Tips for Metro Nashville Employees


Ways to Save Energy


Turn off the lights

  • If you work in a building that has an automated lighting system (such as LEED® building), then the office, corridor and common area lights will turn off if the space is unoccupied after a specified amount of time.  

  • If your building doesn’t have automated lighting, remember to turn off the lights when you leave a room.

  • If you are the last in the office, turn off the lights in the corridors and common use areas.


Replace inefficient light bulbs

  • When replacing light bulbs, choose the more efficient option such as LED (light emitting diode).

  • General Services managed buildings automatically replace bulbs with more energy efficient light bulbs.


Unplug unused electronics

  • Unplug your electronics like smartphones and laptops once they are charged.

  • Unplug your adapters too; adapters that are plugged into outlets use energy even if they are not charging.


Go to “Sleep” mode and turn off your screen

  • If you work at a computer and it’s time to head out to a meeting, place your computer in "sleep" mode or "shut down" if leaving for several hours.

  • When you leave work for the day, ITS encourages you to place your computer in “sleep” mode instead of “shut down” because on occasion ITS activates software updates overnight. Exception: over the weekend, go ahead and "shut down" to save more energy. If updates have been made over the weekend, they will automatically take effect when you turn your computer on Monday morning. 
  • You can also turn off your monitor screen and select the “Power Saver” option by selecting the Control Panel, then Hardware and Sound, then Power Options. (in Windows)


Just Say No to Small Appliances

  • Small appliances such as space heaters, mini-fridges, or personal desktop printers use up unnecessary energy.

  • General Services’ Small Appliances Policy requests that employees refrain from bringing these types of items to the office. Small appliances can also be a fire hazard.


If you are uncomfortable with the temperature, speak up & leave it to the pros

  • If it’s too hot or too cold in your office, contact your designated facility person.

  • They will contact maintenance and address the issue as soon as possible.

  • To keep building occupants comfortable, General Services sets the temperature of buildings at a range between 68-72 degrees.

  • Unless your designated facility person confirms that someone else hasn’t already filled out a temperature complaint in a work order, there is no need for you to do so.  

  • Please refrain from taking matters into your own hands, as this can have unintended consequences. For example, if you cover up air vents with any materials such as cardboard, it could cause issues with the HVAC system.

  • Please refrain from bringing in a personal space heater to the office.



Ways to Reduce Waste


Bring reusable dishware to work

  • If your office has access to a sink or dishwasher, bring reusable dishware to work instead of using single-serve throwaway dishware.

  • If you are reusing mugs, make sure your team is educated about not leaving their dishes in the sink for someone else to clean.

  • It’s better for the environment to use the water to clean those dishes rather than creating waste such as discarding a paper plate or cup.

  • Bring your own reusable water bottle to work instead of buying plastic water bottles.


Only print what you need

  • Not only can you save paper by only printing what you need, but you can also share printed copies at meetings instead of printing out one for each person.

  • Set your printer default to double-sided and black and white to reduce your paper waste and save ink.  

  • Draft printed-on paper into smaller pieces and reuse for short notes and scrap paper.

  • If your team has a meeting and you are in charge of the agenda, place it up on the screen instead of printing everyone copies.


Ask for recycled content printing options

  • Every Metro Department is responsible for purchasing its own printing paper.

  • Order paper made from post-consumer recycled material rather than paper made from virgin wood fiber.

  • For your next big printing project, ask General Services’ Print & Copy Service Center about their 30% post-consumer recycled content paper option for your order.


Request an ink cartridge and toner recycling bin

  • The General Services’ Printing Services division will provide your office with a bin for used ink cartridges & toners.

  • All you have to do is request one and they will drop it off and pick it up when it’s full. Contact Printing Services or to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will help you order one.

  • Ink cartridges are made of plastic, precious metals, aluminum and ferrous metals. The printer ink and toner that are widely used in cartridges are classified as hazardous materials.

  • These materials, when placed in the landfill, can take hundreds of years to decompose and in the meantime have the potential to negatively impact our waterways, soil and human health.


Host low-waste office events and meetings

  • Choose locally grown or locally produced food or select a local caterer who uses local products, and use reusable or sustainable dishware.

  • When planning a work meeting with food, order food from a local caterer, especially one that uses local, sustainably-grown ingredients is healthier for the environment.

  • This supports local businesses and decreases the miles that food has to travel to get to you. Reducing food miles reduces greenhouse emissions.

  • If you can, avoid using non-recyclable single-use beverage containers and dishware – or stuff that you will only use one time and throw in the trash.

  • Opting for reusable plates, cups and dishware is the best choice.

  • Second to that is to look for the “compostable,” “biodegradable” or “recyclable” label on dishware when you’re making a purchase at the store.


Reuse envelopes & file folders

  • Save money and paper by reusing envelopes. All you have to is place a blank label over the old address and stamp.

  • Reuse old file folders by crossing out the old title and writing a new one.


Send reusable surplus office items and equipment to eBid

  • If you have reusable surplus items at work that you no longer need but are still in good condition, then take  them to eBid!

  • You can inform your supervisor or go to Inside Metro General Services webpage (, then visit the eBid section where you will find the appropriate forms to complete.

  • Don’t assume automatically that eBid won’t take your item because they take most items. If you are unsure if eBid will take an item(s), contact them and ask.



How to Recycle in General Services Buildings


Request a blue desk-side recycling bin

  • Occupants of buildings managed by General Services are able to obtain a personal small blue desk-side recycling bin if they haven’t already been provided one.

  • If you don’t have a blue bin, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Empty your personal desk-side recycling bin into your building’s large green recycling cart, grey cart or recycling station, depending on who manages recycling at your building.

  • Each building is unique in where these bins are located, so ask your supervisor and if they aren’t sure, reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


What can be recycled?

  • Metro has single stream recycling which means you can recycle paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and containers, aluminum cans and metal cans all in one container.

  • All recyclables should be clean of food scraps or liquid, which can contaminate your recycling. If you have large cardboard boxes, be sure to break them down so that the bin doesn’t quickly fill up.


What do you do with hard to recycle items?

  • Hard to recycle items include glass, batteries, electronics and hazardous materials.

  • Electronics can be taken to eBid to be put up for auction if they are in working condition.

  • Some General Services divisions have contracts with outside vendors to pick up hard to recycle items.

  • Check with your facility manager to find out if your division has a contract for pick up to recycle these items.

  • If not, you can take those items to one of Public Works’ Recycling Drop-off Sites. Public Works' website, under “neighborhood services” will show you which drop-off locations accept which items.



Ways to Save Water


Be conscious of your water use at the office

  • Many LEED® buildings incorporate low-flow toilets and automatic, timed sink dispensers.

  • But if your building doesn’t have these fixtures in the bathrooms, you can help save water by being conscious of minimizing the amount of toilet flushes and time you run the sink.

  • Report any leaks to your designated facility person before filling out a work order to ensure one hasn’t already been completed.

  • Be a team player and turn off faucets that are left on by others.


Drink Nashville’s great tap water!

  • Don’t be afraid to drink the tap water in Nashville – consumer confidence reports by Water Services show consistently that our water is clean and safe to drink.

  • Bring your water bottle to work instead of buying bottled water.

  • General Services has 12 hydration stations with pet drinking dishes at Metro locations across town. Locations include West PD, Farmers Market - south shed, Farmers Market - north shed, Fulton Campus, Public Square, Fannie Mae Dees, McCabe Park, Hermitage Library, Bellevue Library, Lentz Health Clinic, Southeast Davidson Library and Community Center, and Midtown Hills Precinct.



Ways to Prevent Pollution


Metro’s Anti-Idling Policy

  • Metro has an Anti-Idling Policy which applies to all Metro employees driving city vehicles, except in cases of emergency or if it will prevent the employee from performing their job.

  • By turning off your vehicle when you stop at your destination or are waiting in-line, you will reduce air pollution, save on fuel costs and reduce wear and tear on vehicles and equipment.

  • Even though this is a mandate for when you are driving a Metro vehicle, it’s also a good practice when driving your own car, as it cuts down on pollution and improves Nashville’s air quality.


Reduce trips

  • Combine trips and look for the most time and fuel efficient route possible.



Ways to Use Alternative Transportation


General Services gives access to electric vehicles (EV) and EV charging stations

  • If you drive an electric vehicle, General Services currently has 27 electric vehicle charging stations with 49 charging ports at 17 sites.

  • See a map of Nashville's EV charging stations here.


Drive a hybrid, EV or carpool with coworkers

  • General Services offers employees designated parking spots for carpooling or driving alternative fuel vehicles.

  • Some General Services locations like Fulton Campus’ parking garage have designated, convenient parking spots for employees who drive an electric vehicle, hybrid or who carpool to work.

  • Some General Services locations like Fulton Campus, Parks HQ, and Public Works HQ have Nissan LEAF 100% electric vehicles available to qualified employees as pool shared vehicles. These vehicles can be used for Metro business during business hours. Here is a video on how to use these shared vehicles.
  • Carpooling to work with your co-workers saves you gas and helps the environment. You could even start a carpooling network in your office to get more people involved.

  • Metro also offers a Green Parking Permit providing free metered parking for vehicle owners that purchase carbon offsets.


Full-time General Services employees qualify for a FREE MTA EasyRide pass!

  • Public transportation takes cars off the road and prevents pollution. Just contact your department’s EasyRide coordinator (typically HR) to sign up and get your EasyRide pass.

  • MTA also makes it easy to ride with real-time information on bus arrivals through or the Music City Transit Tracker app.

  • MTA will also provide a route coordinator to actively ride with you and show you how to use MTA for your commute.


Bike to work!

  • General Services has bike parking located at several buildings for employees to use. B-Cycle, a bike-share program, has stations with bikes for rent all over town!



A Healthy Work Environment


Walk to work or during your lunch break

  • You and your co-workers can start work walking club. Check out this step-by-step guide for how to start a walking club at your office.


Take the stairs instead of the elevator

  • This is one simple way to build in a little bit of exercise to your work day.


Choose healthy, nutritious food options

  • When cooking for the work week or deciding where to go out to lunch, remember to choose healthy options.

  • Eating healthy, nutritious food helps to improve your mental focus and productivity at the office and cuts down on sick days.

  • Also remember to choose healthy food options that are served in low-waste containers for office catered lunches and events.


General Services has a Green Housekeeping Policy to make your office healthier and environmentally friendly

  • The Green Housekeeping Policy assures that offices are cleaned with non-toxic cleaning products that are better for the environment.

  • The policy also includes the use of paper products made of pre-consumer recycled materials (i.e., paper towels, toilet paper), and the use of environmentally-friendly foaming soap (which uses less product).


Download the NashVitality app or visit

  • The NashVitality mobile app is a free, easy-to-use tool to learn about all the places to be healthy and active in Nashville. It also includes information on  recycling centers and other green resources.

  • NashVitality’s website offers many great resources for building a healthier work environment, including tips on smoking cessation, eating healthy and incorporating physical activity into your day. Other Nashvitality resources include:


LEED® buildings support health!

  • Department of General Services maintains 20 LEED® Silver or higher buildings. See a map here.
  • Working in a LEED® facility means improved indoor air quality because of the use of low VOC (volatile organic compound) building materials.

  • It also means improved outdoor air quality because smoking is prohibited within 25 feet of the building.

  • LEED® buildings are also designed intentionally for increased physical activity and proximity to public/active transport. Learn more about LEED® at



Ways to Get Engaged


Teach the children in your life about sustainability!


Start a “sustainability team” in your office

  • An office sustainability team is comprised of employees who are most passionate about initiating and/ or maintaining a sustainable office environment and culture of sustainability.

  • If you interested, we can provide instructions on what steps to take to start a sustainability team in your office or department! Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Use your Metro volunteer hours or volunteer in your community!