ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA has opened up its Green Business Challenge App – a customizable web application that encourages businesses and commercial property owners to save energy, water and waste through a year-long competition – to all local governments, schools and corporations.
The Green Business Challenge, developed by the ICLEI and the city of Chicago, can be customized to create competitions between schools within a district, businesses within a neighborhood or campuses in a large corporation.
The app allows participants to register, take a baseline survey, browse a library of tips and resources, update their achievements and view a scorecard that tracks their progress, the ICLEI said. The app also provides a contacts database and engagement tool, which allows participants to send mass emails.
A manual provides a step-by-step guide on how to launch a program and includes lessons from seven local governments that have already participated in the Green Business Challenge. The manual includes pre-planning information as well as tips on how to gain support from stakeholders and elected officials, develop program resources and market effectively.
Municipal participants in the Green Business Challenge also get a resource kit, which includes dozens of administrative tools and sample materials from local governments around the country that customized their own programs. The resource guide includes case studies, marketing materials, presentations and training information.
Nearly a dozen cities and counties have already launched Green Business Challenge programs. They include Chicago, Houston, Port of San Diego, Arlington County, Virginia and Charleston, South Carolina.
In 2011, participants in Chicago’s Green Office Challenge, a related program aimed at reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from commercial buildings, saved $17.5 million in energy costs and reduced energy use by 124 million kWh. The efforts avoided more than 85,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide and diverted 43 percent of participants’ waste from landfills.
Houston’s Green Office Challenge participants in 2011 reduced energy use by 28 million kWh, water use by 74 million gallons and diverted 40 percent of their waste from landfills.