Office + Classroom

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Here are some tips to "live green" in offices and classrooms on campus. Many can be used in living spaces as well!


Do I turn off my computer and lights every night or when I am gone for a long period of time?

Have I enabled energy-saving features on my computer and disabled the screen saver?

Have I talked with colleagues about turning off lights and computers?

  • Turn it off. Computers, monitors, speakers, copiers and printers can be turned off at the end of the day, on weekends and during extended breaks, but check with your IT repreentative before doing so. If computers must be left on, set to hibernate mode.
  • Other devices, such as lights, fans or radios, should be switched off after each use. Also, unplug coffeemakers, shredders, fans and chargers when not in use. Even when "off" these draw electricity.
  • Invest in a "smart" power strip that automatically turns off equipment when you are gone, reducing phantom power or vampire energy loss.
  • If replacing personal light bulbs, use compact fluorescent light for task lighting.Inquire with your building coordinator about installing motion detectors in break areas or shared spaces that are often unoccupied.
  • Let the light in. Bring in natural light and turn off overhead lights
  • Get your green on. Bring in a plant or two for your office - the benefits to your mood and health are worth the time it takes to water the plant.


Are all the printers printing two-sided?

Are brochures, etc. printed on recycled-content paper?

Is my department buying recycled products?

  • Avoid printing handouts for meetings - use PowerPoints and post them online for future reference.
  • Use the online syllabus system and post assignments and study tools online.
  • Have students submit homework and essays electronically when possible.

Recycle and Reuse

Are we buying reusable materials as opposed to disposable materials?

Does everyone have their at-desk recycle containers?

Are there locations where recycling bins are needed?

Am I reporting problems/needs to the custodial staff or UI Facilities Management?

Does everyone know where to find the do's and don'ts of recycling?

Are computers and laser/ink cartridges being recycled?

  • Be a leader - form a "green team" for your office and take action to reduce waste and increase recycling.
  • Invest in reusable instead of disposable coffee cups and/or water bottles.
  • Recycle phone books and don't reorder, use electronic directories instead.
  • Scrap paper has life left in it - reuse it for notes or second-side printing.
  • University Surplus sells equipment, furniture and other goods, and recycles items that cannot be reused through demanufacturing, reducing the amount of waste that is sent to the landfill. 


Are recycling bins available in the room where events are happening?

Are we serving in recyclable or compostable containers?

Are we minimizing waste by buying and serving in bulk vs. individual containers (platter of sandwich vs. box lunch, one large container of creamer vs. individual packets, etc.)?

Are give-aways or promotional items something that people will actually use?

Getting Around

Are you commuting responsibly?

  • Consider leaving your car at home. At the University of Iowa, it's easy to carpool, van pool or take public transit.
  • Discounted bus passes are available for UI employees.
  • And getting around campus is easy with Cambus. Using any form of alternative transportation is less expensive - for your budget and the environment - than driving alone every day.