Last night, I had the honor of attending the inaugural awards ceremony for the City of Houston's Green Office Challenge at Houston's Green Building Resource Center. Hosted by Mayor Annise Parker, the event included an exhibition of sustainable products and was a forum for generating ideas and sharing best practices for sustainability management.
As a member of the Smith Sustainability Group (SSG), I've been involved in Smith's "greenovation" process from the beginning. The awards ceremony was a pivotal moment for SSG because it was an opportunity for us to reflect on the project that we, along with all of the employees of our Houston office, had worked so hard to make successful.
At the event, Mayor Parker recognized building owners and tenants for their achievements in the challenge and provided an overview of our impact on the city. The City of Houston Green Office Challenge included over 270 participants who represented an estimated 70 million square feet of commercial office space. The biggest Green Office Challenge in the country to date, the program resulted in a 28,000,000 KWh reduction for the City of Houston.
It was a proud moment for Smith when we were called to the stage as "Overall Winner for Greatest Implementation of Green Building Innovations." It's no surprise that even the award itself was cut from a 300 pound slab of granite diverted from landfills from the City of Houston's ReUse Warehouse.
Our sustainability project was made possible by the investment that Smith's owners made in our building renovations, but it was successful because the people at Smith believed in creating a greener workplace and living in a greener city, and world. Reaching this goal has been an exciting journey that leaves us with a desire to go further.
The second phase of the City of Houston's Green Office Challenge starts today. For Smith, the challenge to go green is so much bigger than the people and the structure of our Houston headquarters. From improvements to the exterior of our building, to an internal shift in corporate culture, the changes that we made this year created a model for our company that will help us grow our sustainability program across our other 13 global locations.
Although only 18 companies were recognized at the awards ceremony, the real win was for all of us to share. With programs like the City of Houston's Green Office Challenge bringing awareness to environmental issues and solutions for improved sustainability management, we can all look forward to a greener tomorrow.