Guidelines to Green Your Office
It IS Easy To Go Green: Tips for Green Success from Santa Clara Council of Churches

Your Council of Churches Office is now a certified green business by [; Santa Clara County Green Business Program] standards! In order to help others do the same, we are providing some tips on going green. In just two months, we became a Green Business! We hope that you will, too!

20 TIPS FOR GREEN SUCCESS: You will find below, some resources for becoming a Green Business. These resources are arranged by the area they address (such as recycling). Each topic corresponds to one area of the Green Business Program. Links to helpful websites are included throughout and a list of links is provided at the end of the artilce.


1) Green Measure: “Help employees reduce junk mail at home. (Visit [] and click on "residential" for on line guidance and a downloadable PDF “kit”/brochure with six simple steps to take).”

What We Did: Our Office Manager put together junk mail reduction kits for the staff. The staff enjoyed them, so we gave them to each of the board members as well. The please-don’t-send-me-this-catalog letter we created can be use for either home or office. (link here)

2) Green Measure: “Eliminate fax cover sheets by using “sticky” fax directory notes.”

What We Did: We discovered that not only could we buy sticky fax notes, but also that we could get “3M Post-it Recycled Fax Transmittal Memo Pads" from Office Depot with recycled content! We estimated saving approximately 200 pieces of paper with a 4-pack of these sticky notes.

3) Green Measure: “Purchase copy, computer, or fax paper with recycled content.”

What We Did: We found three potential sources for purchasing paper that had a 100% PCW (Post-Consumer-Waste) recycled content and was PCF (Processed Chlorine Free). The PCF paper also meets a pollution prevention measure. The most eco-friendly paper we could find is called New Leaf Encore 100 Copy paper. This paper meets our general office needs and is available from two sources. [
http://www.worldcentric org; World Centric] in Palo Alto (a local green business) has Encore 100 for $54.00 a case plus $12.00 for shipping to our location or $6.00 a ream in store. [; Give Something Back] in Oakland will provide free shipping for a 2-case minimum of Encore 100 paper at $50.99 per case. [http://www/; Staples] now also carries 100% eco-freindly paper for $5.40 a ream.

We also found printers that would provide green printing of business cards and letterhead. [
http://www.; Los Gatos Village Printers] and [; Greener Printer] in Berkeley are both certified green businesses.

4) Green Measure: “Purchase reusable rather than disposable office items, such as refillable pens, erasable white boards & wall calendars.”

What We Did: We found refillable pens available on the Office Depot website. We are currently using a whiteboard in one of our meeting spaces. We also have an erasable universal planner.

5) Green Measure: “Donate or exchange unwanted but usable items (furniture, supplies, electronics, scrap materials, computer, disks, etc.) to local nonprofit organizations.”

What We Did: We donated unwanted desks, computer hardware, and old file cabinets to the church we rent our office space from. We donated unwanted office supplies to the Resource Area for Teachers.

6) Green Measure: “Enroll in a waste exchange program where your unwanted items can become another company’s resource. Check out the Integrated Waste Management Waste Exchange Program at [].

What We Did: Our office manager enrolled in a local Freecycle Yahoo Group which allows people to donate and request items to and from the local San Jose community. Freecycle Group members have donated an ergonomic computer desk and chair and a 4-drawer lateral file cabinet to our office. You can search the internet for a Freecycle group close to you at []!


7) Green Measure: Select equipment with energy saving features (e.g. look for computers, copiers, printers, etc. with the Energy Star logo).”

What We Did: Our church office purchased a new copier with energy saving features. You can push a button on the top of the machine that puts the copier into sleep mode, saving energy while the copier is not in use. We also made purchasing equipment with energy saving features a Standard Operating Procedure.

8) Green Measure(s): “Replace incandescent bulbs with halogen par lamps, compact fluorescents, or low voltage track lighting. Increase efficiency of fluorescent fixtures by putting in higher efficiency lighting such as high-pressure sodium of metal halides in a warehouse, replacing magnetic ballasts with electronic ballasts, installing T-8 or T-5 lamps, or reducing the number of lamps by installing optical reflectors or diffusers.”

What We Did: We got a recommendation for the Right Lights program. This group will send a person to conduct a review of your current lighting and make recommendations for the most appropriate energy-saving changes in your lighting. The Right lights folks were kind enough to give us an estimate for our office spaces and a separate estimate for the entire church. We are presently in the process of replacing the lights in the mian office and in the conference room. The more changes you make, the more electricity you save, the greater the rebate you can get and the more money you can save. Making these changes pays for itself over time. To contact the Right Lights folks, call (888) 846-5050 extension 3 or visit [].

9) Green Measure: “Rearrange workspace to advantage of areas with natural sunlight, and design for increased natural lighting when remodeling.”

What we did: During our recent remodel, we placed the office manager’s workspace next to a window in order to take advantage of the natural light. We also placed one of the Co-director’s desks next to a window.

10) Green Measures: “Always turn off lights when leaving and post reminders.” :”Set thermostat at 68 degrees for heating and 78 degrees for cooling; use timing devices to turn system down after hours.” “Use small fans and space heaters during off hours instead of heating or cooling the entire office.”

What we did: We posted a sign to remind occupants to turn off the lights and the thermostat or fan when leaving the office.

11) Green Measure: “Institute a formal policy to turn off equipment when possible.”

What we did: We made turning off the printer when leaving the office and not turning it on until it needs to be used a Standard Operating Procedure.


12) Green Measure: Regularly check for and reppair all leaks in your facility (Toilet leaks can be detected in tank toilets with leak detecting tablets, which may be available form your local water company.)

What we did: We contacted out local water company, the San Jose Water Company, and arranged for a water audit. Working with the church office, we arranged to have the entire church facility audited. The water company sent a representative who checked for leaks and provided leak detecting tablets which we can use if we suspect a leak. The representative provided other services noted below. To contact the San Jose Water Company for a water audit, you can call (408) 279-7900. You can also locate your water company at [; the Santa Clara Valley Water District website].

13) Green Measure: Install low flow aerators (2.2 gpm) in faucets and low flow showerheads (2.5 gpm). Your water utitlity may provide these free of charge.

What we did: When the San Jose Water Company came to perform our water audit, they also installed a flow aerator on one of the faucets in the kitchen. In addition, they provided low-flow showerheads and noted that our facilities currently have low-flow toilets

14) Green Measure: Indoors, use dry floor cleaning methods, followed by damp mopping, rather than spraying or hosing with water.

What we did: We made the use of dry floor cleaning methods Standard Operating Procedure and included it in our Standard Operating Procedure documentation.


15) Green Measure: Replace toxic cleaning supplies with less toxic alternatives. (2-3 items required if applicable.) If the cleaning supplies used at your worksite include any of the items listed . . . switch to a less toxic alternative.

What we did: We decided to use green seal products to clean our office. We made this a Standard Operating Procedure and included it in our Standard Operating Procedure documentation.

16) Green Measure: Correct situations that attract pests. Store all food in sealed containers.

What we did: We made the storage of all food in sealed containers a Standard Operating Procedure and included it in our Standard Operating Procedure documentation.

17) Green Measure: Buy unbleached and/or chlorine free paper products (copy paper, paper towels, coffee filters, etc.)

What we did: We made the purchase of processed chlorine free (PCF) paper products Standard Operating Procedure and included it in our Standard Operating Procedure documentation. We found New Leaf Encore 100 paper that is 100% post consumer waste and processed chlorine free available from World Centric in Palo Alto ( and Give Something Back in Oakland ( Similar paper is now available from Stalpes (

18) Green Measure: Recycle and /or reuse electronic equipment (computers, cell phones, pagers, etc.) Note how many items you recycle on the completed measures form.

What we did: We recently remodeled and reorganized our office. We gave 3 computers, 2 printers, and an answering machine to individuals and local non-profits for recycling and/or reuse.

19) Green Measure: Keep dumpsters covered when not in use.

What we did: We made a sign to “keep dumpster covered when not in use”.

20) Green Measure: Recycle and/or reuse spent toner and ink jet cartridges.

What we did: We will continue to purchase recycled toner cartridges and to recycle our used toner cartridges as a Standard Operating Procedure. We included this practice in our Standard Operating Procedure documentation.

Flex Your Power – []
PG&E – []
Right Lights – []
Santa Clara Valley Water District – []
San Jose Water Company Water Audit Program - []
Bay Area Green Business Program – []
Santa Clara County Green Business Program – []
FreeCycle – []
Recycling Hotline – []
Green Citizen – []
Santa Clara County Council of Churches Environmental Information: []

Do you have suggestions for making green dreams a reality? Email . Your suggestions may be posted at this site in the future!

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Patricia Novick, Ph.D.,D.Min.