Environmental Protection

Green Office Challenge Program Expanding

Four local governments ─ Charleston, S.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; San Diego/Port of San Diego, Calif.; and Arlington County, Va. ─ are taking on the Green Office Challenge, a program created by the City of Chicago and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA.

ICLEI selected these pilot communities to develop the Challenge, a program that engages property managers and office tenants in a friendly competition to save money and reduce energy use in their buildings, as well as reduce waste, save water, and reach other environmental goals.

Due to its success in Chicago (where it was launched in 2009), many local governments have expressed interest in the Green Office Challenge. ICLEI is working to make the program replicable for local governments across the country; a first step is to develop the program in these four pilot communities, which will receive guidance and technical support from ICLEI.

“We are delighted to expand the program beyond Chicago to help these four communities build on the impressive initiatives they already have in place to grow a green economy and promote sustainability,” said Amy Malick, program manager for ICLEI USA. “The Green Office Challenge will help them meet their existing long-term goals to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change, and at the same time empower businesses to save money and reduce energy use.

“We selected Charleston, San Diego, Nashville, and Arlington County because each local government demonstrated that they are already leaders on local climate, energy, and sustainability issues,” added Malick. “They already have the staff expertise, resources, commitment, and political will from elected officials necessary to achieve success and maintain the program over the long term.”

The four pilot communities will launch the Green Office Challenge to their business communities in fall 2010. Each local government has elicited support from local businesses; other organizations will play roles in the programs’ development and promotion, including chambers of commerce, trade associations, local environmental committees, and utility companies.

Since many other local governments seek to start their own program (Westchester County, N.Y., and the St. Louis, Mo., area have already launched theirs) ICLEI is developing an implementation guidebook and creating a Green Office Challenge network for local government staff to share ideas, questions, and challenges through monthly conference calls.

To learn more about how the Challenge works, why ICLEI and City of Chicago created it, and which business have participated in the existing Chicago program, download ICLEI’s Green Office Challenge FAQ.

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