On Thursday, September 14, Sustainable Pittsburgh revealed the top scorers of the 2016-2017 Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge (GWC) during an evening celebration at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. A yearlong, friendly competition, the GWC enables businesses, nonprofits, municipalities, and universities to track and measure improvements in energy, water, waste, and transportation.
More than 90 employers from throughout southwestern Pennsylvania completed the competition, twice the number from the previous GWC. In total, these participants took 2,009 green and sustainable “actions,” each of which earned them points in the challenge. Point-earning actions range from switching out less efficient light bulbs for more energy efficient ones, establishing recycling programs, and encouraging carpooling among employees.
Micro Nonprofit Division Winner: Millvale Community Library
Small Nonprofit Division Winner: CCI
Medium Nonprofit Division Winner: ALCOSAN
Division Winner: University of Pittsburgh
Division Winner: Central Catholic High School
Small Municipality Division Winner: Township of Upper St. Clair
Large Municipality Division Winner: Allegheny County
Top-Scoring Building Team: Ann Jones Gerace Building
Top-Scoring Neighborhood Team: South Side
Top Saver Awards:
Top Energy Saver: Millvale Community Library
Top Water Saver: Highmark
Top Legacy Energy Saver: Green Building Alliance
Top Legacy Water Saver: Allegheny County
With a total of 122 points, Central Catholic High School earned distinction as the winner of the first GWC K-12 Competition. Congratulations on a strong finish and the collective effort among students and staff in engaging in a variety of actions!
Environmental Science/Biology Teacher, Cassandra Sirockman-Bell, shared some of the actions the students and staff have taken on:
"Central Catholic High School students began the GWC K-12 challenge by asking various members of the Central Catholic community to sign the “I Am Sustainable Pittsburgh” pledge. Students took the pledge a step further and wrote a sustainability pledge for the Central Catholic community. So far, 30% of the student body and faculty has agreed to live more sustainably inside and outside of school.
Various members of the Environmental Science course performed an energy audit and presented their findings to the administration. Other students worked together to encourage the student body to utilize the bike racks to reduce their carbon footprint. Additionally, the Environmental Science Club has been focused on improving the amount of plastic, paper and cans recycled at Central Catholic.
Lastly, Central Catholic students scored highest in the areas of empathy and involvement. Students were eager to get the entire student body to participate in recycling programs throughout the competition, while being more conscious of the world around them and the diversity of the people on the earth!”
Throughout the 2016-2017 Green Workplace Challenge, 92 active organizations completed 2,009 actions. In total, participants earned more than 16,000 points in the competition.
Participating organizations saved more than 16 million kWh of energy, enough to power every owner-occupied home in the 15219 zip code for one year. The 15219 zip code includes the City of Pittsburgh neighborhoods Polish Hill, Uptown, part of Downtown and Station Square.
From energy savings alone, participants saved more than $1.3 million. Factoring in social cost, the savings exceed $1.4 million. Social cost refers to the costs associated with climate change caused by one ton of carbon in a given year. Social cost can include damage from storms, increased pressure on infrastructure, reduced agricultural productivity and impacts on human health.
2016-2017 Challenge participants saved more than 33 million gallons of water. That's enough to cover the playing surface of PNC Park with over 46 feet of water.
Commuters avoided an estimated 552.6 metric tons of CO2 emissions by choosing sustainable commute options. Sustainable commutes include walking, biking, public transit, carpool or vanpool.
GWC 4.0 Final Leaderboards
The 2016-2017 Green Workplace Challenge celebrates the 93 active organizations, earning more than 16,000 points in the Challenge. See the final point earnings by competitive division below: