How the Process Works

Graphic explaining the benefits of getting Green Office Certified, the steps for certifications, and the levels of certification. All of the graphic's information is repeated in the website text below.

How Does Certification Work?

Contact the Green Office Certification Program (GOC) with your intentions for pursuing a certification by filling out the interest form on our webpage or feel free to email us at

You will need to provide the following information:

  • Your name and department
  • Approximate size of your office (number of staff/faculty/student workers)
  • Contact information
  • The entire Green Office Certification process should take roughly 4 hours over 4-5 weeks to complete.

Step 1: Create a Green Team

Each office or department will need to develop a Green Team that consists of at least two members. The Green Team is a key component in the certification process and its main responsibility is to act as  liason between their office and GOC staff. 

What is a Green Team?

The main role of the Green Team is to be leaders in their office and liaisons between the office and GOC staff. Along with the roles described below, the Green Team should be comprised of staff whom have a genuine interest both in encouraging their peers to make the move towards sustainability and in setting a prime example of how a sustainable staff should manage themselves.

Green Team Roles:

  • Two members is the minimum but we encourage up to four.
  • Green Team members will need to assist GOC staff in scheduling meetings and communicating with building managers, office managers, and department heads regarding waste assessments, building information, etc.
  • Students are allowed to be a part of the Green Team but do not count towards the two person minimum. The impetus to participate in the Green Office Certification Program must be driven by staff.
  • Even though each office is required to create a Green Team, the whole office is encouraged to participate!

Step 2: Conduct Office Assessments

We begin the process by conducting a baseline evaluation of the office's current practices. This is done through the Sustainable Office Assessment, which is then used to determine an appropriate starting point and reachable goals for your office. The Office Assessment involves three components:

  1. A Self Office Questionnaire: The Green Team fills out a questionnaire about general office practices. 
  2. Waste Assessment: The GOC Team will go through your office's trash and recycling to check for proper waste disposal and contamination. 
  3. Space Assessment: A walk through of the office with the Green Team. Additionally, the GOC Team and Green Team will have conversations about office appliances and technology. 

Step 3: Assessment Results Presentation

The Green Team, as well as any other office members who wish to participate, will coordinate a meeting with the GOC to discuss your office's assessment results. During this meeting, the GOC Team will facilitate a brainstorming session to collectively come up with recommendations for improving office sustainability, as well as a timeline for implementing these goals. This will result in your Office Sustaimability Goals. Finally, the office will receive its Green Office Certificate as well as any items that will help the office opperate more sustainably. 

Scoring Guidelines

Tree (90%-100%) - Most or all attainable sustainable office practices are implemented. Room for improvement continues to exist.

Sappling (75%-89%) - Incorporation of many sustainable office practices; more can be done to achieve excellence.

Sprout (41%-74%) - Average inclusion of functional sustainable office practices.

Seed (30%-40%) - Many more sustainable office practices can be integrated with the few currently in use. 

No Certification (0%-30%) - Indicates the majority of the simple, generally recognized sustainable office practices are not currently in use.

If an entire division is being certified, we calculate the average percentage score for all offices, and that score is used to determine the certification level.

Step 4: Implement your Office Sustainability Goals

Implement your plan! Begin taking the steps your office brainstormed during the final meeting. A representative from GOC will compile all of the action items produced from the workshop and send you the final presentation and goals. Treat  your goals like a checklist, and indicate which action items that your office completes. Of course, representatives from GOC will always be available at any time to answer questions or help address issues regarding the implementation.

Step 5: Continue to be a champion!

Push the boundaries of what it means to be a Green Office! This could include encouraging other offices/departments to get certified, writing a blog post about sustainability, or adding new goals to your list. Certifications are good for 5 years, but offices can get recertifed at any time.


Green Office Certification Support

GOC will always be a resource and will be available to arrange a time to continue the education of your office staff about sustainable office and lifestyle practices. We can tailor this opportunity to meet the specific needs and wants of your office as well as fit it within a timeline chosen by you. For example, we could prepare a 20-minute presentation for your monthly staff meeting on the topic that your office staff is most interested in. If you would like more information on sustainability-related learning opportunities please contact

Supporting Sustainability Plans and Resources

For a full list of educational resources, visit the Sustainability Office's Website!

Also, check out The Campus Sustainability Plan (CSP) and The UC Sustainability Practices Policy.