By Mihir Parikh, Sustainability Programs Coordinator at A Better City

Courtesy Mihir Parikh, Sustainability Programs Coordinator at A Better City

Prominent Boston Businesses Lead Charge on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions 

Emissions reduced 18% since 2009; leaders celebrate at Annual Challenge for Sustainability Awards

Boston March 20th, 2014 – Over 100 of Boston’s largest buildings and employers came together at the New England Aquarium to honor and celebrate their accomplishments at A Better City’s 5th Challenge for Sustainability Awards. The Challenge for Sustainability works with Boston business leaders and properties to improve energy efficiency and overall sustainability, leading the efforts of the private sector towards the city’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020. Since the program’s debut in 2009, participants have collectively reduced greenhouse gas emissions by a staggering 18% and implemented over 1,500 sustainability actions. 

The Challenge Awards recognize businesses who achieved significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and improvements in their overall sustainability. This year’s award for Greatest Energy Reduction went to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Shields Warren building, which achieved a 20% drop in electricity use and saved nearly 200,000 kWh of electricity. 

The Most Improved Sustainability Score was awarded to Nixon Peabody LLP and John Hancock at 601 Congress Street, taking home the award for Highest Sustainability Score. 

The award for Largest Greenhouse Gas Reduction also went to John Hancock for their 197 Clarendon Street building, which has seen a 40% drop in greenhouse gases since then. “We are honored to receive these awards from ABC’s Challenge for Sustainability”, said Bruce Pearson, Managing Director of US Corporate Real Estate at John Hancock Financial Services.  “It is extremely gratifying that these awards recognize John Hancock's continuing commitment to finding ways to decrease energy and water consumption and increase sustainability initiatives.  Each year we evaluate how we can better operate and manage our buildings through energy conservation initiatives and improved business practices. From recycling and composting, to support of employee bicycling, to capital efficiency projects, John Hancock’s investments in these initiatives help the environment and make good business sense.” 

A much prized Peer Award, voted on by fellow program participants recognizing an individual for their outstanding contributions to the program, guidance, and leadership, was presented to Fred O’Grady, Chief Engineer at One Beacon Street (managed by CBRE). 

Additionally, 59 facilities representing over 25 million square feet of commercial real estate received certificates for achieving their sustainability goals and excellence in the following categories: People, Energy, Water, Waste, Purchasing, Cleaning & Toxins and Transportation. See a full recap of the winners and event here

In 2013, participants in the Challenge for Sustainability collectively reduced CO2 emissions by 2.2%, including a reduction of over 18 million kWh. These electricity reductions saved participants over $1.4 million in electricity costs. According to Mike Cantalupa, Senior Vice President of Development at Boston Properties and Chairman of A Better City, “The Challenge for Sustainability has proven its success amongst Boston’s commercial real estate sector. This effort is helping businesses reduce their energy costs while moving the City and State closer to achieving aggressive goals for sustaining our climate.” 

About the Challenge for Sustainability 

ABC’s Challenge for Sustainability is a voluntary program that engages buildings and businesses in Greater Boston with a holistic approach to implementing sustainability and energy efficiency programs. 

The Challenge for Sustainability provides participants with a concierge level of service that leads them through a complete benchmarking of their facility, the development of a comprehensive sustainability action plan, and offers them valuable technical assistance as well as peer-to-peer networking/sharing of best practices in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to create a more sustainable work site. 

The Challenge for Sustainability is designed to leverage the private sector’s ability to influence change and make Boston a leader in energy efficiency and sustainable business practices. The program challenges businesses, institutions, and building owners to meet a broad range of sustainability standards and practices within energy efficiency, water efficiency, transportation, waste reduction & management, cleaning & toxics, program implementation & policies, purchasing, and renewable energy in order to reduce environmental impacts as well as improve the economic competitiveness and preparedness of businesses throughout the region. 

About A Better City 

A Better City (ABC) is a Boston-based, non-profit organization that represents the business and institutional community on issues of transportation, land development, and the environment. ABC improves the economic competitiveness and quality of life in the Boston region by providing leadership on significant policies, projects, and initiatives related to the commercial real estate sector.

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