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Take the pledge: The greening of Franklin

Maybe you’ve noticed “I have the power” and “I took the pledge” stickers around the Franklin building. They’re emblems of the Green Department Certification program, an Efficiency Review effort that aligns with President Janet Napolitano’s initiative to make UC carbon neutral by 2025.

The program enlists OP staff to take specific actions to lower the building’s carbon footprint, such as turning off lights, shutting down computers and monitors, using sustainable modes of transportation, conserving water and reducing trash.

Thirty people on the 10th floor participated in beta testing last year through the CFO’s staff development program. This effort was expanded via a pilot program started on the seventh floor of the Franklin building in May 2015 and to the fifth floor in June. The effort will be rolled out to the rest of the building in the coming months:

  • July: floors 9 and 11
  • August: floors 6 and 10
  • September: floors 8 and 12

Eventually, the program will expand to the 20th Street and Kaiser buildings, as well as 1111 Broadway.

Before the certification begins on your floor, you’ll receive a survey asking about current behaviors to assess baseline energy use. (If you’re on the fifth or seventh floor and haven’t yet taken the pledge, you still can using the SurveyMonkey link you previously received in your email.) Once the Green Department Certification program begins on your floor, you can sign a pledge to cut your usage, focusing on one area or several. If you sign the pledge, you’ll be entered in a drawing for Peet’s and Whole Foods gift cards.

As of today, approximately 52 percent of seventh-floor employees and 73 percent of fifth-floor staff have taken the pledge. The goal for the entire building is 80 percent. A team of volunteer Green Champions on each floor plans incentives (think candy and treats) to enlist employees and act as cheerleaders. The Green Champions are Jeanie Urban, Valerie Marble, Barton Lounsbury, Elizabeth Boyd, Alina Tejera, Andrei Trifonov and Manfred Zorn on the fifth floor and Shirley Bittlingmeier, Paul Anderson, Jason Smith, Yvonne Tevis, Allan Perry, Dede Bruno, Donna Collins, Alec Rosenberg, Gale Sheean-Remotto and Robert Judd on the seventh floor.

Some participants have formed carpools or taken to public transportation for their trips to work, removed bulbs from their overhead lighting or pledged not to use it at all, and take the stairs for trips between floors. The seventh floor Green Team has even created a Sharepoint site, which includes certification information, conservation tips and a discussion board. You can already monitor the building’s energy usage on the Lucid monitor in the lobby by the garage elevators or online.

After the program has been rolled out to the whole Franklin building, the Green Department Steering Committee is planning a friendly competition among floors to see who can attain the highest level of environmental performance. Winners will be recognized on Earth Day next April.

If you have any questions about the Green Department Certification program or are interested in getting involved, contact a member of the steering committee:

Michael Annas
Donna Collins
Carol Lake
Emily Rader
Gemma Rieser
Siena Sarmiento

Comment ( 1 )

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  1. Emily Montan June 23, 2015 Reply

    It’s a good thing that Janet has reinstated this program. The Sustainability department implemented this program about 8-10 years ago as part of the LEED certification process.

    Newly hired staff, since then, have not had the opportunity to be part of this.

    Congratulations to Janet and the Building Services staff for reinvigorating this program and congratulations to Matt St. Clair, Director of Sustainability, for creating such a robust and effective sustainability program for the UC system and UCOP.

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