Eight JHU offices recognized for reducing their impact on the environment

Green Office Certification luncheon will be held today at Homewood

Eight Johns Hopkins University offices will be recognized Wednesday for their efforts to reduce their impact on the environment.

Representatives from the offices will gather this afternoon in Levering Hall on the Homewood campus for a luncheon and to receive their Green Office Certificate, joining 22 other departments who earned the same distinction in the fall. The certificate is mounted on a piece of reclaimed wood prepared by JHU's carpentry services.

Green Office Certification, sponsored by the Office of Sustainability, recognizes groups that make changes to become more environmentally conscious. Offices can take simple measures, such as turning off computers at night, switching to communal coffee instead of single-serve K-cups, or recycling. More serious practitioners can pledge to use 100 percent recycled paper products, reuse office furniture from the university rather than buy new items, or switch their motor fleet to all hybrid or electric vehicles. Offices can also spread the word to help earn their certification.

Some have gone a step further, forming "Green Teams"—small groups of employees within the same organizational unit but across various departments who meet periodically to identify specific sustainability projects, such as offering nonbottled water or buying local products. The 16-member Keswick Green Team, with guidance and support from the Office of Sustainability, brought a weekly farmers' market to the Johns Hopkins Keswick Complex in fall 2014.

These small actions are all part of a larger plan to make JHU's campuses more energy efficient and reduce the university's carbon footprint. In 2008, Johns Hopkins committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 51 percent by 2025. With some assistance from a regional grid that now uses cleaner forms of energy, the university has already cut 101,000 metric tons of carbon emissions, roughly a 30 percent reduction from its emissions in 2008, according to Ashley Pennington, program coordinator for the Office of Sustainability.

Pennington attributes much of this progress to simple changes that the university has made and says employees can help, too.

The departments being honored today are Engineering for Professionals; the Office of the Dean, Academic Advising, and the Department of Cognitive Science at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences; the Office of the Dean at the Whiting School of Engineering; the Milton S. Eisenhower Library Shared Service Systems; the School of Medicine's Welch Medical Library System; and Homewood Custodial and Recycling Services.

For more information about the Green Office initiative, including details on how you can get involved, visit sustainability.jhu.edu.

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