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Houston Mayor Parker Announces Green Office Challenge Winners

by City of Houston Apr 25, 2012

City of Houston Creates Largest Challenge in U.S.

Houston green office challenge awards 2012 1 (credit: Richard J. Carson)

Mayor Annise Parker (right) congratulates members of Smith and Associates Green
Team, which took home the Overall Winner honors for "Greatest Implementation of
Green Building Innovations." Photo credit: Richard J. Carson


The City of Houston, in partnership with ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, the Clinton Climate Initiative and over 25 Houston nonprofits, announced the winners of the City’s first annual Green Office Challenge on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. The Houston Green Office Challenge officially began January 1, 2011 becoming the nation’s largest.

Since that time, the City of Houston has provided training opportunities and other resources, including financial incentives, to assist office building owners, property managers, management districts and tenants to increase their environmental and economic performance in the areas of energy conservation, waste reduction, water efficiency, cleaner transportation choices and property management/tenant engagement.

“The Green Office Challenge has been a success because of community commitment,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “More than 375 buildings and tenants participated representing approximately 75 million square feet.” In just the last year, with 176 buildings achieving LEED status, Houston rose from number seven to number four in the nation with the most LEED certified buildings and is quickly closing in on a top three spot. 

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Arlington County Businesses Save $2 Million With Green Games

by Arlington County Mar 26, 2012

Arlington county green games 2012

On Thursday, March 22, 2012, Arlington celebrated the accomplishments of its Inaugural Green Games competition for the commercial office sector.  More than 100 buildings and offices, representing roughly 15 million square feet – or one third – of Arlington’s office space competed for one year in a race to reduce waste, energy and water use, and set other environmental goals.

By deploying energy-efficient, no- to low-cost, and sustainable practices, Green Games participants realized a collective savings of $2M and prevented the release of 10,000 tons of CO2, or the equivalent of taking 1,996 passenger vehicles off the road for one year. Companies that showed the greatest achievements across areas such as energy and water use, waste diversion and transportation choices over the year were honored by Arlington County during the ceremony.

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Green Business Challenge Goes Rural in Decorah, Iowa

by Carolyn Corbin and David Paquette, Winneshiek Energy District Jan 09, 2012

Decorah green business challenge 1

More than 50 businesses participated in the Green Business Challenge.  At a minimum each business tracked it's energy use with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.  Many businesses made major improvements to their buildings and operations.

Communities around the country have found value in ICLEI's Green Business Challenge model.  From increasing energy efficiency to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or engaging businesses to implement sustainable actions, the Green Business Challenge program is easily adaptable for any community.

Decorah, Iowa’s Winneshiek Energy District Green Business Challenge is an excellent example of a successful program in a rural community. The District aims to make energy transitioning happen quickly in order to reduce greenhouse gases, improve local economies and create sustainable energy societies. Decorah has 8,000 people and the county has almost 20,000 people.

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Boulder County's PACE Program Spurs Economic Growth, Saves Energy

by Adrienne DeAngelo May 05, 2011

Boulder ClimateSmart Loan Program Logo

A new case study from the Department of Energy's Solar America Communities shows that property-assessed clean energy (PACE) programs like Boulder County's ClimateSmart Loan Program (CSLP) can have impressive economic impacts at the state and local levels.

PACE Case Study Economic Impact CoverThe study, titled "Economic Impacts from the Boulder County, Colorado, ClimateSmart Loan Program: Using Property-Assessed Clean Energy Financing," examines the economic effects of PACE for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at the local level, including job growth, economic activity, and energy savings.

The study focused on the economic impacts from the ClimateSmart PACE program developed by Boulder County for residential and commercial installations. The report provides an economic-impact analysis of program spending and energy savings using an input-output model.

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Delray Beach Saves Money With Smart Energy Efficiency Projects

by Eli Yewdall, Regional Officer Mar 29, 2011

Pompey Park

Credit: City of Delray Beach website

With a difficult economy and tight budgets, local governments are having to find ways to do more with less, and sustainability staff in particular find it necessary to come up with innovative approaches to get projects done. I recently talked to one city that has done a lot with a little: Delray Beach, FL.

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Houston’s Green Office Challenge Reaches 300 Participants

by Katelyn Orenchuk Mar 28, 2011

Houston Office Challenge Banner

When the City of Houston’s Director of Sustainability, Laura Spanjian, challenged the City to make its workplaces greener, Houston-area businesses answered the call in droves. To date, the Green Office Challenge has attracted 300 participants, and is still growing!

Participants were challenged to implement lasting changes in their offices in order to make a positive impact on the environment and the City.

Recently, the City added a new incentive to the Challenge: the Energy Efficiency Incentive Program (EEIP), an optional grant program to help offset the costs of energy-saving retrofits or changes in operating methods. The EEIP will help participants who want to push beyond the goals of the Challenge toward even greater energy savings.

ICLEI is thrilled to see Houston find success with the program we helped them launch, and co-created with the City of Chicago. Learn more about starting a Green Business Challenge in your community.

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ICLEI Member Cities Top Energy Star List

by Adrienne DeAngelo Mar 14, 2011

Skyline of Washington, DC Credit: Ad Meskens

Skyline of Washington, D.C. seen from the National Cathedral. Source: Ad Meskens

Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and San Francisco top the EPA's list of cities with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings in 2010. Detroit and Sacramento are new to the top ten while New York City climbed five spots to claim fifth in the rankings.

Congratulations to our ICLEI member cities, who comprise 22 of the 25 cities on the list!

In 2010 more than 6,200 commercial buildings earned the Energy Star, an increase of nearly 60 peENERGY STAR logorcent over the previous year.

According to the EPA, the growth in Energy Star certified buildings across the country has prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the emissions from the energy use of nearly 1.3 million homes a year, protecting people’s health, while saving more than $1.9 billion.

To qualify for the ENERGY STAR, a building or manufacturing plant must earn a 75 or higher on EPA's 1-100 energy performance scale, indicating that the facility performs better than at least 75% of similar buildings nationwide. The ENERGY STAR energy performance scale accounts for differences in operating conditions, regional weather data, and other important considerations. Eligible buildings include offices, hospitals, court houses, retailers, hotels, schools and supermarkets.

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How Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and Palo Alto Maximize Energy Savings

by Don Knapp and Katherine Brittain Feb 28, 2011

Philadelphia at night (credit: yapsnaps via flickr)

Philadelphia's City Hall at night. Credit: Yapsnaps via Flickr

AltaTerra case study green savingsThree forward-thinking cities are set to save an eye-popping amount of energy and money in 2011, while slashing greenhouse gas emissions. What puts Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and Palo Alta, CA, ahead of many other local governments? Their sophisticated use of new energy and emissions management tools.

A new case study, "Cities Govern for Green Savings," written by AltaTerra Research, details how each city has used Hara™ Environmental and Energy Management (EEM) to enable energy and resource savings with targeted cost savings ranging from $500,000 to more than $10,000,000 per year.

View It Now green large icon

These days most ICLEI member local governments recognize that cost savings are a major motivator for reducing energy use and GHG emissions. And everybody knows that you can't manage what you can't measure. But taking energy and financial savings to the next level requires sophisticated tools.

According to the case study, more advanced jurisdictions "working to operationalize their sustainability goals typically reach a point where they find a clear need for a straightforward, multiuser, enterprise-level system to capture, organize, manage, and report resource use and GHG emissions. Such a system also helps in the important tasks of identifying strategic reduction initiatives and tracking implementation progress."

Check out this report to learn more about how cities like Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and Palo Alto are empowering both resource and financial efficiency, specifically:

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Greenfield, MA, Surpasses Goal to Help Residents Slash Energy Use and Save Money

by Adrienne DeAngelo Feb 10, 2011

Greening Greenfield

Greening Greenfield Energy Committee members with their "Leading By Example"
award from the MA Dept of Energy Resources (Reposted from Facebook)


The Achievements

Greening Greenfield -- a citizen group working with the town government to develop a firm commitment to sustainable living practices – signed on more than 900 households for its 10% Challenge Campaign. The goal had been to reach 800 Greenfield, MA, households (10% of the population) by the end of 2010, and commit them to making small changes to save energy and money -- in their homes and businesses, and through transportation choices.

Results from the 2010 Greenfield Energy Use report card show the campaign and its educational efforts are working: average household energy use in Greenfield over the past four years has decreased. Energy reduction ranges from 3.1% and 12.8% between 2006 and 2010 depending on the type of fuel used.

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New Report: Smart Growth, Climate Change, and Prosperity

by Natasha Umer Jan 19, 2011

Growing Wealthier

The case for smart growth just got stronger. According to a new report from the Center for Clean Air Policy, smart growth practices leads to wide-reaching economic, health, and climate benefits for a community.

From the report summary:

In our new report, Growing Wealthier: Smart Growth, Climate Change and Prosperity, the Center for Clean Air
Policy (CCAP) considers ten commonsense principles that can help guide new development in ways that respond to emerging market demand and bolster the economy. We find that an inclusive planning process following smart growth principles that yields more walkable neighborhoods with broader options for housing and transportation can help communities, businesses and individuals make money, save money and improve quality of life.

In Growing Wealthier we provide examples and studies from around the country, as well as an annotated bibliography of evidence on smart growth, climate change, the economy, and sustainability.

small green arrow icon View the Report

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