The Green Workplace Program (GWP) is a recent initiative developed by the University Committee on Sustainability to enhance the sustainability and environmental performance of U.Va. workplaces. The heart of the GWP is the credit checklist, a list of 60 actions participating workplaces can implement to improve sustainability and reduce costs.
Because of its large size, Facilities Management has been broken up into 7 workplaces. Vinnie Vawter, the Green Leader of the Health System Physical Plant (HSPP) workplace, and her solo HSPP Green Committee member Nicholas Bartley, are the first team to complete the GWP checklist and be green workplace certified! After implementing 49 credits, Vinnie and Nicholas achieved 77 points for a gold rating. The credits come from a variety of categories, including Energy, Transportation, Zero Waste, Health, Food, and Innovation.
In order to earn their GWP Innovation credits, Vinnie and Nicholas planned to monitor the HSPP conference room light circuit to find baseline energy consumption, install motion sensors to turn off lights when not in use, and then monitor again to record energy savings. However, the team was not able to acquire funding for this project, which Vinnie says is the only real problem she faced with the Green Workplace Program. Vinnie recommends that funding be put in place for the program, as she suggests that applying for funding validates the approach.
In place of this conference room project, HSPP decided to install automatic timers on personal printers for their Innovation credits. Using a Kilowatt Meter, the team monitored the energy consumption from various printers in their workplace for a week. They then installed automatic timers to switch off the printer power during times of inactivity in order to eliminate unnecessary standby power consumption. After the timer installation, the team measured the energy consumption again for a week in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the timer.
Nicholas, who spearheaded this project, found that while a 10-year-old inkjet printer would not benefit from the automatic timers, installing a timer on a 15-year-old LaserJet printer would save about $12 per year. Multiply this by the number of LaserJet printers around this age in HSPP, and the savings add up!
According to Vinnie, the awareness of sustainability has been in place for quite some time at HSPP, but the Green Workplace Program helped to add additional excitement and motivation. “Hopefully, as we move forward, our legacy will benefit the children and grandchildren who will inherit our learning curve,” Vinnie says.
For more information on the Green Workplace Program, click here.