Program encourages Dayton businesses to ‘go green’

Local businesses recognized for environmental efforts.

Local businesses will compete in a year-long program that encourages them to “go green,” saving them money and making them eligible for cash and prizes.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Montgomery County Commissioners Deborah Lieberman and Judy Dodge joined Dayton Regional Green, or DRG, and partners in announcing the start of the “Bring Your Green Challenge.”

The competition — sponsored by DRG, DP&L and Vectren Live Smart — is meant to challenge government buildings, commercial property owners/managers and office tenants to reduce resources used and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“We hope to get 100 more businesses certified this year,” said Lamees Mubaslat, architect and sustainability director for DRG.

The competition begins Aug. 1 and is open to all Green Certified businesses. New businesses can apply for certification online.

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“Competition makes the challenge more exciting, fun and more engaging,” Mubaslat said. “We based the collaboration on that concept.”

The program challenges businesses to do more to reduce the resources used in their offices in four categories: energy reduction, water conservation, employee engagement and waste minimization.

DRG will provide free access to online web tools throughout the competition that will allow participants to report and track their progress in each category.

Financial savings will be offered for those participating in the program.

“We are offering 150 percent in bonus rebates for those who become certified,” Tom Tatham, DP&L director of operations, said.

In addition to the utility cost savings, winners of the competition will be eligible to receive $80,000 in cash and prizes.

Employees of Green Certified businesses are eligible to receive a discount on their residential bill, which is a great way to get them engaged, Mubaslat said.

Companies, for example, can go green by changing their lighting options, unplugging equipment at night and recycling. Mubaslat said engagement is crucial because going green begins with just a simple thought.

“It’s as easy as think before you print,” Mubaslat said. “Do you really need to print it? And, if you do, print two-sided.”

During the announcement, 64 local businesses were recognized for becoming Green Business certified in the last year — bringing the area total to 375.

Whaley congratulated the businesses and suggested other environmentally friendly activities.

“Take a minute to appreciate the springtime, plant a tree, ride a bike— maybe one of the Link bikes downtown— and continue to work towards making this community sustainable,” Whaley said.

Representatives of the Dayton Women’s Club, which almost 100 years old, said going green was not easy.

“We have the second-oldest structure in Dayton, so it was a challenge,” Deb McNeff, president of Dayton Women’s Club, said. “But we began simply with awareness.”

Awareness is something Mike Fanelli, committee member for Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Centerville, knows about.

“We have a very environmentally conscious group,” Fanelli said. “When we filled out the 100 or so questions asked online [for certification], we had already been doing a lot of them, but there are some things we learned as well.”

The organization was helpful from beginning to end, and interns from DRG even visited the congregation to assist them with their application, Fanelli said.

To apply for certification or register for the “Bring Your Green Challenge,” visit drg3.org.

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