Thursday, July 19, 2012

Technology Alert: New App for the Green Business Challenge - by Lauren Campbell

ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability USA just released the Green Business Challenge App, a customizable web application that allows any city, town, or county to launch competitions among the business or academic community. The goal of this web application is to help save money, energy, water, and waste and increase environmental awareness. The Green Business Challenge proved cost-effective and was co-developed by ICLEI and the City of Chicago. It has been shown to not only to help businesses improve environmental performance, but also helps local communities and governments meet their energy and sustainability goals.
Almost a dozen cities and counties have launched Green Business Challenge programs, including Chicago, Houston, and the Port of San Diego.

The fun and friendly competition, in addition to the recognition that follows such amazing accomplishments, has really helped motivate local businesses get involved in the challenge. In 2011, the Chicago Green Office Challenge saved a collective $17.5 million in energy costs, reduced energy use by 124 million kilowatt hours, prevented 85,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from reaching the atmosphere, and diverted 43% of their waste from landfills.  The 2011 Houston Green Office Challenge saw similar results, but also added other achievements such as bicycle parking, implemented new telecommuting policies, and created office “Green Teams.”

Administrators can use the Web-App to customize their program, view participants’ progress, and see emails to maintain open communication. There is also a guidebook and toolkit to assist in the Challenge based on the previous experiences of Chicago and other communities.

The new App:

·       Allows any local government, school district, or corporation to launch a Green Business Challenge program in weeks, not months as before.
·       Allows one to start a challenge with fewer staff members and less money.
·       Allows access to the local government’s website; registration, base line measurements, tips and resources, achievement updates, and a scorecard that tracks progress are all available.
·       Offers suggestions for ways to increase scores and provides a carbon calculator.


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