Green Tips

These are some tips that can help you and your organization make more informed choices on how to operate more sustainably.  There is no one solution that’s right for everyone, so all of these might not be for you but we encourage you to look through and see what actions you might be able to take today.


Lighting Fixtures
  • Exit signs are LED and open/closed signs are either LED or non-energy using.
  • Over 50% of bulb lighting is LED and all fluorescent tube lighting is T5 or T8.
  • Less than 1/3 of all fixtures in an office / space consist of legacy lighting (T12 fluorescent, Incandescent, HID).
Lighting Use
  • Lights are turned off at closing and signs reminding people to turn the lights off are posted or motion sensors are installed to prevent lights from being on in unoccupied spaces.
Appliance Efficiency
  • >75% of all appliances are energy star certified.
  • >75% of sink stations have hand towels or efficient hand dryers in place of conventional dryers or paper towel.
  • High efficiency water heater is installed.
Appliance Non-Use
  • Computers, monitors, and other electronic devices are set to sleep, shut off, or unplugged when not in use.
Solar Gain
  • Optimize solar gain for building heat (e.g. awnings on the west side, increase window area on south side).
  • Walls and roof are well-insulated.
  • Windows are double paned or draft-proofed and entrances and exits are draft-sealed. An ASHRAE Level I Energy audit has been completed by a certified professional.
Building Efficiency Loss Prevention
  • Install thermal drapes, and air to heat exchanger to improve indoor air quality and keep heating and cooling costs low.
  • All hot water tanks and pipes are insulated.
Renewable Energy Generation
  • Building generates solar, wind, geothermal, micro hydro power, and/or solar hot water.
Renewable Energy Purchased
  • All refrigeration units are optimized (e.g. keeping refrigerator at minimum required temperatures, cleaning the coils, making sure the door seal is intact, 4” between wall and unit).
Heating and Cooling Maintenance
  • Annual maintenance on heating and cooling equipment to keep it well tuned, change filters as required.
Heating and Cooling System Efficiency
  • Install more efficient heating and cooling equipment.
  • Program and make use of any automatic energy management infrastructure. (e.g. programable thermostats, computer sleep modes/auto shut off, lighting controls).
Building Controls Optimization
  • All thermostats set lower when space is typically unoccupied (manual or programmable).
Energy Manager
  • An energy manager is appointed to evaluate energy use and make improvements.


Safe and Sustainable Water
  • Tap water pipes are lead-free and bottled water is not for purchase.
Low-Water Use Faucets
  • Install low flow aerators in all faucets.
Low-Water Use Toilets
  • Install toilet tank dams to reduce water usage for each flush, OR install low flow toilets and urinals.
Water Heater
  • Uses solar hot water heater or efficient water heaters.
Storm Water Management
Water Advocacy
  • You have worked with community members, politicians, or utilities to promote the well-being of all citizens in regards to water safety and affordability.


Reduce Materials
  • Request removal from bulk mail.
  • Internal communication is done electronically to reduce and eventually eliminate paper consumption.
  • Disposable items such as cutlery, dishes, and towels are eliminated.
Reuse Materials
  • Reusable bags are the standard at your establishment and the reuse of disposable bags is encouraged.
  • Scrap paper is kept and reused before recycling.
  • All printers set to double-sided and/or both sides of paper are used before being recycled.
  • Other materials that would otherwise be recycled or scrapped are reused.
Recycle Materials
  • Anything that can be recycled, is.
Marketing Materials
Financial Transactions
  • Use electronic billing and direct deposit.
Professional Assessment
  • Have a solid waste assessment done for your facility.
  • Compost food scraps, yard waste, and biodegradable items
  • Products are packaged with recyclable and reusable materials.
  • Wadded scrap paper is used for shipping.
Pollutants and Hazardous Wastes
  • Locate potential pollutants away from food, service, storage, storm drain areas.
  • Dispose of hazardous substances not in use at an approved recycling facility.
  • Keep a spill kit handy to collect spills or leaks from hazardous chemicals or company vehicles.
Dumpster Cleanliness
  • Keep dumpsters covered when not in use.
  • Label storm drains with “No dumping, drains to (appropriate body of water).”
  • Use mulch or a ground cover to prevent soil run off into storm drains.
  • Do not use fertilizers or herbicides.
  • Use outdoor ashtray or “butt” can for smokers.


Bicycle Infrastructure
  • Bicycle parking provided for staff and customers.
Alternative Transit Use
  • More than 20% of staff commutes to work by bike, public transit, carpooling, or walking.
Delivery Transport
  • More than 20% of local deliveries made by low or zero-emission transport (e.g. bicycle, EV, hybrid, smart car), OR local delivery services have been reduced by more than 50%.
Company Vehicles
  • More than 20% of company-owned vehicles are low or zero-emission models (e.g. bicycle, EV, hybrid, smart car).
Alternative Transport Promotion
  • Give bus or rail passes to employees to promote use of public transit.
  • Incentivize biking, walking, and/or carpooling to work.


Green Procurement
Building Materials
Paper Products
  • At least three major paper products purchased have >50% post-consumer recycled content.
  • Paper products used in kitchen and restrooms are unbleached.
Cleaning Products
  • More than 75% of cleaning products are eco-friendly.
  • Replace aerosols with pump dispensers, if available.
Anti-bacterial Products
  • Eliminate products that contain anti-bacterial agents such as Triclosan.
Supplier Packaging and Delivery
  • Actively works with suppliers to reduce packaging and encourage low-emission deliveries.
  • Purchase in bulk.
  • Arrange for a single vendor with several deliveries at once.
Uniforms and Linens
  • Donate or recycle old uniforms and linens.
Transport of Products
  • Avoid empty truck shipments and if necessary, share freight space with other businesses.
Local Sourcing
  • Most or all of the products are purchased locally.


  • Provide multiple on-going incentives or training opportunities to encourage management and employee participation.
Community Involvement
  • More than 50% employees volunteer in a community event or charitable activity (at least two days per year).
  • Annual donations made to local environmental or community-related charities and non-profits, at an amount of more than $50 per full-time employee.
Sustainability Training
  • Knowledge of sustainability is incorporated into the hiring process, employee orientations, and training programs.
Environmental Values
  • Environmental values and actions are posted publicly (either online or on premises).
Living Wage and Benefits
  • Employees are paid a livable wage.
  • Employees have access to benefits including sick days, personal days, health care, as well as parental leave.


Product Sustainability
  • How sustainable are the products you’re selling?  Things that make a product less “green” include the use of raw materials that are virgin or new, high energy inputs in the production process; or in the upstream processes, high environmental impacts anywhere within the life cycle, high energy consumption during the use phase, and low or no recycling potential at the end of life among other factors. Products that are green will use recycled materials or byproducts where applicable. They will involve very little energy inputs or environmental impacts at any point during the life cycle. And they displace other, more environmentally harmful products, and promote more environmentally conscious consumer behavior.


  • You have offset 100% of your emissions through renewable energy generation or the purchase of renewable energy credits.
Awareness and Action