The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and USGBC’s Northern California Chapter (USGBC-NCC) launched the California Best Buildings Challenge at the closing plenary event of the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative America, in Chicago last week. President Clinton and USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi, joined three of the six inaugural commitment participants, Genentech, Google and Prudential Real Estate Investors (PREI), on stage to announce the Challenge during the closing plenary of the popular event that draws more than 900 business, non-profit and media participants.

Inspired by the White House’s Better Buildings Challenge (BBC) and President Clinton’s pioneering work to promote sustainable buildings, the California Best Buildings Challenge consists of industry-leading firms with a strong California presence that have committed to reduce their building energy, water and waste by 20 percent in two years. Adobe, Genentech, Google, PREI, SAP and Zynga have stepped up to kick off the challenge, collectively committing five million square feet of building space from their portfolios.

“We are pleased to have these leading-edge organizations on board with this incredibly meaningful challenge,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, USGBC. “The California Best Buildings Challenge is raising the bar in terms of what is expected in the realm of corporate sustainability. We are eager to prove that curbing energy and water use and reducing waste by 20 percent in two years is not only possible, but a must-do. The goal is for this type of achievement to become the norm.”

USGBC and its Northern California Chapter are launching the California Best Buildings Challenge as a 2012 CGI America Commitment to Action and are working to inspire other leading companies to sign on. The commitment was selected by CGI America as an exemplary approach to addressing challenges in the clean electricity and efficiency space.

"As the founder of the biotechnology industry, Genentech is excited to be part of the California Best Buildings Challenge and we look forward to sharing best practices with other leading California companies. As we continually strive to create and deliver innovative medicines for patients, we also seek to employ new, more sustainable technologies and processes in order to minimize our impact on the environment," said Carla Boragno, Vice President of Site Services, Genentech.

"When it comes to greening our office buildings, we apply the same focus that we use for any of our products: put the user first. Improving the environmental performance of our buildings not only helps us reduce waste, save energy and water and improve indoor air quality, but also positively impacts the health and productivity of our employees around the world. Through our early participation in the California Best Buildings Challenge, we hope to inspire companies of all shapes and sizes to implement innovative approaches to reducing their environmental footprint,” said David Radcliffe, Vice President of Real Estate and Workplace Services at Google Inc.

"As a major investor in commercial real estate around the world, PREI is committed to our investors, our tenants, and each other to find creative, sustainable approaches to building, improving and managing property. We're excited to be part of the California Best Buildings Challenge as it is an opportunity to demonstrate that commitment by bringing out the best in us while improving our environmental practices," said Allen Smith, PREI’s CEO.

“SAP is committed to developing innovations that help run operations more sustainably for ourselves and our customers,” said Peter Graf, Chief Sustainability Officer, SAP. “A key part of SAP’s sustainability leadership is our dedication to environmentally-sustainable buildings, including optimizing the efficiency of our existing buildings and when creating new buildings from the ground up. By participating in the California Best Buildings Challenge, all companies have an opportunity to demonstrate how they are driving sustainability into their core business strategy and communities.”

“Zynga takes the challenge to reduce our environmental impact seriously and we are proud to be an inaugural participant of the California Best Buildings Challenge. We are committed to reducing the consumption of energy, water, and waste in our San Francisco headquarters building by 20% or more in two years. Zynga fundamentally believes that with innovation and diligence that we can achieve our commitment goals. We hope the Challenge will inspire other building owners and managers to do the same,” said Jim Morgensen, Vice President of Workplace, Zynga.