Does your business measure up? Find out with Green Business challenge

Being sustainable at home? Piece of cake. Being sustainable at work? A little tougher.

When your coworkers are all using energy, running water, printing documents, commuting to work and using (or not using) the recycling bins, it’s easy for your workplace’s environmental footprint to get big in a hurry. That’s where the LiveGreenLexington Green Business Challenge comes in: it’s designed to help Lexington’s business community be a sustainable one.

Since 2011, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and Bluegrass Greensource have teamed up to host an annual, friendly competition for Lexington businesses, formerly known as the LiveGreenLexington Games. This year, Lexington has the distinction of being one of only four cities nationwide to receive grant funding from the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives to expand and improve that competition.
And expand and improve it we have.

The challenge is designed to engage participants from start to finish, keeping them actively improving their energy and water efficiency and reducing their waste production throughout the nine-month competition. Participants complete activities to earn points and move up the leader board.

With more than 100 activities to choose from, from “Form a green team” to “Earn LEED certification for your facility,” there are opportunities for any organization of any size to compete. We know sustainability for sustainability’s sake isn’t every company’s cup of tea; but even if going green isn’t a top priority in your workplace, the challenge is still a great opportunity to save some green – those shrinking utility bills look pretty good from where we’re standing.

Challenge participants don’t have to walk the road to sustainability alone. With the support of partner organizations Green Per Square Foot, Office Depot, and Graybar, the 2015 challenge offers more trainings, workshops, and services than ever before. The challenge is all online and powered by Green Per Square Foot, which also helps businesses track their energy consumption, bid out facility improvement projects, and find financial incentives. Energy and lighting assessments, waste audits, and much more will be available free of charge during the challenge period. Additionally, nearly all activities come with a host of resources to help participants achieve their goals.

Want to take the challenge? Here’s what you need to know:

‣ Any Lexington business or organization can compete – not just LiveGreenLexington Partners, as in the past (although we hope you’ll become a partner if you decide to compete).
‣ It’s free! Just go to to sign up and get started.
‣ Registration is open now. Sign up before Oct. 1 and start off the challenge with 50 bonus points for being an early-bird.
‣ Competition runs from Oct. 1 through June 30, 2014, with an awards ceremony in July 2015.
‣ The challenge is whatever you want it to be: you choose which activities to pursue, you work on your own timeline, you tailor it to fit your business and your needs.

Whether you’re ready to drop everything and sign up now, or you want to find out a little bit more about the challenge, join us on Oct. 2 from 5-7 p.m. at the Carnegie Center in downtown Lexington and represent your workplace at the official 2015 Green Business Challenge launch. We’ll be kicking off the challenge in style – and there will be plenty of time to network and share ideas with your peers. It’s a friendly competition, after all.

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Beth Oleson is an outreach specialist for Bluegrass Greensource, working primarily with Lexington businesses to help build a more sustainable community. A Lexington native, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marine science and environmental studies from the University of South Carolina before returning home to the Bluegrass to pursue non-profit work. When she’s not busy with Greensource, Beth’s other passion is animal rescue and welfare.

This article appeared in KY Forward on August 21, 2014.

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