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.

1 beth

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.


Congratulations to the 2014 LiveGreenLexington Games winners

In an awards ceremony held on July 31st, the winners of the 2014 LiveGreenLexington Games were recognized by Bluegrass Greensource, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, and their peers.  Since 2011, the Games have challenged Lexington businesses to see how green they can go; our 2014 competitors did just that, and we’re excited to share some of their accomplishments with you.

3M Ceradyne - overall winner

Overall Winner: 3M Ceradyne

3M Ceradyne earned the most points across all three categories – Energy Conservation, Waste Reduction, and Water Stewardship – making them the overall winner of the 2014 Games.  Their active Green Team keeps up with sustainability initiatives indoors and out; Ceradyne maintains a robust recycling program that extends beyond regular city pick-up, composts yard waste and uses biodegradable packing materials, and takes extra steps to ensure that their facility is energy efficient year-round.  Keep up the good work!

Energy Conservation Winner: Good Foods Co-op

Good Foods takes energy efficiency seriously, and their energy team is always busy looking for new ways to conserve!  Their building and appliances are Energy Star certified, and lighting controls in the café and market help them go dark when spaces aren’t in use.  And the Good Foods staff members do their part, too; everyone works together to make sure lights are off and equipment is shut down when not in use.

Waste Reduction Winner: Dupree Catering + Events

Dupree has made waste reduction an important part of the way they do business and their dedication has really paid off.  They have reduced their landfill-bound waste stream by 85% through a combination of composting, recycling, and use of compostable flatware, and they keep those numbers up by incorporating their green initiatives into the training of every new employee.

Water Stewardship Winner: Kentucky American Water

Kentucky American doesn’t just provide clean water to the city; they do their part to conserve and protect it, too!  Their low-flow fixtures and responsible landscaping practices keep their water consumption low, and by reducing chemical use and educating both their staff and the public on storm drain and litter issues, they’re making a positive impact on water quality as well.

Stewardship Accolade: Bullhorn Creative

Bullhorn’s impressive résumé of sustainability initiatives benefit both their staff and their community.  They compost with Seedleaf, provide bicycles for employees to ride to work, and dedicate their time and effort to partnering with other like-minded organizations to make an impact on the community at large.  100% of Bullhorn employees participated in the 2014 Downtown Trash Bash; they spend time every month working in a Seedleaf community garden; and they’re currently working with NoLi CDC on a grant that implements urban forestry and runoff abatement projects to improve storm water quality.

Education Accolade: Employment Solutions

Employment Solutions trains and educates adults with developmental disabilities to prepare them for the workforce – and they go above and beyond the call of duty to teach the value of growing and preparing food and cutting wasteful habits.  Employment Solutions staff and students have turned what was once a parking lot into a vibrant and productive garden; every individual learns to plant, tend, and harvest, and prepare their own produce and flowers, as well as care for chickens.  They have also eliminated disposable dishware from their kitchens and compost all of their food scraps to help nourish their garden.

Innovation Accolade: Bluegrass Technology Center

Bluegrass Technology Center’s Assistive Technology ReUse Program keeps waste out of the landfill by redistributing medical and technological devices that would otherwise be discarded.  BTC refurbishes computers, home medical equipment, and assistive devices for individuals with vision, hearing, mobility, and learning challenges; they then supply those items to individuals in need.

Special thanks to Blue Stallion Brewing – another one of our LiveGreenLexington Partners – for hosting the 2014 Games Awards Ceremony; and special thanks to all of our 2014 Games participants for your commitment to a more sustainable Lexington!  We hope you’ll all be back for another round of friendly competition in the 2015 LiveGreenLexington Green Business Challenge, launching soon.  To find out more about what’s new this year and how your workplace can get involved, go to


2014 LiveGreenLexington Games wraps up with awards ceremony on July 31st

Thanks to our dedicated LiveGreenLexington business partners, another successful round of the LiveGreenLexington Games is in the books!  Competition wrapped up on June 30th, with eighteen local businesses participating in this year’s green business challenge.

Special thanks to all of our 2014 participants:

3M Ceradyne
A Sense of Order
Cardinal Hill Hospital
CDP Engineers
Dismas Charities, Lexington
Dupree Catering + Events
Element Design
Good Foods Co-Op
Growing Together Preschool
Kentucky American Water
Lexington Habitat ReStore
Lexington Public Library
Richards Electric
Salon Asa, LLC
Town Branch Tree Experts, Inc.

But who’s the greenest of them all?  Swing by the awards ceremony and find out!

The 2014 LiveGreenLexington Games Awards Ceremony will be held at Blue Stallion Brewing, Thursday, July 31st, from 5-7pm.  In addition to recognizing overall and category winners, we’ll be awarding innovation, education, and stewardship accolades to businesses who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to become more sustainable (nominate a business here – nominations will be accepted through Monday, July 21st).  The awards ceremony is also a great opportunity to network with other sustainably-minded folks in the Lexington business community, and there’s no better way to share great ideas than over a cold, locally-brewed beer.

The awards ceremony is also your first chance to check out all of the exciting changes coming in the next round of competition, starting September 1st!  Lexington is one of only four cities nationwide selected to receive a generous grant from the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives for the purpose of expanding and improving our green business challenge.  Just a few of the new perks coming on September 1st include an activity-based format with more than 100 activities to choose from and complete; GreenPSF (Per Square Foot) software for managing utility data, monitoring challenge progress, keeping an eye on the leader board, and so much more; and expanded trainings, services, and educational resources for participating businesses and their staff.  Registration for the 2015 LiveGreenLexington Green Business Challenge officially opens at 5pm on July 31st – test out the software, register, or simply find out more while you enjoy the awards ceremony!  We’ll even start you off with 50 extra points if you register by August 31st.


Dive into Water Week with Live Green Lexington

UPDATE 5.28.14: 
Tuesday’s lunch and learn is filling up fast!  Please RSVP by 2:00pm on Friday, May 30th so that we can make sure you’ll have a lunch waiting for you.

Also, we would like to clarify that the stream clean-up on Thursday and the storm drain stenciling on Friday are rolling sign-in activities; come anytime between 2:00 and 3:30pm either day and stay as long as you like!  You are not obligated to participate for the full 2 hour period (although we’d be happy to have you if you did).

Grab your goggles, Live Green Lexington Partners, because we’re diving into Water Week on June 3rd!  The water stewardship season of this year’s Live Green Lexington Games runs through June 30th, so there’s still plenty of time to sign up and work on your scorecard; and if you’re getting a late start (or just really want that water stewardship award), Water Week is the perfect opportunity to earn a little extra credit.

Water Week 2014

Water quality and conservation issues are often overlooked in the workplace – especially for those of us who rent our offices and have little control over the big picture – but there are steps we can take to make a difference.  The goal of Water Week is to illuminate the many ways that we impact water quality and consumption, and the many ways we can make positive change without breaking the bank.

All of our Water Week activities are free and open to representatives of any Live Green Lexington partner business.  Email Beth for more info or to register for our Water Week activities, or to get involved in the Green Games…it’s not too late to sign up and take the Water Stewardship season by storm!