Coinciding with Earth Week (April 19–24), the Arboretum received the Gold Level Green Office Certification from the UW–Madison Office of Sustainability. Beginning in the summer of 2018, student interns presented to the staff about the Green Office Certification program. To achieve the Bronze Level, staff improved waste management and recycling practices. Custodian Chad MacWilliams added signage to all recycling and trash containers. We also started a battery recycling program and added a compost bucket to the staff kitchen.
For Silver Level certification, we enhanced energy and water conservation practices. With help from UW interns Riley Collins and Sanuaz Alaei, we conducted an energy audit of office equipment and appliances. The biggest energy users were the printers, photocopiers, and microwaves. We used smart power strips to reduce power usage. (Smart strips manage “ghost energy” drawn by electronic devices that are always plugged in but intermittently used.) Staff also became more mindful about turning off lights and computers when not in use.
Gold Level certification is based on sustainable purchasing and community engagement practices. We already perform many of the required actions, such as using Surplus with a Purpose (SWAP) and purchasing recycled paper products. And community engagement is one of the Arboretum’s core services. With a little more effort we achieved this level.
We are proud to be acknowledged by the UW–Madison Office of Sustainability and salute graduating senior Riley Collins for shepherding us through the process of becoming an official Green Office.
—Marian Farrior, restoration work party manager