The Port of San Diego has launched a Green Business Challenge (GBC), which the organization described as a "friendly year-round competition to reduce emissions and increase efficiency among commercial and office buildings" in the area.
ICLEI USA, a local government association addressing sustainability and climate change, will assist the Port of San Diego with measurement tools, resources, and training to help participants reach their goals.
GBC invites commercial tenants and businesses to increase their environmental and economic performance in the areas of outreach, energy conservation, waste reduction, cleaner transportation choices, and property management.
Participants will be evaluated over a one-year period through the GBC Scorecard, which outlines actions to make participating businesses "greener."
Free training and resources will be provided, and tenants will be able to take advantage of energy rebate programs. Participants also will be included in an outreach campaign aimed at promoting GBC and honored at a special event acknowledging their participation and highlighting their energy-reduction achievements.
As part of its continued commitment to bolstering energy efficiency and sustainability among local governments, ICLEI USA recently announced the release of The Green Business Challenge Guidebook, a step-by-step guidance document on how to develop and launch a GBC in individual cities and counties.
The Green Port Program is an umbrella program designed to achieve the Port's environmental sustainability goals in six areas, including water, energy, air, waste management, sustainable development, and sustainable business practices. It was established in early 2008 to achieve the objectives outlined in the Port's Green Port Policy. The Green Port Program both continues the Port's existing environmental efforts and expands these efforts through new programs and initiatives.
The Green Business Challenge is funded through a partnership the Port shares with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). The partnership was formed in 2009 to support the Port of San Diego's Green Port Program.
In 2009, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley launched the Chicago Green Office Challenge in partnership with ICLEI USA as a strategy to improve the environmental performance of commercial buildings, which account for a substantial share of the city's greenhouse-gas emissions.
Since then, the Green Office Challenge has expanded into several cities, including Houston; Arlington County, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; and now The Port of San Diego.
Last April, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders unveiled "Centre City Green" program to make the city's downtown area more environmentally sustainable, in part through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications, and help the city reach California's climate-change goals for 2020 (GBI, May 1, 2010, "San Diego Plans for Centre City Green Program; Various Businesses Announce Other Achievements Involving LEED"). Centre City Green includes new, incentive-based green building measures that are expected to help new and existing buildings use less water and energy, reduce automobile demand, and provide healthy indoor and outdoor spaces for people. Planned incentives include increased building density, faster permitting, development code variances, support of "green team" specialists, and public recognition.