Chicago Green Office Challenge: Making it Easy for Chicago Businesses to be More Sustainable

By Karen Weigert, Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Chicago

With the change of a few light bulbs, DTZ, a property management company, has edged out healthcare brand solutions firm, Purohit Navigation, for the current #1 ranking on the live leaderboard—and the Peace Corps Midwest Regional Recruiting Office is just a few points behind. Competition is heating up in the Chicago Green Office Challenge, and it is bringing in offices from every sector to see who is the greenest of them all.

Why does it matter? Chicago’s buildings account for 71% of its greenhouse gas emissions, and we spend about $3 billion to heat, cool and operate those buildings. Businesses and residents across the city are looking for ways to bring those numbers down. City collaborations like Retrofit Chicago and the Chicago Green Office Challenge help us do that. The Challenge is an interactive and engaging online competition that supports businesses from all sectors as they become more sustainable, competitive and fast-paced.

About the Chicago Green Office Challenge

The Chicago Green Office Challenge (previously) is an impact-driven program that fosters friendly competition among offices and individuals. It makes it easy and engaging for Chicago businesses to adopt practices that promote efficiency, save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Chicago Green Office Challenge winners for round 3,

Chicago Green Office Challenge winners for round 3.

Delta Institute, the City of Chicago, Office Depot and ComEd launched the 4th Chicago Green Office Challenge in September. The Challenge engages more offices than ever before and has evolved into an interactive online game, complete with a live leaderboard and comprehensive activities in the categories of energy, waste, water, purchasing, outreach and transportation.

Last year, the Challenge was played by over 1,000 individuals from 250 businesses, and saw expanded participation in new zip codes across the city (read more about last year’s winners). Some companies reported energy reductions of 11% in their office spaces, and saved the equivalent of more than 36,000 trees with office recycling programs.

Why are they playing? Because the Challenge provides an easy-to-use platform and tools that help businesses reach their goals: driving sustainability impacts, engaging employees, saving money and earning recognition for their leadership. Not to mention that it’s a fun way to network with other businesses and individuals across the city. Purohit Navigation has been playing the Challenge for years, and here is their view on the Challenge:

“We looked at the Green Office Challenge as an opportunity not only to impact the environment, but to set an example in Greater Chicago. We used the initiative to energize our staff with eco-friendly corporate goals and competitions. Since we’re a midsized independent company, it was relatively easy to become more economical with our office space, switch to electronic routing to cut down on paper, and boost our recycling efforts. We were one of the first marketing and communications companies to take up the Green Office Challenge. Four years later, we still use the Green Office Challenge as our guide to limit our environmental impact at Purohit Navigation.”


What are you waiting for?

Head to to sign up! October is National Energy Awareness Month, so Challenge participants are encouraged to focus on energy impacts which deliver significant environmental results and costs savings—not to mention points in the competition. This month, the Challenge will encourage businesses to improve energy efficiency with activates like tracking energy use. Individuals can even earn points by completing activities that reduce energy use at home. The City’s energy benchmarking ordinance, which was adopted last year, provides a new incentive for Chicago buildings and property managers to engage their tenants in the Challenge—tracking energy data and driving energy efficiency efforts.

Through the Chicago Green Office Challenge, businesses have a great tool to achieve their own cost, sustainability and engagement goals—and to help make Chicago the most livable, competitive and sustainable city in the country. Learn more and sign up your office today at

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One Response to “Chicago Green Office Challenge: Making it Easy for Chicago Businesses to be More Sustainable”
  1. Neil Hardin says:

    This is a great way to encourage Chicago residents to reduce waste, energy and water use in their homes and office. All businesses should want to
    earn recognition as sustainability leaders in Chicago.

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