Office of Energy and Sustainability

Frequently Asked Questions

How does my office certify?

An office becomes GOPro-certified by completing a Google Sheet containing yes or no questions about eco-friendly commitments in the office. For every commitment that the office already meets, answer “yes” by putting a 1 in the appropriate column. The sum of all the commitments will give the office an initial ranking, from which they can re-certify to any tier they want in the future. An office liaison will complete this form on behalf of their office and report the results to the Oberlin OES staff.

What's the deal with the summit?

The annual summit is envisioned as a time where all faculty and staff are welcomed can join together to talk about and celebrate sustainability at Oberlin.

What is required to certify?

For each of the four tiers (bronze, silver, gold, and green) there is a minimum number of commitments needed to certify at that level. For bronze and silver, any of the criteria listed on the Google Sheet may be applied to this total, while gold and green have required commitments necessary for achieving that tier (signified by * and ** respectively on the Google Sheet). The initial evaluation will tell the office their starting tier, but they may recertify whenever they want if they have met more commitments.

How long does it take to get certified?

Because certification is self-reporting, an office may take as much or as little time as they want to apply for certification. Once the office applies, OES staff will review the application and respond within two weeks. The office will receive their award and be listed publicly on OES websites. It is important to note that participating offices may be subject to walkthroughs by the OES staff at any time, and there will be definite follow-up evaluations by the OES staff six months, and then a year after certification. The OES staff will ask the office after two years if they would like to recertify, but they are not required to do so.

Who can I contact if I have questions or need assistance?

Please contact our office if you have questions or need assistance. We would be happy to help.

Can you tell me more about recycling in my office?

Certainly! Oberlin College recycles plastics #1-7, metal/aluminum, glass, paper, and cartons and jugs. You can place all of these recyclables together in your blue recycling bin with a blue bag. Some offices have separate paper-only recycling bins to collect paper; the College gets more money from paper-only recycling so please separate it out if bins exist in your office.

What resources are available to help certify my office?

The Green Office Application Google Doc, the Green Office Guide, and the Green Office certification spreadsheet are all downloadable here. As an institutional member of AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education), anyone with an Oberlin College email address ( can access the AASHE Resource Database. This rich resource bank includes case studies, lists, weekly bulletins, and much more. See more at

I'm from another school interested in Green Office Programs. Could I see your certification criteria list?

View our certification criteria