The Downtown District congratulates the commercial property owners, property managers and employers who participated in the City of Houston’s Green Office Challenge. The collaborative effort to re-use, recycle and reduce the use of valuable resources, such as energy, water and waste, has seen downtown spaces improve the environmental and economic performance of their business operations.
The Green Office Challenge, in its inaugural year, focused on fostering a friendly competition between business districts to make energy efficiency, water conservation and recycling more interesting. Participating districts included the Downtown District, Uptown/Galleria, Greenway Plaza, Greenspoint, Westchase, Energy Corridor and Texas Medical Center.
“The downtown community embraced the first Green Office Challenge with enthusiastic participation,” Bob Eury, executive director of Downtown District, said. “We had nearly double the number of registrants compared to the next closest district.”
During the challenge, 37 percent of downtown commuters chose alternative modes of transport, including park and ride, local or express bus, bus and rail, carpool options and walking. This high percentage of transit ridership results in lower emissions from employees’ commutes, significantly less than any other neighboring district. The numbers show the emissions level from the typical workforce’s commute in the Energy Corridor 52 percent higher than downtown, with Uptown 47 percent higher and Westchase 38 percent higher.
In addition, downtown is expanding its transportation options with the introduction of the Greenlink bus service and the Houston pilot of the successful national bike share program, B-cycle. Greenlink is a seven CNG bus fleet that will run Monday-Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., connecting major office buildings along Smith and Louisiana Streets to the convention corridor and the city’s civic center as well as to METRO Park & Ride and METRORail services. Houston B-cycle initially will have three stations with 18 bikes located at Market Square Park, George R. Brown Convention Center and City Hall and will be a simple, affordable and healthy way of getting around downtown.
“Downtown is truly leading the way when it comes to sustainability, including the use of public transport, alternative modes of transport and LEED certified buildings,” Laura Spanjian, City of Houston’s director for sustainability, said. “In fact, Houston is ranked fifth in the nation for the number of buildings that are LEED certified. In downtown alone, 87 percent of Class A office buildings are LEED certified with the others well on their way. “
Currently the downtown area is home to 40 LEED certified projects, totaling more than 32 million square feet, 37 Energy Star buildings and one Green Seal Certified hotel. In addition, sixteen projects totaling more than 10.7 million square feet are in the process of becoming LEED certified.
As downtown moves forward, sustainability initiatives will continue to focus on recycling, water conservation and re-use, additional park & ride services on the east side of downtown and lastly, heat island modifications such as planting more street trees and greening rooftops.
The 12-month Green Office Challenge culminated in an awards ceremony, hosted by Mayor Parker and the City of Houston. A full list of results can be found at www.houstongoc.org.
About Downtown District
The Houston Downtown Management District was formed in 1995 for the purpose of revitalizing the urban core of the country’s fourth largest city. Over the past decade, the Downtown District has used a combination of public funds and private resources to catalyze area improvements focusing on the city blocks bordered by Interstate 10, Highway 59, and Interstate 45. Since the Downtown District began operating in 1996, Downtown Houston has seen more than $4 billion of construction completed in over 110 public and private projects, the creation of 3.2 million square feet of new Class A office space, $500 million of infrastructure improvements, 3,000 new hotel rooms spanning 11 different projects, and a 250% increase in the population of permanent residents. For more information please call 713-650-3022 or visit Downtown District on the web at www.downtowndistrict.org or www.downtownhouston.org
Contact Kate at Elmore Public Relations for more information.