Awards and Recognition

Each year, the Sustainable Pittsburgh Challenge (formerly the Green Workplace Challenge) recognizes the achievements of its participants with a variety of awards. Eligibility and details about each type of award are summarized below.

Competitive Divisions and Top Scorers

Most participating organizations engage in the SP Challenge as Competitors. Each competing organization is assigned to a competitive "Division" based on its type and size. This allows organizations to engage in friendly competition while benchmarking progress against similar organizations in the region. Each competitor submits actions throughout the program, which are reviewed and awarded with points by the SP Challenge staff and Oversight Committee. At the end of the yearlong program, the top-scoring organization in each Division is announced and awarded during the Finale and Awards Celebration. The 2018 competitive Divisions are:

Micro Business (10 or fewer employees)

Small Business (11 - 75 employees)

Medium Business (76 - 499 employees)

Large Business (500 or more employees)

Micro Nonprofit (10 or fewer employees)

Small Nonprofit (11 - 75 employees)

Medium Nonprofit (76 - 499 employees)

Large Nonprofit (500 or more employees)

Micro Municipality (3,999 or fewer residents)

Small Municipality (4,000 - 9,999 residents)

Medium Municipality (10,000 - 24,999 residents)

Large Municipality (25,000 or more residents)

Colleges and Universities (all sizes)

K-12 School (all sizes)

Non-competitive Self-Performers are not eligible for Top Scorer awards. To see which organizations were Top Scorers in the previous competition, check out the 2016 - 2017 results page.

Top Saver Awards

Top Saver Awards recognize organizations that reduce waste, water consumption or energy use by the highest percentage (compared to their 2017 baseline) throughout the yearlong program. To be eligible for a Top Saver award, an organization must create an account in Energy Star Portfolio Manager, track its energy consumption, water use and/or waste trends, and share this information with Sustainable Pittsburgh. Doing so also ensures that your organization is eligible for points associated with tracking these metrics. All Competitors and Self-Performers are eligible for a Top Saver Award. 

Top Legacy Saver Awards

Top Legacy Saver Awards recognize organizations that reduce waste, water consumption or energy use by the highest percentage compared to a legacy baseline year. Legacy baselines can be set to any year prior to 2017, but after January 1, 2012. To be eligible for a Top Legacy Saver award, an organization must create an account in Energy Star Portfolio Manager, set a legacy baseline, and track its energy consumption, water use and/or waste trends. Share this information with Sustainable Pittsburgh's Portfolio Manager account to be eligible for this award, as well as for points in the Water, Energy and Waste categories. All Competitors and Self-Performers are eligible for a Top Legacy Saver Award. 

People's Choice Award

The 2018 Sustainable Pittsburgh Challenge will introduce the first SP Challenge People's Choice Award. This award will recognize one organization for its innovative or inspiring sustainability solutions, initiatives or actions. Organizations can be nominated by the SP Challenge staff and Oversight Committee, or organizations can self-nominate. All participating organizations are eligible for this award. More information about the nomination criteria and selection process will be available soon.

(Note: All participating organizations will retain the right to refuse a nomination for any reason. All associated action submissions and details will remain confidential, per the confidentiality policy, until the SP Challenge team receives written permission from the nominated organization to publish their story.)

Achievement Ribbons

The Sustainable Pittsburgh Challenge has seven sustainability performance categories in which participants can take action: Social Equity, Energy, Water, Materials Management, Transportation, Air Quality and Engagement. All participating organizations are eligible to earn achievement ribbons in each of these categories. White ribbons are awarded when organizations complete the first steps in each category. Red ribbons are awarded for mid-level achievements, and blue ribbons are awarded for advanced achievements in each action category. A special yellow ribbon in Energy is available to organizations that rent space, and take steps to begin measuring energy in tandem with their landlord. Every ribbon earned is worth a bonus of 25 points, giving ribbon-earners a competitive "edge" in the competition, while providing recognition throughout the year-long program. 

During the 2016 - 2017 Green Workplace Challenge (now known as the Sustainable Pittsburgh Challenge), participating organizations earned more than 60 ribbons, including 2 blue ribbons in Social Equity, one blue ribbon in Engagement, and one blue ribbon in Materials Management. Competitors and Self-Performers in the program are all eligible for Achievement Ribbons.

Media Coverage

Sustainable Pittsburgh Challenge participants may also be featured by regional news outlets.  In previous years, the program and its participants have been featured by the Pittsburgh Business Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 90.5 WESA radio, WPXI, NEXTpittsburgh and the PA Environment Digest. 

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