University of Wisconsin–Madison

Green Office Certification Program

The Green Office Certification program helps offices of any size (even one-person offices!) become more sustainable workplaces. The program is designed to give UW–Madison employees the information and tools they need to learn about sustainability, better understand the impacts of their practices, and create healthy and sustainable work environments.

Green Office interns

Our staff provide one-on-one consultations to help program participants identify individual office goals and develop a customized plan to achieve them. Participants also become part of the Green Office network with other faculty and staff across campus.

Read here about the first certified Green Offices at UW–Madison.

Join the Green Office program to become part of a campus community where sustainable actions are meaningful and pervasive!

To learn more or join the program, read on or contact our staff at

How does the Green Office program work?

Reasons to join Green Office program

What does a sustainable office look like? Some ideas may spring to mind quickly: turning off lights, recycling, and using less paper – and these are a good start! But sustainability encompasses much more, from what you buy (and don’t buy) to employee health and wellness.

The Green Office Certification program participants receive a checklist with 45 actions in seven categories, each with a point value. With this list, our program staff will help your office team develop a structured plan toward a greener work environment. The checklist items also help you understand the benefits of a sustainable workplace and how to achieve them.

There are four different levels of certification, based on the number of points earned.

  • Seed: 20-30 points
  • Sprout: 31-40 points
  • Sapling: 41-50 points
  • Tree: 51-60 points

No matter your level, there is always room to grow. Find the actions that best fit your time, interest, and capabilities and begin your journey through certification!

How to get started

  1. Contact us! – Our Green Office Team will visit your office to give a short presentation (around 15 minutes) about the Green Office Program, why it is important for our campus community, and how it might work for your staff. A regularly scheduled staff meeting can be a great time for this introductory presentation. At the meeting, we will designate a leader for your office and establish a realistic timeline for ongoing communication with the Office of Sustainability.
  2. Choose your goals – Using the certification checklist, perform an office audit to determine your baseline and identify areas that could use improvement. Next, have a conversation with staff to decide which checklist items are most practical and meaningful for your office to complete.
  3. Tackle waste – Invite the Office of Sustainability’s Waste and Recycling Team to meet with your staff. They will give a short but comprehensive overview of how recycling works on campus and can answer questions about office recycling.
  4. Check in – The Office of Sustainability is available as a resource throughout your certification efforts. We will also check in to evaluate your status according to the schedule determined at our initial presentation.
  5. Get certified – Once your office has completed the minimum number of checklist items for your desired certification level, contact us. We will issue a certificate to display in your workspace and a certification logo to place on your website!
  6. Keep it up! – The work doesn’t stop there! After your initial certification, you can continue to complete checklist items to achieve a higher level of certification!


Campus recycling information

Campus composting

Video: The Journey of UW–Madison Recycling

We use hundreds of single-use coffee cups every day. Are you putting yours in the correct bin?

Video: What’s In The Bin?

Why dig through the trash? Lessons learned from Office of Sustainability trash audits.