PACES Green Office Certification recognizes departments moving toward sustainability. We assess how departments currently apply ecological practices, raise awareness about campus policies and standard practices, and offer resources to help implement them. We also connect departments with knowledgeable stakeholders that can provide technical assistance to help implement new practices. In the past, PACES green office certification program has helped departments save $45/year per computer by changing monitor settings and increased waste diversion rate, from 47% to 60%. The PACES assessment process is designed to be time efficient and convenient for your department. Data collection is completed based on the MSO’s schedule and preferred timeline. 

Assessment Process

1. Introduction: (15-30min w/Business Officer)
Overview of the program and the steps involved.

2. Business Officer Interview (w/Business Officer): (30min)
Questions in this stage will be geared toward departmental policies and programs. This will be completed through an interview or electronic survey.

3. Data Collection:
PACES will collect measurable data related to: communications/training, energy, food, human health, purchasing, transportation, waste reduction and recycling, and water. Our methods include:

  • Building Occupant Survey: (5-10min) We will send out an electronic survey to all building occupants to evaluate attitudes, behaviors, and understanding of current policies.
  • Building Walk-through: (up to 1hr) We will briefly walk through the department office space to observe lighting and space usage, as well as evaluate the criteria indicated in the PACES Scorecard linked below. The walk-through may include the following:
    • Energy Audit (Optional): Evaluate departmentally controlled rooms to determine baseline energy use. This will require access to each room for 2-3minutes for visual assessments and light readings. We do not need to unplug equipment.
    • Waste Audit (Optional): If requested, we can discuss the possibility of performing a building-wide waste audit. During the audit, we would collaborate with the custodians to collect waste and then sort these materials via our volunteers.

Please note: If your department includes laboratories, we recommend you consider voluntarily participating in an assessment with our partner organization, LabRATS (Laboratory Research and Technical Staff), whose program is more geared towards lab spaces.

4. Presentation: (30min-1hr)
Once data from the audit is compiled and summarized, PACES will offer a brief presentation on our findings and recommendations for department staff, faculty, and students. During the presentation, we will solicit feedback on goals and initiatives that the audience would like the department to commit to and that they, as building occupants, want to commit to.

5. Climate and Sustainability Action Plan:
PACES will draft a sustainability and climate action plan (based on our general template) to help the department reduce its environmental impact. Goals and priorities brainstormed in the presentation will be included. The plan will not be put into effect until the department reviews, modifies, and approves the plan through the appropriate channels, as determined by the department.

6. Follow-up (Optional):
We will deliver shortened surveys to the department in one year’s time to gauge effectiveness of the program.


The following documents provide additional details.

  1. PACES Overview
  2. Business Officer Interview
  3. Building Occupant Survey
  4. Walk-through Scorecard
  5. Example Sustainability and Climate Action Plan: Presentation
  6. Example Sustainability and Climate Action Plan: Report 

Meet Our Team

If you are interested in having your department certified or would like to know more about PACES Office, please contact our Green Office Coordinators below.


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