Green Workplace

The Green Workplace Program (GWP) engages UVA employees in actions that conserve resources, save money, and advance sustainability. The Office for Sustainability supports Green Workplaces by offering a set of recommended green actions, shepherding individuals through implementation of those actions, and incentivizing sustainability progress, even after certification.

Photo of a Green Workplace, green ball-chair, computer, and window.
Click the image above to find inspiration from our 360 virtual tour of an example Green Workplace at UVA.

Get Started

  1. Gauge interest among colleagues and start a list of employees who might like to join your “green team.”
  2. Learn more in an info meeting which you can request by emailing
  3. Implement at least 20 sustainable actions from the list of 30 recommendations, and document progress as you go.
  4. Host a final review & walkthrough to go over notes and show the Program Coordinator what you’ve accomplished.
  5. Celebrate Green Workplace certification with snacks and a plaque courtesy of the Office for Sustainability!
  6. Earn badges for custom sustainability projects that involve five additional actions addressing unique challenges in your workplace.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why participate in the Green Workplace Program?

First, UVA’s Green Workplace Program aligns with our University-wide Sustainability Plan. With your help, we can reach these goals and commitments. Individual actions matter, and everything adds up considering the 17,000+ academic employees and 12,000+ health system employees at UVA. Additionally, we believe that many of the green actions in the program are win-win. They not only help the environment, but in many cases also streamline processes, save money, and contribute to the personal and professional development of employees across our University.

What defines a workplace?

The GWP has specifically picked the word “workplace” as opposed to department, school, or office in recognition that UVA workplaces are diverse. GWP participants get to choose the scope of the workplace. You might define your “workplace” as a certain building / floor / office suite, or your workplace might include people who are physically spread out, but tied together organizationally (a department or other sub-unit). Some UVA Green Workplaces are 6 people, while others include over 100 full-time employees, so you can participate at whatever scope you would like

What is a Green Team?

No one should have to save the planet alone, so we recommend finding some allies if you’d like to work toward certification through the Green Workplace Program. A green team is an informal group of sustainability-interested UVA employees in the same workplace that works together to implement Green Workplace actions. Green teams can be just a few people or a big group, but if possible, it is nice to have passionate people with diverse interests and work functions

Why are there just 30 actions in the newest version of the Green Workplace Program?

UVA’s Green Workplace Program version 2.0 is designed to focus on 30 actions that are all fairly easy, no-cost actions that are relevant in many types of workplaces. We think of these as the “low hanging fruit” green actions that, once completed, build a foundation for more deep improvements that the Sustainability Office also supports. See “badges” question below.

What should I do if an action is not applicable or not possible in my workplace?

If one of the 30 actions is not relevant or possible in your space, simply prioritize other actions in the checklist. You only need to do 20 of the 30 actions to earn certification, so there should be plenty of other improvements that would make sense for you. If, after reviewing the actions, you feel like more than 10 of them would not be applicable for your workplace, please email for advice on how to proceed.

What are badges?

Awarding “badges” after certification encourages Green Workplaces to keep pursuing sustainability improvements beyond just the “low hanging fruit.” Each time a Green Team can implement 5 additional actions that relate to a single theme, that workplace can earn a badge for that topic. For example, if a workplace wanted to tackle sustainability in their kitchen or break room. They could: 1) go k-cup free, 2) bring in some reusable dishware, 3) add a small compost bin for food scraps, 4) run a communication campaign on plant-based diets, and 5) set a “No Styrofoam” expectation in the workplace. The Office for Sustainability has resources and funding to support many of these ideas, and would love to award a badge for any set of 5 cohesive, impactful sustainability actions.

How long does our workplace’s certification last?

UVA’s Green Workplace Certification does not technically “expire”, but we encourage workplaces to remain “active” by either re-certifying every 3 years or earning at least 1 badge each year. We also recommend recertifying if a workplace moves to a new physical area or undergoes significant restructuring of staff.

What if I have other questions?

Please send any questions or requests to