GTECH wins the Green Workplace Challenge!

We didn’t just participate in the Green Workplace Challenge, we WON the Green Workplace Challenge. (And we have the trophies to prove it!)

Green Workplace Challenge 2015 Results:
Small Nonprofit Category Winner: GTECH –722 points
Top Commuter Footprint Reducer: GTECH Strategies – 9.4% Reduction

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In case you missed the announcement – GTECH was the winner of the Small Nonprofit Category AND the Top Commuter Footprint Reducer of the 2015 Green Workplace Challenge (GWC)! You may remember the GWC from our September post, 7 Reasons We Love the Green Workplace Challenge.

Green Workplace Challenge at GTECH:

We were wildly successful, but that came with a lot of work. We had a staff Green Team that led the charge, but it really took the entire staff to come together as one and commit to being more sustainable – both at home and at work. Not to mention, unrestricted funds sourced through our year-end appeal campaign to fund the Green Team.

As an organization, we reduced our energy usage by about 7% (and we got solar panels!) and our commuter footprint by about 9%. All said and done, we finished the competition with 722 points.

Here are a few of our actions:

Green Workplace Challenge as a whole :

From October 2014-October 2015, 50 organizations (everyone from Allegheny County to universities to companies to nonprofits) participated in the challenge, completing actions that awarded them points. The actions covered everything from installing toilet displacement devices to encouraging employees to commit to living more sustainable outside the workplace.

We would be remiss if we didn’t also acknowledge our fierce competitors, the Green Building Alliance and CCI – it was a very close race! A lot of our actions were inspired by the work that GBA and CCI were doing, and they are great resources to have in Pittsburgh.

How much did that really do?

Here’s a breakdown of the entire challenge’s impact.

Overall, the competitors saved enough energy to power 1,541 average U.S. homes for a year (18,602,681 kWh of energy savings), translating to $1.5 million in cost savings.

The competitors as a whole reduced landfill waste by 436 tons, which is 35%, as compared to the  baseline. The entire competition reduced greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 2,865 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide. If you are having trouble visualizing that, think of it in terms of airline flights. 2,865 metric tons of CO2 is roughly 73 five hundred mile flights, or 2/3 of the daily flights leaving the Pittsburgh international Airport.

Check out some photos from the award ceremony:

 

For more about the challenge, check out the Trib’s article, Next Pittsburgh’s article, or the Green Workplace Challenge website and look for us in the Post Gazette!

Sometimes, sustainability can be overwhelming, and it feels like your actions can’t possibly make a dent in the overall problem. The GWC results are proof that these actions, however small, add up to create real impact – in our everyday lives and even across the entire city.

Interested in greening your workplace? Check out the GWC website for details about the next round of the Green Workplace Challenge. In the meantime, here are some resources you can start with:

  • Register with Commute Info to find out how you can green your commute. Locate rideshares in your area, start a carpool or a bike pool and more!
  • Take a look at what goes into your garbage can. Learn about plastic film recycling, composting, what to do with styrofoam and familiarize yourself with local resources – including places like Construction Junction, Steel City Soils and Pennsylvania Resources Council.
  • Create a “bring your lunch” day at your office, and encourage your colleagues to buy less prepackaged food.
  • Encourage management to adopt green policies. These could include green cleaning, the use of CFL or LED lightbulbs, purchasing green power, providing reusable drencher to employees. See more examples here.
Share your ideas or stories about your own sustainability triumphs below!

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