasible in one office might not be in another, we have allowed offices to deem an item “Not Applicable” if they are unable to accomplish this item. For instance, purchasing green kitchen items would be marked “N/A” if the office does not have a kitchenette. Please note: If an item is marked not applicable, there must also be a quick description as to why it is not applicable included in the application.

Q: Should student and part time workers be declared in the total count for people in the office?

A: Both full and part time staff and faculty, as well as student workers, when relevant, are considered in the total count of people in the office. Only student and part time workers who do not have a designated work space should be excluded from the count. However, we encourage you to share your Green Office efforts with these individuals.

Q: What if an office member does not want to sign off on the checklist?

A: The Green Office program is an opportunity for learning as much as it is for “greening.” If a member of your office does not want to sign the checklist, try and understand why. Can the information be presented differently? Can we provide additional explanatory materials? Please contact sustainability@harvard.edu for support, if needed.

Q: What is the role of the Sustainability Liaison?

A: The Liaison is your point of contact with the Office for Sustainability. They will introduce you to the Green Office program and will be available for questions throughout the process. This Liaison will conduct an office walk-through after completion of Leaf One and Leaf Four.

Q: Why are you collecting vendor information?

A: The purpose of collecting the names of specific vendors is to enable the University to approach these vendors for better purchasing options. It is helpful for us to know which vendors are the most popular in order to make the biggest impact.