Lexington launches Green Check Program and recognizes inaugural businesses

From the City of Lexington

Last Thursday, September 29th, the City of Lexington launched the new sustainable business certification program Green Check. Green Check recognizes businesses for their green initiatives and helps them expand their sustainability efforts. Six businesses were recognized for their role in piloting the program: Bullhorn Creative, Good Foods Coop, Habitat for Humanity, Lexmark, RossTarrant Architects and Trane.

Pictured: Back Row, Left to Right: Bridget Abernathy, Bluegrass Greensource Outreach Specialist, Sheryl Gray, Good Foods Co-Op, Dowell Hoskins-Squire, Commissioner of Environmental Quality and Public Works, Vice Mayor Steve Kay, Brad Flowers, Bullhorn Creative, Brian Buckner, Ross Tarrant Architects. Front Row, Left to Right: John Gagel, Lexmark, Rachel Childress, Habitat for Humanity, Suzette Exum, Trane, Amy Sohner, Bluegrass Greensource Executive Director, Rob Gates, Bluegrass Greensource Outreach Specialist.

“We are excited to see such diversity represented in this inaugural class of Green Check Members,” says Dowell Hoskins-Squier, Lexington’s Environmental Quality and Public Works Commissioner.  “The certification process is rigorous, but flexible, to ensure that any business who wants to make a greater commitment to sustainability can participate. We can’t wait to see Green Check Member stickers in business windows throughout Fayette County.”

Becoming a Green Check Member business begins with a personal consultation and completion of the Green Check Sustainability Scorecard. The Sustainability Scorecard caters to organizations across a variety of sectors, including restaurants, non-profit organizations, retail, and manufacturers.

Based on their baseline Sustainability Score, the business or organization is awarded Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Member designation. Although the certification is valid for three years, member organizations are encouraged to pursue higher tiers through continued participation and achievement.

The six inaugural Green Check Member businesses all demonstrate a commitment to increased sustainability within their facilities and operations. Examples initiatives from the pilot businesses include parking lot renovations with permeable pavers, installation of rain gardens, upgrades to energy efficient lighting, office compost programs and promotion of alternative transportation. RossTarrant Architects, host site of the Green Check launch, renovated their office space to earn LEED Gold and ENERGY STAR certifications. Beyond these high-impact features, there are lots of actions individual team members can take to improve sustainability in the workplace.

“You have to start somewhere. The Green Check certification process, using the Sustainability Scorecard, establishes a baseline,” says Brian Buckner, Project Manager at RossTarrant. “Our renovations made energy saving a priority, but there is always something more we can do. For example, we drink a lot of coffee in our office and realized the hot water element was keeping the water hot all of the time, and wasting a lot of energy. By placing it on a timer, we calculated that we can save almost $1,000 every year just by making this small change. We’re also looking into composting at the office again. Every energy-saving change has economic and environmental benefits.”

Green Check is a program of the City of Lexington, managed by Bluegrass Greensource. For more information, including how to become Green Check Certified, please visit www.LexingtonKy.gov/GreenCheck.