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Success Stories

Cities, counties, and other local governments are achieving tremendous results for their businesses through the Green Business Challenge
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Chicago, IL

Green Office Challenge LogoIn 2011, 150 participants in the Chicago Green Office Challenge—both commercial property managers and tenant companies—saved a collective $17.5 million in energy costs, reduced energy use by 124 million kilowatt hours, kept more than 85,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and diverted 43% of their waste from landfills. The Challenge is a major strategy in helping the City reach its Chicago Climate Action Plan goals. Challenge winners are recognized annually during a high-profile awards ceremony with the mayor.

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Houston, TX

Houston Green Office Challenge logoIn 2011 the businesses participating in the Houston Green Office Challenge reduced energy use by 28 million kilowatt hours, water use by 74 million gallons, and diverted 40% of their waste from landfills, in addition to many other achievements like adding bicycle parking, implementing flex time and telecommuting policies, and creating office Green Teams. Houston's program is the nation's largest, and a key part of the City's strategy to improve the environmental and economic performance of its commercial buildings.

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Port of San Diego, CA

The Unified Port of San Diego's voluntary Green Business Network Program is the first of its kind on the West Coast. In 2011, 49 participating Port tenants saved $156,000 on energy and natural gas costs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 843 metric tons, implemented 377 new green strategies, and created an active peer network for businesses to come together regularly and share their ideas and challenges. A key to success has been making green initiatives easy for staff- and resource-constrained businesses.

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Charleston, SC

Charleston Green Business Challenge logoOver a one-year period, 80 diverse businesses in Charleston—from restaurants to hotels to manufacturing facilities—launched more than 450 new green initiatives. Eleven participants alone saved $6,000 each by reducing their energy, water, and waste costs. The Charleston Green Business Challenge is focused on “Sensible Solutions for your Business and our Community," which includes strategies unique to their community goals by including historic preservation, water, and community stewardship.

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Arlington County, VA

Arlington Green Games LogoCommercial buildings and offices in the Arlington Green Games "compete for business gold" 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 $2 million 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. Now the County is expanding its program to include retail businesses and restaurants.

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Bellevue, WA

Bellevue Eastside Green Business Challenge LogoIn November 2011, the Eastside Green Business Challenge was launched at a successful kickoff event that featured Hunter Lovins, author and renowned leader in the field of sustainable business practices. The Challenge is a friendly competition among local organizations and seven eastside cities that helps participants reduce the natural resources they consume and thereby lower costs, enhance their brand, and improve the environment.

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Austin, TX

The Austin Green Business Leaders program supports local businesses and their pursuit of sustainability. Businesses that sign up help protect the environment, save money, and make Austin a more livable place. Green business is good business, especially in Austin. In June 2012, 31 local businesses were honored by the City of Austin during a City Council meeting for their achievements in Austin Green Business Leaders.

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Chula Vista, CA

The City of Chula Vista is recruiting local businesses to participate in its year-long Green Business Challenge initiative to improve their sustainability and bottom line. Through a friendly competition, businesses will receive free technical assistance and resources to help them achieve their "green" goals and will be able to highlight their accomplishments to customers, fellow businesses, and community leaders. Participating businesses will also be recognized through the City’s ongoing CLEAN Business Program, which provides free marketing and advertizing such as community signage, direct mailers, newspaper articles, and City Council certificates.

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Triangle J Council of Governments, NC

Triangle J Council of Governments – a nonprofit government agency made of seven North Carolina counties (Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange and Wake) – was chosen by ICLEI as one of four pilot communities to expand the Green Business Challenge in 2011. Triangle J received support from ICLEI and Office Depot to help launch its program. The Triangle Green Business Challenge, underway in 2012, helps area businesses improve the efficiency and sustainability of their day-to-day operations.

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Westchester County, NY

Westchester Green Business ChallengeThe Westchester Green Business Challenge is a friendly competition open to all 35,000 businesses in Westchester County, New York. Developed by Westchester County in partnership with The Business Council of Westchester, the WGBC is designed to help companies move down the path toward environmental sustainability while improving performance and saving money. Participating businesses evaluate the “greenness” of their operations using the County's innovative Green Business Scorecard, developed in partnership with ICLEI and the Chicago Green Office Challenge. To date, the Challenge has registered over 200 companies.

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Decorah, IA

Decorah, IA's Winneshiek Energy District Green Business Challenge is bringing energy efficiency achievements to a rural community of 8,000 (and 20,00 across the county). Since July 1, 2011, more than 55 businesses enrolled in the program, all of whom tracked their energy data in ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager.  At the mid-point of the six-month Green Business Challenge, three businesses were awarded in-depth electrical energy audits from local energy consultant At the end of the Challenge a Green Business Bash celebrated the accomplishments of the businesses, and offered an opportunity for press coverage of the green businesses.

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