Location: Texas, US
Population: 2.31 million (2019)
Climate: Humid subtropical climate, with tropical influences
Duration: 2010 – 2014
Funding sources: Public-private
City networks: N/A
Savings: Reductions in energy consumption by 28 million kilowatt-hours; Reductions in water consumption by 280 million litres; 90% of participating tenants recycled in the office, achieving a 40% diversion from the landfill.
Solutions: using a challenging program to motivate commercial and public property owners, managers, and tenants to participate in the efficiency retrofit and behaviour change toward energy-saving, water-saving, and waste reduction.
Multiple benefits: water saving, waste reduction, behaviour change and sustainable lifestyle among tenants, and improved capacity for green buildings.
Objective – engage the private sector to reduce energy and water usage and increase waste diversion by fostering leadership from commercial building managers and office tenants regarding environmental performance and sustainability.
Solutions – The Houston Green Office Challenge (HGOC) is an annual, voluntary challenge initiated in the Autumn of 2010, officially beginning in January 2011. It consisted of a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability in Houston, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and the Clinton Climate Initiative.
This initiative seeks to engage commercial property managers, building owners and office tenants in a friendly, voluntary competition that guides participants towards sustainability and greener building management whilst recognising outstanding achievement. The areas targeted by the programme are: energy and water consumption, waste outputs, transportation, building management/tenant engagement and employee outreach. At present, the programme has mobilised 375 buildings and tenants—representative of approximately 6.97 million m2—who disclose data and information to the City of Houston for appraisal. At the end of the first year, high achievements were acknowledged through awards, attracting high levels of press and media attention and official mayoral recognition.
This programme welcomes participation from both tenants and property managers/building owners, with differing tools and evaluation schemes employed for each. It equally focuses on physical building performance and behavioural changes, as much as it is on workplace policies pertaining to employee work and lifestyles. Another key element of HGOC is a series of educational opportunities from the City to guide participants to improving their environmental performance in the above areas. Outstanding performance in the programme is recognised through an awards ceremony hosted by the Mayor and the City of Houston, in conjunction with coverage from the media.
Funding – US$ 210,000 from 12 companies and in-kind sponsorship amounting to approximately US $35,000 from three others; a US $20,000 award from ICLEI USA and Office Depot.
Innovation – Using challenge and awards, especially publicity, to motivate participation and energy efficiency actions; targeting energy efficiency improvement, water-saving, and waste reduction.
Success factors – 1) Effective Stakeholder engagement. The City demonstrated a strong willingness to listen to those segments of the building sector it wished to target, incorporate their concerns and desires, and ensure a large degree of flexibility for the programme’s design. 2) Engagement of tenants in addition to building owners and managers; 3) Holistic focus on sustainability as opposed to energy efficiency per se; 4) Targeting diverse building types and expertise levels.
For the first Challenge year, the programme has mobilised a total of 375 participants, which together account for approximately 6.97 million m2 of building flooring space. As for sustainability impacts, City officials have reported the following:
- Reductions in energy consumption by 28 million kWh;
- Reductions in water consumption by 280 million litres.
- 90% of participating tenants recycled in the office, achieving a 40% diversion from the landfill.
- In addition, during the same period, well in excess of half the participants adopted various sustainability measures such as flextime and telecommuting policies, bicycle parking and policies to reduce paper consumption [source].
Synergies with local policies:
- Other public and private efforts to increase LEED-certified existing buildings in Huston during the period.
- Well more than half the participants adopted various sustainability measures such as flextime and telecommuting policies, bicycle parking and policies to reduce paper consumption [source]
- LEED and ENERGY STAR certified buildings are aligned with the national policy of building energy efficiency improvement.
- LEED and ENERGY STAR are widely known energy efficiency certification schemes, and integrating these standards make it easier to get public recognition and public policy support.
- The program consisted of a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability in Houston, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and the Clinton Climate Initiative.
High. The project mainly relies on funding from each participating property owner, and the financial burden on municipal governments is low. There are many national, and international building energy efficiency certification systems and many cities can design and implement similar projects.Link to resource
Country / Region: United StatesTags: building types, corporate reporting, energy efficiency, partnerships, private sector, projects, stakeholders, sustainability, targets, water resources
In 1 user collection: Good practices of cities
Knowledge Object: User generated Initiative
Published by: Tokyo Metropolitan Government and C40