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Better Business Challenge Champions Honored

Charlottesville, VA — The Better Business Challenge culminated a 10-month long effort to bring awareness to environmental stewardship and cost-savings opportunities for energy efficiency, water/waste/transportation reduction strategies in the business community on Thursday night at the Paramount Theater. Nearly 80 area businesses were in competition since September 2013 to increase their efficiency and sustainability as well as earn recognition for their sustainability efforts by looking at six key areas of their daily operations: energy, water, transportation, waste, purchasing and leadership! At the heart of the Challenge was the online “Scorecard” which businesses used to decide which action items they would strive to complete. Over 250 people attended six Lunch n’ Learn workshops and an “innovation pitch night” throughout the contest. The following is a list of award winners and highlights of their actions.

2014 AWARD WINNERS

Stridemaker Award Greatest leap forward in a single category
Charlottesville Dental Health Partners Started a toothbrush and oral care recycling program for their clients and looking to other practices to adopt the program.

Ripple Effect Winner Excellence in environmental stewardship, as shown through a strong dedication to reaching a wider audience
Woodard Properties Began composting services for over 450 residents and revamped their recycling for over 800 residents and will be installing one of the first public tesla electric vehicle charging stations in Cville.

Biggest “Loser” (waste reduction) Recognizes the larges reduction of waste achieved based on the points earned on the Waste Scorecard
Tandem Friends School Launched zero-waste initiatives and school-wide composting.

Kilowatt Crackdown Winner Recognizes the largest reduction in energy use based on the points earned on the Energy Scorecard
Paramount Theater Better energy management and proceeding with a lighting upgrade which could save $7,000 in utilities in 3 years!

Charlottesville Area TransitBuilding designed for a 35% energy reduction through use of geothermal heating and cooling system; natural ventilation, extensive day lighting, and efficient building envelope; wall insulation used 100% recycled discarded blue jeans.

Top Innovators Businesses that stands out for ingenuity or is not afraid to think outside the box (small business and institution)
ReThreads consignment shop Reuses customer garment bags as trash bags and old boots as flower pots; donates unsaleable clothes to local crafters.

UVA Darden School of Business Revamped Darden’s “first coffee” tradition to save 600 cups of coffee per day from trash.

Green Leader Demonstrates outstanding leadership in the business community with implementing high-impact measures
Harvest Moon Catering Started a “know where it goes” campaign for employees; turned trash to treasure by composting their waste and reusing wood pallets, coolers, and olive containers for an urban garden.

2014 BETTER BUSINESS CHAMPIONS Highest Total Earned Points in the Challenge
Rivanna Natural Designs Certified B Corp; revamped duct work; created baseline of energy use

Vinegar Hill Café Made the switch to compostable take-out containers saving 2,600 plastic containers a year. M-Cam Use extensive daylighting and attended three challenge educational events.

Indoor Biotechnologies  Completed a company-wide lighting upgrade and installed hand dryers.

Relay Foods This locally-sourced, sustainable and mobile/online grocery store has sustainability at its core. Plow and Hearth Saved 887,895 killowatts per year after lighting upgrade and installation of motion sensors in warehouse.

Challenge Mini-grant Winners received energy efficient and/or eco-friendly products or services Amazing Clean Services – LEED-compliant backpack and green cleaning supplies
The Jacksons 2 Body and Soul Salon – Energy Star purifier and programmable thermostat
My Baby’s Security Childcare Services – Reusable art and lunchtime supplies, safer sunscreen

What people are saying about the Challenge:

“We have been thrilled at the success of these businesses – finding both common sense and creative ways to reduce waste and use less energy, tapping the latest innovations to save on waste, and establishing best practices to get the biggest bang for their buck with various operational improvements. And what’s good for our local business is good for the Charlottesville area. Initiatives like the Challenge promote the long-term economic vitality, resiliency, and sustainability of our community,” –Teri Kent, Project Manager of the Better Business Challenge and founder of local non-profit Better World Betty

“The Challenge led to remarkable energy and cost savings for 75+ local businesses over the last year, and it was the launch pad for two innovative new services. Our online energy benchmarking tool helps businesses do a status check of energy use compared to similar businesses, and the Clean Energy Commercial Loan that we offer with the City of Charlottesville and UVA Community Credit Union can fund energy improvements big and small.” — Cynthia Adams, Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) Executive Director

“The Better Business Challenge is an invaluable resource in the Charlottesville community for businesses seeking to incorporate sustainable practices into their operations. From the online tools, to the information-packed workshops, there is something for any business, large or small, to learn from being part of the Challenge.” –Hollie Lee, Chief of Workforce Development Strategies, City of Charlottesville

“Albemarle County is excited about the continued success of the Better Business Challenge and thinks that the program exemplifies the stewardship philosophy supported by the County and embraced by our business community, in addition to promoting smart, innovative business practices that improve efficiency and profitability,” Lee Catlin, Assistant to the County Executive for Community and Business Partnerships, Albemarle County

“The Better Business Challenge encouraged all of us to consider the environment as a factor in best business practices,” Jason Williams, Facilities Manager, The Paramount Theater

“One reason we participated in the Better Business Challenge this year in the Leadership category is to set a good example for other businesses in the area, as well as for our own employees. “ April Muniz, Harvest Moon Catering

“The Challenge has been a wonderful experience. It has drawn together departments and opened more than few individuals’ eyes to the need to be more sustainable.” – Allison Kinney, Plow and Hearth

The Charlottesville Area Better Business Challenge is a grant-funded, locally-sponsored initiative led by Better World Betty and LEAP aimed at helping businesses incorporate sustainability into their daily operations. Key partners include the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, and UVA Darden Graduate School of Business. Sponsors include the UVA Community Credit Union, ColonialWebb, Plow and Hearth, Cree Lighting, Harvest Moon Catering, Whole Foods, Batteries Plus Bulbs, Black Bear Composting, Rideshare, Rivanna Natural Designs, the Paramount, and T&N Printing. Media Partners include 106.1 The Corner, WINA and C-VILLE Weekly.