Archive for May, 2011

Dan Chiras: Success with Natural Building Materials

Presented in partnership with the Eastern Missouri Group of the Sierra Club

Click here to view a list of program attendees

Speaker Dan Chiras will describe the many natural building material options available to architects, builders, and homeowners.  Mass and insulation properties of each material, and how local climate affects the choice of material will be discussed.  A number of technical issues will be explored, such as foundation types, wall framing options, load-bearing vs. nonload bearing, prepping walls for plasters, which plasters work best (provide the best protection) for straw bale, as well as some red flag issues such as insects, rodents, fire and moisture and steps to take to avoid them.

– Describe many natural building material options available and how climate affects the choice of materials
-Explain how to design a home for natural materials, especially straw bale, including proper foundation, moisture control, appropriate foundation types, wall framing options, prepping walls for plasters, and which plasters work best (provide the best protection) for straw bale
-Explore key red flag issues such as insects, rodents, fire and moisture, and steps that can be taken to avoid them
-Apply this information to new designs

Dan Chiras, Founder and Director of The Evergreen Institute

Dan Chiras, Ph.D., is author of two popular books on natural building, The Natural House and The Natural Plaster Book. He has consulted on, designed and built natural homes, and has taught natural building, including straw bale construction, for nearly a decade.  He is founder and director of The Evergreen Institute.



1 GBCI CE Hour


Tuesday, July 12, 2011
5:30 – 6:15 pm – Registration & Networking
6:15 – 7:30 pm – Formal Presentation

Ameren Missouri
1901 Chouteau, St. Louis, MO 63103

Free for USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Members, Sierra Club Members and Full-time Students
$20 for Non-members

Click here to visit our Event Registration page.  Scroll down and click the “Register” button under the Dan Chiras: Success with Natural Building Materials event listing.

QUESTIONS? Contact USGBC-Missouri Gateway staff by email or phone (314) 577-0225.

Thanks to our Program Sponsors!

Butterfly Energy Works

Straight Up Solar


New Member Welcome Event

A special New Member only event for members who have joined the Chapter within the last six months!

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The U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter welcomes you to come socialize and get acquainted with USGBC-Missouri Gateway!  Chapter officers, past and present, will be on hand to share the chapter’s history, highlight member benefits & opportunities, and answer questions.  Attendees will have the opportunity to meet fellow new members while enjoying complimentary appetizers and drinks.

After new members have learned about the chapter, Saint Louis based construction and design firm UIC + CDO will introduce attendees to the City Garden Montessori Charter School, a LEED Registered project, as well as the Botanical Grove residential development which focuses on green building within and the historic context of the western half of the Botanical Heights Neighborhood. The event will close with a short walk to view the future site of the City Garden Montessori School and Botanical Grove homes under construction.


What USGBC-Missouri Gateway New Member Welcome Event
When Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 4:30 – 6:00 pm
Where CONFLUENCE Design | Fabrication
1626 Tower Grove Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63110
Located directly across the street from the UIC + CDO offices.
Metered street parking is available on Tower Grove Ave. and on McRee Ave.

exterior panoramic 1

RSVP Click here to visit the Event Registration page of our website.  Then scroll down and click the “Register” button under the New Member Event listing.

Thanks to our Event Host & Sponsor!


Questions? Contact USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter staff at (314) 577-0225.

Extreme Treehouse Exhibit & Treemendous at Missouri Botanical Garden!


Branch out from the ordinary notion of tree houses with an imaginative and creative display of non-traditional structures. View the winning works of a juried competition to build non-traditional, ground level structures beneath the canopy of some of the Garden’s most majestic trees.  Come see this exhibit at the Missouri Botanical Garden April 30 – August 21, 9am – 5pm daily!

Local designers, architects, schools, studios and individuals – some of them USGBC-Missouri Gateway Members – designed and built nine creative and imaginative structures with sustainability in mind. Some of what you’ll see if you visit the Extreme Treehouse Exhibit are:

  • Inside the Tree House, a hexagonal-shaped house sprouting from the giant seed pod of a maple tree and incorporating a green roof, solar power and rain water collection
  • A Treed Place of Play, which recreates impromptu hideouts found and explored by children and features salvaged lumber and solar powered lighting
  • Reflections Tree House, located beneath a sycamore tree, designed by Ranken Technical College students and inspired by the aerial and buttress roots cast by many larger trees  
  • A “Living” Room in a Garden, which is fashioned as a living room with a grand tree instead of a hearth and defined by salvaged Christmas trees recycled into construction material 

Learn more about the Extreme Tree House Exhibit, which is just one of the highlights of the Garden’s TREEmendous year of activities in recognition of the United Nations (UN) International Year of Forest. For more information, visit

Thanks to USGBC-Missouri Gateway members Geoffrey Crowley, Tiffany King, Tom Prost and Kurt Thompson, who served as judges for the Extreme Tree House Exhibit! 

Above & Beyond Chapter Volunteer Recognition – May

USGBC-Missouri Gateway is committed to recognizing volunteers who have contributed significantly to the Chapter, devoting time and talents “above and beyond” on a particular project or program! This month, we are happy to recognize Chrissy Hill of the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Marketing Committee, nominated by fellow committee member, Don Thieman for her myriad accomplishments over the past year!

chrissy hill pic

Chrissy Hill is a Senior Associate at Arcturis. She has been a member since 2006. She has served on the Marketing Committee for the past several years and previously served on the Membership Committee and the Greening the Heartland planning committee. In her capacity on the Marketing Committee, she has been key to several committee successes. This year, Chrissy has:

  • Designed and produced advertisements in honor of our 10 Year Anniversary for The Healthy Planet (print) and St. Louis Urban Review (blog).
  • Completed the research and production of multiple LEED Project Profiles and reviewed many others. Chrissy was instrumental in the creation of our first three profiles, which really helped get the process off the ground. She continues to oversee the production of additional profiles. You can see her handiwork on the LEED Projects Page of the website.
  • Served on the 2011Growing Green Awards planning committee. Chrissy served as liaison to the venue and caterer for this year’s Growing Green Awards, overseeing multiple tasks and decision regarding venue and menu selection. She also secured the music and assisted with event promotion.
  • Designed and produced an amazing and giant wall-sized timeline of Chapter’s history in honor of our 10-Year Anniversary. The document was debuted at the Growing Green Awards and March and will be displayed at select future programs and in the Chapter office. It will also be included in the Chapter’s 10-Year Anniversary document.

Thanks Chrissy for your tireless efforts on behalf of green building & the Chapter!

See previous Above and Beyond honorees here.