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Chicago’s Green Office Challenge Expands to Nashville, San Diego, Others

GreenOfficeChallengeThe Green Office Challenge, a program created by the city of Chicago and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA as one strategy to help the city reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020, is being adopted by four local governments in Charleston, SC; Nashville, TN; San Diego/Port of San Diego, CA and Arlington County, VA.

ICLEI says the purpose of the program is to engage property managers and office tenants in a friendly competition to reduce costs, energy use, water and waste in their buildings, as well as meet other environmental goals.

Based on work with these four pilot communities, ICLEI is developing a program that will be replicable for local governments across the country. These cities were chosen because they already have demonstrated to be leaders in local climate, energy and sustainability issues.

Chicago has been on an environmental quest for several years. For example, in 2006, the city rolled out its first solar-powered bus shelter and a 550-foot sidewalk made of recycled rubber. Most recently, the city teamed up with RecycleBank to boost the city’s recycle rate.

The four pilot communities will launch the Green Office Challenge to their business communities in fall 2010. ICLEI says each local government has received strong support from local businesses, and other organizations including chambers of commerce, trade associations, local environmental committees, and utility companies that will help develop and promote the programs.

To help other local governments that are looking to launch their own green challenge programs, ICLEI also 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. ICLEI says Westchester County, NY, and St. Louis, MO, have already launched their programs.

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