Green Office Challenge

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City of Houston Creates Largest Challenge in U.S.

April 26, 2012 -- The City of Houston, in partnership with ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, the Clinton Climate Initiative and over 25 Houston nonprofits, announced the winners of the City’s first annual Green Office Challenge on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. The Houston Green Office Challenge officially began January 1, 2011 becoming the nation’s largest.

Since that time, the City of Houston has provided training opportunities and other resources, including financial incentives, to assist office building owners, property managers, management districts and tenants to increase their environmental and economic performance in the areas of energy conservation, waste reduction, water efficiency, cleaner transportation choices and property management/tenant engagement.

“The Green Office Challenge has been a success because of community commitment,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “More than 375 buildings and tenants participated representing approximately 75 million square feet.” In just the last year, with 176 buildings achieving LEED status, Houston rose from number seven to number four in the nation with the most LEED certified buildings and is quickly closing in on a top three spot.

Six management districts participated in the challenge: Downtown, Greenspoint, Upper Kirby/Greenway, the Energy Corridor, Westchase and Uptown (Galleria).  Participants’ milestones and successes were measured throughout the year of the challenge culminating in recognition and the following awards:

Highest Participation by District:
1st Place: Houston Downtown Management District
2nd Place: Uptown Houston
3rd Place: Greenway Plaza and Upper Kirby Management District

Most Promotion of HGOC:
1st Place: Greenspoint District

Highest Tenant Baseline Score:
1st Place: Mazzetti, Nash, Lipsey and Burch
2nd Place: Perkins & Will
3rd Place: Innate Chiropractic Healing Arts Center

Most Improved Tenant:
1st Place: Smart Office Energy Systems
2nd Place: Total Gas and Power North America
3rd Place: City of Houston Permitting Center

Highest Tenant Challenge Year Score:
1st Place: Perkins & Will
2nd Place: Central Houston
3rd Place: NRG Energy

Greatest Participation by a Manager or Owner:
1st Place: Crescent Real Estate
2nd Place: Lincoln Property Company
3rd Place: Brookfield Properties

Highest Baseline Energy Star Score:
1st Place: Mustang West, Wood Group Mustang
1st Place: 9 Greenway Plaza, Crescent Real Estate

Most Improved Building:
1st Place: 4920 Westway Park Blvd., Lincoln Property Company
1st Place: 500 Jefferson, Brookfield Properties
1st Place: 8223 Willow Place, Lincoln Property Company

Highest Challenge Year Energy Star Score:
Continental Center I, Brookfield Properties

Dedication to Sustainable Buildings Award:

Overall Winner: Greatest Implementation of Green Building Innovations:
Smith & Associates

Overall Winner: Maximum Participation as Tenant and Property Manager/Building Owner:
Wood Group Mustang

“The Green Office Challenge is part of the City’s strategy to help improve the environmental and economic performance of our commercial buildings by engaging at all levels of influence – from individual office employees to major commercial property owners and managers,” said Laura Spanjian, Mayor Parker’s Director of Sustainability.

Spanjian also noted that Green Office Challenge participants collectively:

  • reduced energy usage by 28 million kilowatt hours
  • reduced water usage by 74 million gallons
  • more than 90 percent recycled in the office, diverting 40 percent of waste from the landfill
  • more than 90 percent shared printers for employees and eliminated personal office printers
  • more than 70 percent created office Green Teams to manage environmental initiatives and educate staff
  • more than 60 percent incorporated flextime and telecommuting policies for staff
  • more than 60 percent provided bike parking
  • more than 75 percent implemented policies for circulating documents electronically instead of using paper

In conjunction with the Green Office Challenge, the City completed 17 LEED certified projects with an additional 11 projects in the works. As part of the City’s municipal energy efficiency program the Houston Parks and Recreation Department underwent energy efficiency retrofits, with guaranteed energy use reductions of 30% and a payback of less than ten years.

The City has become a community partner in the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge and has committed 30 million square feet with a 20% energy reduction goal by 2020. In January of 2012, the City of Houston adopted the Houston Residential Energy Code, which puts Houston five percent above the state code for residential energy efficiency standards. And at the end of last year, more stringent commercial energy codes were adopted, which made the local code more stringent than the state code. Most importantly, Houston received the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Award, beating out 130 other cities.

The First Annual Houston Green Office Challenge is sponsored by Centerpoint Energy, Choice Energy Services, Greenstar Recycling, Hines, Shell, Siemens, Calpine, Crescent, NRG EV Services, Technocycle, Waste Management, Xerox, Metro, Hollinden and HOK.

For more information and to register for Houston’s Green Office Challenge, please visit or

Photo 1

Mayor Annise Parker

Photo 2

Robert Tyler of Brookfield Properties, Highest Challenge Year Energy Star Score

Photo 3

Dennis Cruse of Crescent Real Estate, Tammy Hendrix of Brookfield Properties, Faith Galvan of Lincoln Property Company, Mayor Parker

Photo 4

Mayor Parker, Laura Spanjian, Frank Staats



Photo 5

Smith and Associates Green Team, Mayor Parker

Photo 6

Wood Group Mustang's Green Team, Mayor Parker