To create a greener enterprise, you need the right tools. But as with any emerging area of technology, you can\u2019t necessarily pick them off the shelf. Three of this year\u2019s CIO 100 winners found ways to advance sustainability in their companies or industries by crafting new IT-enabled business practices that not only improved efficiency but also set the stage for business growth.\n \n \n Modernizing the Power GridElectric utilities must modernize just to meet growing demand, including for alternative energy sources. \u201cConsumer patterns of buying energy will change when they start plugging in hybrid vehicles,\u201d observes Tony Giroti, CEO of Bridge Energy Group. Utilities need data to manage electricity generation better and deliver new services to customers.\n \n \n \n As Bridge Energy worked with utility clients to update their operations and integrate siloed systems, the company found a void. The utilities were missing enterprise architectures that could actually guide their integration efforts, whether internally or among industry partners and customers. So Bridge Energy created its CIO 100 Award-winning open Smart Grid Reference Architecture, which is being used to create a standard for the industry. \u201cEvery organization will have different tactical needs,\u201d says Giroti, but a reference architecture provides a common framework for addressing them.\n A New Supply ChainThe supply chain for distributing fossil fuels is well established\u2014and well automated. Not so for renewable fuels and supplements such as ethanol and biodiesel. \u201cThe technology and the accounting and the administrative and regulatory compliance was an absolute requirement to get that product into the fuel supply chain efficiently and economically,\u201d says Mansfield Oil CIO Douglas Haugh.\n \n \n \n To fill the gap, the fuel-distribution company created Renewable FuelNet (RFN) a cloud-based Web service for managing the renewables supply chain. Among its other features, RFN enables buyers and sellers to make deals, track shipments and comply with regulations.\n \n Since last year, when RFN went live, Mansfield Oil\u2019s renewable fuel volume has increased by a third. As the renewables industry expands, it will likely include many more small producers, Haugh says. \u201cThat makes being able to plug into the fuel supply chain more important for the local facility,\u201d he adds, and RFN provides Mansfield Oil with a competitive advantage.\n Savings Behind the ScenesSome consumer companies, however, may avoid certain green technologies because customers don\u2019t like them. When Leisure Sports, which develops and manages high-end fitness clubs and hotels, installed low-flow shower heads, the effort backfired. \u201cIt\u2019s forced us to look at other areas where we can save energy and not impact the guests,\u201d says Director of IT Travis Shannon.\n \n \n \n For its CIO 100-winning project, Leisure Sports teamed with Pelican Wireless Systems to retrofit the hotel room thermostats in its Renaissance ClubSport Walnut Creek facility (which the company manages for Marriott) and integrate them with the hotel property-management system. Now, when a guest checks out, the thermostat is turned down until a new guest checks in\u2014cutting heating and cooling costs by about 25 percent in June alone. Shannon says guests haven\u2019t noticed any change.\n \n Companies like Leisure Sports, Mansfield Oil and Bridge Energy are leading the way with IT-enabled green business practices. What\u2019s holding your company back from doing the same?\n \nContact Executive Editor Elana Varon at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: twitter.com\/elanavaron.