Sample Policies

Below are sample policies businesses may consider adopting to fill the corresponding Green Check Scorecard criteria. Businesses not working toward Green Check certification may also use these sample policies to improve their general sustainability efforts.

 

E2. Establish a power-down policy and checklist that includes items such as shutting off lights at night.

 As an organization, (Name of Organization) recognizes the importance establishing an office power-down policy in order to save electricity and increase the longevity of lighting and electronics within the workplace.  The following policy outlines our commitment as an organization to properly shut down the workplace at the end of each workday. This document will be included in Standard Operating Procedures, staff manuals, and other applicable materials. This information will also be disseminated to upper management, employees, and custodial staff to ensure that shut-down procedures are communicated and conducted in an efficient manner.

Employees shall:

  1. Turn off lights when not in use and use natural light when possible.
  2. Turn off, not just log off, all computers, terminals, speakers and other office equipment at the end of every work day.
  3. Turn off your power strip at the end of every work day.
  4. Activate the power down features on your computer and monitor to enter into a low-power or sleep mode when not in use.
  5. Unplug equipment that drains energy even when not in use (e.g., cell phone chargers, fans, coffee makers, desktop printers, radios).
  6. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in desk lamps as opposed to incandescent lights whenever possible.
  7. Use the stairs when possible.
  8. Utilize videoconferencing and conference calls as an alternative to travel when possible.
  9. Limit the use of space heaters.

This policy was adopted on (insert date) and will be included in all appropriate company administrative documents henceforth.

Official Signature(s)                                                                                                        Date

 

E15. Establish a regular filter maintenance policy for your HVAC system.

As an organization, (Name of Organization), recognizes the importance of conducting regular filter and basic routine HVAC maintenance in regards to both energy savings and increased system longevity. The following policy outlines our commitment as an organization to proper HVAC maintenance and upkeep to be included in Standard Operating Procedures, staff manuals, and other applicable materials.

HVAC Checklist

  1. Now
    1. Ensure that high-efficiency pleated air filter is installed.
    2. Keep HVAC units free of leaves, pollen and grass.
    3. Clear 2 feet of space around outdoor HVAC units.
  1. Monthly or Seasonal
    1. Inspect refrigerant lines each month.
    2. Replace air filter regularly (every 90 days).
    3. Summer, turn off water to furnace humidifier.
    4. Fall, replace humidifier filter and turn on water.
  1. Annually
    1. Replace carbon monoxide detector battery.
    2. Ensure outdoor HVAC unit is on firm and level ground.
    3. Clear AC condensate drain with a bleach/water mixture.

This policy was adopted on (insert date) and will be included in all appropriate company administrative documents henceforth.

Official Signature(s)                                                                                                        Date

 

E17. Establish a policy for purchasing that requires Energy Star rated appliances and electronics.

Reducing unnecessary energy use saves money, curtails air and water emissions, improves overall environmental quality, and promotes human health and well-being.

To take advantage of these benefits, purchasers of electricity-consuming equipment at (Organization Name) will henceforth consider energy efficiency as criteria in selecting equipment to be purchased. The purchaser should whenever feasible purchase an item certified under the EPA Energy Star program (see http://www.energystar.gov).

For Energy Star Rated Equipment:

  • When competitively bidding a piece of equipment, purchasers will insert the following statement in the bid document.

“ENERGY STAR is a government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.” http://www.energystar.gov/ .

Do the products that will be purchased meet the Energy Star specifications for energy efficiency? Yes_______

No _______ If NO, provide a justification statement as to why the Energy Star equipment cannot meet the intended function.

For categories of equipment for which there are no Energy Star ratings:

  • Purchasers will insert the following statement in the bid document. Are the products being purchased among the most energy efficient in their product category?

Yes_______ (Explain how you know.)

No_______ (Explain why you selected this equipment.)

Don’t know_______ (No energy efficiency ratings are available for the equipment being purchased.) Such equipment will include, but is not limited to, computers, appliances, research equipment, motors, pumps, food service equipment, and electronic equipment.

This policy was adopted on (insert date) and will be included in all appropriate company administrative documents henceforth.

Official Signature(s)                                                                                                        Date

 

E18. Establish a dress code that encourages employees to dress for thermal comfort.

As an organization, (Name of Organization) has committed to taking steps to conserve energy related to heating and cooling within the workplace. Due to these measures, indoor office temperatures will more closely mirror outdoor ambient temperatures. In order to encourage employee comfort and wellbeing, (Name of Organization), has implemented a dress code that encourages employees to dress for their thermal comfort.

This policy was adopted on (insert date) and will be included in all appropriate company administrative documents henceforth.

Official Signature(s)                                                                                                        Date

 

R6. Establish a policy for environmentally friendly printing such as two-sided printing, reusing copy paper, and electronic document sharing.

  1. DO NOT turn off the printer on a regular basis Toner-based printers use heating elements (“fusers”) to print on a document. When the printer is on the heating element is maintained at a very high temperature. Turning the printer off and on, on a regular basis can significantly limit the lifespan of the heating element. Unless your printer can support this habit, simply set your printer to “sleep”, “hibernate”, or “eco” mode.
  2. Enable “sleep” or “eco” settings so that the printer will hibernate because it is not good for the printer to be completely shut down the best power management policy is to enable the printer to sleep or hibernate after a period of non-use. This will reduce the amount of electricity the printer consumes. Check the printer’s manual to see which mode to select.
  3. Use toner that is manufactured in a zero waste facility Many toner-based printers will use toner cartridges that are non-toxic and manufactured in a zero waste facility. This is the most environmentally friendly option for toner-based printers. Many consumers have heard of “soybased ink” or “vegetable-based ink”. These products are not available for toner-based printers. Instead, look for “non-toxic” labeling, and ask the manufacturer for information on the facility used to produce the toner. Most toner cartridges can also be recycled by the manufacturer, so be sure to check with the manufacturer for details.
  4. Use paper that is a 50/50 or 30/70 blend Depending on the type of recycled paper, 100% recycled paper can produce a significant amount of dust, which can be bad for your printer. The best option is a mix of recycled and virgin FSC certified paper. The Forest Stewardship Council’s certification is the most robust and comprehensive certification process for forest sourced products.
  5. Print on both sides of the page and reduce printing margins. One of the easiest areas to reduce printing costs and waste is simply to print on both side of the paper when possible. Default settings for most word processing software is 1.25” but should be minimized when feasible.
  6. Print on the unused side of previously printed paper. When you’re printing meeting notes, emails, or inter-office memos, etc. use the blank side of paper that has already been used. This is a perfect way to reduce paper consumption when a professional copy is not necessary. A great way to facilitate this in your office is to place used paper next to office printers with a reminder on the printer itself.

This policy was adopted on (insert date) and will be included in all appropriate company administrative documents henceforth.

Official Signature(s)                                                                                                        Date

 

R7. Establish an electronic waste policy that diverts all e-waste away from landfill.

As an organization, (Name of Organization,) recognizes the improper disposal of obsolete electronic equipment poses a threat to our environment. There is therefore a need to handle such disposals – referred to as E-Waste – in a responsible manner in line with emerging global best practices and standards.

This E-Waste policy covers the following IT equipments

Sl. No. Category Items
1. Computers Server / Desktop computer (CPU, Monitor, Keyboard and Mouse), Laptop, Notebook, Dumb terminal, etc or similar items
2. Printer & Accessories Printer, Scanner, Printer Cartridge, Toner, etc or similar items
3. Network equipments Routers, Switches, Patch panel, Modem, Converter, VSAT equipments, etc or similar items
4. IT Accessories TV Tuner box, Floppy, CD and DVD, Pen Drive, External Hard disk, External CD / DVD writer, DAT Drive, Speaker, Laptop Battery, Hand Held device, VC equipments, Data Cartridge, etc or similar items
5. Associated Electrical items Power cable, Data cable, UPS, etc or similar items

E-WASTE POLICY

The lifecycle of all IT assets spanning from acquisition to disposal shall be managed in a manner which conforms to sound environmental norms as detailed in the IT E-Waste guidelines. This includes:

  • Preferential dealing with IT vendors having sound E-Waste management processes
  • Extending the useful life of IT assets to postpone / minimize generation of E-Waste
  • Responsible disposal processes conforming to regulatory requirements and best practices

IT E-WASTE MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES

REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT

  • Different government bodies have published regulatory framework for handling E-waste. Similarly, different trade and industry bodies are also evolving the best practices to deal with IT E-Waste. (Person in charge) will scan the evolving code of practice and keep updating this policy document in line with the best practices for disposal of IT E-Waste. This will be done once a year or more frequently if deemed necessary.
  •  (Organization name) shall identify authorized Recyclers, publish a list of such E-Waste Recyclers and enter into appropriate agreements covering all aspects of the E-Waste disposal. The list of authorized Recyclers and the agreed terms and conditions will be circulated to the department heads/organization.

IT E-WASTE MINIMIZATION PROCESS

  • It shall be the endeavor of every user to maximize utilization of all IT assets to their full productive life. Apart from internal re-use, option to extend use through donation to bona fide philanthropic institutions will also extend the useful life of IT assets.
  • Only such IT assets which are non-operational and cannot be reused for any other alternate purpose should be considered as IT E-waste for disposal.

This policy was adopted on (insert date) and will be included in all appropriate company administrative documents henceforth.

Official Signature(s)                                                                                                        Date

 

WC3. Establish a policy for purchase of minimum WaterSense rated fixtures and appliances.

Reducing unnecessary water use saves money, improves overall environmental quality, and promotes human health and well-being.

To take advantage of these benefits, purchasers of water-consuming equipment at (Organization Name) will henceforth consider water efficiency as criteria in selecting equipment to be purchased. The purchaser should whenever feasible purchase an item certified under the EPA WaterSense program (see www3.epa.gov/watersense)

For WaterSense Rated Equipment:

  • When competitively bidding a piece of equipment, purchasers will insert the following statement in the bid document.

“WaterSense is a government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior water efficiency.” https://www3.epa.gov/watersense

Do the products that will be purchased meet the WaterSense specifications for water efficiency? Yes_______

No _______ If NO, provide a justification statement as to why the WaterSense equipment cannot meet the intended function.

For categories of equipment for which there are no WaterSense ratings:

  • Purchasers will insert the following statement in the bid document. Are the products being purchased among the most water efficient in their product category?

Yes_______ (Explain how you know.)

No________ (Explain why you selected this equipment.)

Don’t know_______ (No water efficiency ratings are available for the equipment being purchased.)

This policy was adopted on (insert date) and will be included in all appropriate company administrative documents henceforth.

Official Signature(s)                                                                                                        Date

 

WQ1. Establish a policy for proper hazardous waste disposal.

Household Hazardous Waste: https://www.lexingtonky.gov/household-hazardous-waste

Sample from Reuter’s University http://rehs.rutgers.edu/pdf_files/hazwaste_disposal.pdf

 

WQ3. Establish a policy for proper disposal of fats, oils, and grease, distribute to staff, and post in key areas.

As an organization, (Name of Organization) recognizes the importance of ensuring the proper disposal of fats, oils, and grease generated within the workplace.  The following policy outlines our commitment as an organization to properly shut down the workplace at the end of each workday. This document will be included in Standard Operating Procedures, staff manuals, and other applicable materials. This information will also be disseminated to upper management, employees, and custodial staff to ensure that F.O.G. disposal procedures are communicated and conducted in an efficient manner.

(Name of Organization) will educate employees about the proper disposal of F.O.G. in the work place as well as encourage them to extend these habits to their home.

This policy was adopted on (insert date) and will be included in all appropriate company administrative documents henceforth.

Official Signature(s)                                                                                                        Date

 

U4. Establish a native species-only plant replacement policy for tree and shrub planting.

As an organization, (Name of Organization), recognizes the important role native plant species play in the overall health and resiliency of their surrounding environment. Due to this, (Name of Organization) has made a commitment to ensuring that native plants our incorporated into our landscape management procedures. The following policy outlines this commitment by establishing a native species-only replacement policy for all trees and shrubs on property.

  • Native plants are defined as all indigenous terrestrial and aquatic plant species that evolved naturally in a defined native ecosystem.
  • Native plant materials will be the first choice when replacing trees and shrubs on the property.
  • Non-native, non-invasive plant species may be used when:
  • Needed in emergency conditions to protect basic resource values,
  • As an interim, non-persistent measure designed to aid in the re-establishment of native plants,
  • When native plant materials are not available, and
  • In permanently altered plant communities.
  • Under no circumstances will non-native invasive plant species be used as plant materials for restoration, rehabilitation, or reconstruction of native ecosystems.
  • The best information available should be used to choose genetically appropriate native plant materials for the site to be restored.
  • A reliable source of native plant materials, either as seed or other vegetative propagules is essential for the successful implementation of the native plant materials program.

 

U6. Establish an Integrated Pest Management policy to reduce use of pesticides in the landscape.

Sample from the University of Kentucky IPM: http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/ent/ent69/ent69.pdf

Sample from City of Berkley,CA: https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Health_Human_Services/Environmental_Health/Pest_Management_Policy.aspx

U7. Establish environmentally friendly lawn care policies to reduce chemical pesticide and fertilizer use.

As an organization, (Name of Organization) recognizes the importance of eliminating harmful chemical pesticides and fertilizers from contaminating soil and water.  The following policy outlines our commitment as an organization to properly implement a no-harmful lawn chemicals policy. This document will be included in Standard Operating Procedures, staff manuals, and other applicable materials. This information will also be disseminated to upper management, employees, and lawn care staff to ensure that procedures are communicated and conducted in an efficient manner.

Management shall and/or lawn services shall:

  1. Purchase environmentally friendly lawn care products.
  2. Avoid using unnecessary chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers.

This policy was adopted on (insert date) and will be included in all appropriate company administrative documents henceforth.

Official Signature(s)                                                                                                                    Date

 

SP1. Establish a policy for reducing the toxic chemicals/materials in your workplace.

Sample from OSHA: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/hazardoustoxicsubstances/index.html

 

SP2. Establish a policy for purchasing environmentally-friendly cleaning products.

Sample from NYU: https://www.nyu.edu/content/dam/nyu/facilitiesContMgt/documents/FM%20Specifications/GREEN%20CLEANING–11-17-13.pdf

 

SP3. Establish a policy for purchasing products locally, if available.

As an organization, (Name of Organization) recognizes the importance of purchasing local products whenever possible.  The following policy outlines our commitment as an organization to properly implement a “Buy Local” policy. This document will be included in Standard Operating Procedures, staff manuals, and other applicable materials. This information will also be disseminated to upper management and employees to ensure that purchasing procedures are communicated and conducted in an efficient manner.

Employees responsible for ordering product shall purchase (name of item) from local retailer, (name of retailer).

This policy was adopted on (insert date) and will be included in all appropriate company administrative documents henceforth.

Official Signature(s)                                                                                                          Date

 

SP4. Establish a policy to purchase/lease EPA SmartWay Certified fuel-efficient vehicles.

As an organization, (Name of Organization) recognizes the importance of reducing carbon emissions.  The following policy outlines our commitment as an organization to properly implement a EPA SmartWay Certified purchasing policy. This document will be included in Standard Operating Procedures, staff manuals, and other applicable materials. This information will also be disseminated to upper management to ensure that vehicle purchasing procedures are communicated and conducted in an efficient manner.

Management shall:

  1. Opt for purchasing EPA SmartWay certified fuel-efficient vehicles for company use.

This policy was adopted on (insert date) and will be included in all appropriate company administrative documents henceforth.

Official Signature(s)                                                                                                   Date

 

SP5. Establish a policy to eliminate Styrofoam cups and plates for use at the workplace or at events.

As an organization, (Name of Organization) recognizes the importance of preventing non-biodegradable items made of Styrofoam from going into the landfill.  The following policy outlines our commitment as an organization to properly implement a no Styrofoam policy. This document will be included in Standard Operating Procedures, staff manuals, and other applicable materials. This information will also be disseminated to upper management, employees, and custodial staff to ensure that proper dishware procedures are communicated and conducted in an efficient manner.

Management and Employees shall:

  1. Avoid purchasing Styrofoam products for company use.
  2. Opt for reusable dishware whenever possible.

Custodial Staff shall:

  1. Ensure Styrofoam items are not placed in recycling bins and/or recycling dumpster.

This policy was adopted on (insert date) and will be included in all appropriate company administrative documents henceforth.

Official Signature(s)                                                                                                      Date

 

T3. Establish and implement a no-idling policy.

As an organization, (Name of Organization) recognizes the importance establishing a no-idling policy in order to cut carbon emissions.  The following policy outlines our commitment as an organization to properly implement no –idling in and on company property. This document will be included in Standard Operating Procedures, staff manuals, and other applicable materials. This information will also be disseminated to upper management and employees to ensure that no-idling procedures are communicated and conducted in an efficient manner.

Employees shall:

  1. Refrain from idling in parked company vehicles. Exceptions may be made if temperatures are below 40 degrees or above 75 degrees.
  2. Refrain from idling in personal vehicles on company property.

This policy was adopted on (insert date) and will be included in all appropriate company administrative documents henceforth.

Official Signature(s)                                                                                      Date