Press Releases

First Annual Challenge Creates Opportunity for a Greener Houston

September 16, 2010 -- The City of Houston, in partnership with ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, is launching the City’s first annual Green Office Challenge. The City of Houston will provide training and resources to help office building owners, property managers, management districts and tenants reduce energy consumption, waste generation and water use.

“The Houston Green Office Challenge is an unprecedented opportunity to bring citizens into the city-wide sustainability strategy – to make Houston a greener, cleaner and healthier place for ourselves and the future Houstonians who will inherit our great city,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “The City of Houston is eighth in the country for the number of LEED certified buildings and sixth in the country for the number of Energy Star buildings.  We want to be #1 in both.  The Green Office Challenge will help us get there.”

To significantly reduce Houston’s greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria air pollutant emissions, the City is creating realistic strategies and programs, particularly in the building and transportation sectors (which combined contribute over 85 percent of the City’s GHG emissions).

“It 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.

The Houston Green Office Challenge is not only about saving money and improving the environment, it’s also important for human health and well-being. “Green buildings typically have superior ventilation, better indoor air quality and increased occupant comfort and control,” said Spanjian.

The Houston-wide challenge will bring local, state and national sustainability experts together with businesses and properties to learn and engage in both introductory and high performance green building practices through free workshops and training. “As an international nonprofit association of local governments committed to sustainability, we recognize that this initiative will establish lasting partnerships in the community and create significant environmental and economic benefits for the City and its residents,” said Patrice “Pete” Parsons, Regional Director of ICLEI.

To date, six management districts have signed on for the challenge: Downtown, Greenspoint, Upper Kirby/Greenway, the Energy Corridor, Westchase and Uptown (Galleria).  Participants’ milestones and successes will be measured throughout the year of the challenge culminating in recognition and awards for progresses made.  The Challenge invites commercial office owners/managers and tenants in Houston’s business districts 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 First Annual Houston Green Office Challenge is sponsored by Centerpoint Energy, Choice Energy Services, Greenstar North America, Hines, Shell, Siemens, Calpine, Crescent, NRG EV Services, Waste Management, Xerox, METRO and HOK Houston.

The Houston Green Office Challenge officially begins October 15th—online registration begins September 16th. Over the course of one year, the Houston Green Office Challenge team will provide training opportunities and other resources to assist participants in reaching their goals. The results will be announced during an awards ceremony in October, 2011. For more information and to register, please visit or