Loyola University Chicago

School of Environmental Sustainability

Green Office

The office is the easiest place to begin making a positive impact to reduce energy consumption and reduce waste through less packaging, no disposables and paper reduction. Faculty and staff can be provided with regular, friendly reminders to take action in each of the categories noted below.

Motivation, Education and Action

Usually there are a few in each department that have already incorporated “green” behaviors on a daily basis, both at home and at work. These folks are ideal to be the “eco-rep” for your department. They can chair a group in charge of activities the whole office can get involved in:

  • Head up a small group to meet and plan the “green office” vision and strategies
  • The group can meet quarterly to check in and discuss progress
  • The group should establish and maintain a partnership with Loyola’s Office of Sustainability for guidance and updates on the “latest and greatest” techniques to reduce consumption and green the office
  • Organize a fall and spring charitable donation drive in your department
  • Get involved by volunteering at campus events, trips and join a committee to advance environmental sustainability at Loyola.

The Office of Sustainability will provide monthly themes to educate and inform on topics such as energy, water, food, waste, recycling and more. These messages can be incorporated in friendly emails, informative lunch gatherings and postings.

Sign up to receive online resources and higher education sustainability news at the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

From your department’s home page, link to Loyola’s Office of Sustainability


Turn the lights off when not in use during the day and at night, including common areas such as storage areas, conference, kitchen and copy rooms.

If able to do so, use natural daylight and switch off overhead and desk lights.

Use desk lamps instead of ceiling lights.

Close window blinds at night during cold months.

Seasonal thermostat settings:

  • Set thermostat to 64–66 in colder weather and wear a sweater as needed
  • Raise the thermostat to 76–78 in summer months, switch off lights if able to do so

Set the computer power setting to turn the monitor off after 5 minutes of inactivity and put it to sleep after 10 minutes. This helps reduce energy usage by 95%.

Avoid the computer “screen saver”—use the “sleep mode”. “Sleep mode” uses less energy than the screen saver.

Use smart power strips as central turn-off points at each work station and switch them off each night, and before heading out for the weekend, vacations and holiday breaks.

During winter, spring and summer breaks, please prepare offices and other common areas that will have very little to no activity as follows:

  • Turn down thermostats to 60 degrees during winter months if you are able to do so
  • Set thermostat to 80 degrees during summer breaks
  • Unplug appliances and other equipment (microwaves, coffee machines, faxes, chargers, copy machines)
  • Close office and conference room blinds
  • Shut down the computer(s)


Purchase materials, such as paper, made from 100% recycled content with 30% as the minimum.

Purchase and use refillable pens and pencils.

Need Furniture?

  1. Check in with Loyola’s Purchasing Department for any surplus or used items before buying new items.
  2. Check Loyola's Iggy's List for items available for trade or resale.
  3. New furniture last option? Consider purchasing sustainable furniture:
    • Made from recycled materials
    • Low emitting materials
    • Made locally or in the U.S.
    • Durable and fixable
    • Certified sustainable wood

Each person has their own pair of scissors, stapler and printer? Why? Identify supplies and equipment which can be shared.

Computers, printers, copiers: Loyola’s ITS has energy saving standards for equipment. Please go through the proper channels to purchase according to ITS guidelines.

  • Did you know that Loyola’s ITS has received several energy efficiency awards?

Appliances: Choose the “Energy Star” certified models.

Use environmentally-friendly, phosphate free dish detergent and non-aerosol sprays.

Avoid purchasing paper towels and napkins (not recyclable). However if you must, please purchase with 100% recycled content plus unbleached and/or chlorine free.

Achieve ZERO Waste

The first “R” in “RRR” is Reduce. Start with that first “R” and REDUCE. After that, reuse and recycle as much as you can. Producing new products requires energy, water and is overall resource intensive. That’s why reduce, reuse and recycle is the easiest approach to cut back on unnecessary purchasing.

Bring in reusable plates, cups, glasses, utensils and cloth napkins for lunch and snacks. Staff can keep them at their work areas or if there is a departmental kitchen, store them in the kitchen.

  • Most people have at home extra serving ware that is chipped or a mismatch which can be used at the office
  • Another option is to check out the local thrift store for very inexpensive items
  • Have extras available for visitors to use

Keep a travel mug handy for those coffee/tea runs.

Do not purchase bottled water. If you have a kitchen, departments can budget for a water cooler which filters water from the tap.

  • If no kitchen, stretch those legs and take a short walk to the nearest water fountain or refill station

Join the Campus Compost Collective Program

A program in which staff, faculty and students living on-campus can place their respective food scraps in a compost collection bin.

  • Participants drop-off compostable items at a designated collection location at the Lakeshore campus once a week
  • Contact sustainability@luc.edu to learn more and join.

Waste Reduction Strategies

Set up a central location for trash and recycling bins, and remove deskside bins.

  • People become more aware of the items they use briefly that end up in the landfill. Besides, it is another way to take a walk and burn some calories.

Scan documents for electronic distribution and storage.


  • Purchase printers with capabilities for duplex printing
  • Set documents to print duplex or "double-sided" as the default
  • Set documents to print in "toner-saving mode"
  • Set document for smaller margins

Set up a “reuse paper” station for staff to use as scratch paper and to print drafts or other documents not intended as final versions.

Set up a designated area for office supplies that can be shared and reused (pens, clips, folders, etc.) and promote.


Printed products or communication pieces can be beautiful and vivid using environmentally-friendly printing techniques. Select a printer that utilizes the following features for sustainable printing:

  • 100% vegetable-based inks
  • Bean and seed ester wash-up solutions manufactured in the US
  • Generates no hazardous waste water
  • Reuse or recycle 100% of paper waste
  • Uses 100% of paper from sustainably harvested forests


Recycling replaces virgin material production and greatly reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. At Loyola, we make it easy to recycle.

The Loyola recycling webpage LUC.edu/recycle has all the information you need to successfully recycle in your office.

Ensure electronics purchased with University funds are recycled according to Loyola’s ITS department.

  • Send an email to the ITS Help Desk and request assistance with Loyola owned electronics that need to be recycled.

For small personal electronics and batteries, drop off at the locations available to collect items for recycling at both lakeside campuses.

Recycle empty toner cartridges from network printers and copy machines.

  • Ricoh toners—set up a collection box in your department and contact the Loyola Mailroom to arrange for pickup and recycling.
  • All other printer cartridges such as HP, Dell generally come with a return-paid shipping label. They need those resources! Or they can be downloaded from their websites.

Food, Coffee/Tea and Catered Events

Make yourself lunch, and bring it in reusable containers instead of plastic baggies.

Purchase fair-trade, locally roasted or shade grown coffee/teas for the department.

Use coffee/tea makers that do not require disposable filters or individual style packets.

Catering an event or meeting? Check out the Green Event Planning Guide and Checklist.

Have a southern exposure in your department or office windows? Set up a mini-herb planter garden and encourage colleagues to take a snip of herbs for home meals.

  • There must be someone in your department with a “green” thumb and invite them to participate in this endeavor

Hold monthly informal brown bag lunches with meals with a seasonal and local food focus.

Support the farmers and producers at the Loyola Farmers Market.


To and from the office, Loyola’s transportation options are a great way to cut your impact from driving, not to mention driving's impact of stress and tension on you.

Loyola's Transportation Statement reminds people that the lakeshore campuses are urban settings that provide a wealth of transit options including train, bus, bicycle, pedestrian, and car.

  • To and from the office, Loyola's transportation options are a great way to reduce your impact from driving, not to mention the reduction of stress as a result of regional traffic congestion
  • Organize a “Transportation Quality of Life ” day each week. Those that can bike can cycle to the office. Those that can use fun modes of transportation other than a car- can take transit.
  • All that reading you would like to do but do not have time for? Taking transit gives you back time to relax and read!
  • Organize a carpool with colleagues
  • Check Iggy's List for RideShare information

Use the Flexible Work Schedule Policy and telecommuting if all other options are not feasible.

Use Loyola Secure Access (LSA) to gain remote access of your office computer while working from home.