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Queen's University

Greening the Office

Tuesday October 13, 2009

The Office of the University Registrar continues to be a leader on campus making strides toward a more sustainable operation.

Changes to seemingly small every day activities have a positive effect on reducing the campus environmental footprint, staff members have found.

"Every staff member has contributed, both in their enthusiasm for the initiatives and in small changes they have made to their daily work processes," says Rebecca Coupland, who with coworkers Irene High and Carla Place decided to make changes to address their environmental footprint. "It is a truly collaborative program and has resulted in a great sense of pride of our achievements."

The office started implementing the new procedures about two years ago, concentrating on routine, everyday activities. For example, the office used to rely heavily on resources such as paper, which carries a carbon footprint from the loss of trees through harvesting, and the use of chemicals from production and recycling processes.

To maximize the efficient and responsible use of this high-volume resource, staff developed and implemented a paper-management program. Highlights include:
• Sourcing FSC ( approved paper products;
• Using E-filing systems for thousands of letters and proficiency certifications for the admissions process;
• Discouraging unnecessary printing of email;
• Reusing old binders and folders;
• Creating notepads from scrap pieces of paper.

A manual outlining these procedures and other paper conservation strategies is kept next to photocopiers for easy reference.

"The paper saving program has been very well received," says Carla Place, who developed the conservation strategy manuals. "The feedback has been extremely positive."

The program can be easily implemented by other offices, as it requires only minimal changes to daily routines and comes with a negligible cost increase, and may in fact save money.

The office has also taken other steps to green up their operations, including:
• The distribution of plants throughout the office;
• A "lights out" policy for washrooms and lounges;
• A switch from CRT monitors to more energy efficient LCD screens;
• Discouraging the use of space heaters;
• Using regular cutlery and dishes instead of the disposable variety;
• Using refurbished printer cartridges that can be recycled.

For more information and tips on how to make positive changes in your office, see the Queen's Sustainability guide to "Greening your Office."

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000