Maintain the Momentum: St. Louis as a Climate Leader

It’s been an important year for fostering green buildings in the St. Louis region and I’m very proud that our USGBC- Missouri Gateway Chapter has played a pivotal role. From existing buildings to new construction, we know that buildings play a crucial role in meeting the urgent challenge of climate change. According to the Energy Information Administration, buildings in the United States are responsible for over 40% of national greenhouse gas emissions. The City of St. Louis’s 2015 greenhouse gas inventory revealed that local impacts are much higher; residential and commercial buildings are responsible for over 60% of greenhouse gas emissions.

With the latest Special Report from the International Panel on Climate Change and the just-released Fourth National Climate Assessment Report, it’s even more clear that the critical time for climate action is now. It’s critical that we change the way we build and operate our existing and new buildings. We also must focus on wellness for building occupants inside and out and better adapt to changing conditions.

I want to share some of our 2018 accomplishments today and invite you to join us in the work ahead. Your support makes a significant difference to our community and region:

Benchmarking energy and water use continues to be front and center following the old adage “you can’t improve what you don’t measure.” We played a major role in educating building owners and managers on the benchmarking requirements after last year’s passage of the City of St. Louis’ Building Energy Awareness Ordinance. So far in 2018, The Chapter has held 22 Benchmarking Trainings serving over 200 building representatives.

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In addition to supporting the City, our work in Better Buildings through Benchmarking continues to grow with benchmarking assistance to municipalities in St. Louis County, schools, and congregations.

With the help of funding from Ameren Missouri and an individual donor, our Benchmarking Intern, Mat Emden, is assisting Maplewood, MO; Clayton, MO; Wildwood, MO; and St. Charles County Library to benchmark their building energy use.

The Chapter also actively participated in the City of St. Louis’ selection as a one of the 20 Bloomberg Philanthropies’ America Cities Climate Challenge. This will focus on leveraging existing benchmarking and financial programs to significantly improve energy efficiency of private-sector buildings as well as develop and execute a comprehensive solar action strategy. All issues important to our goals of reducing emissions and improving health and wellness for our region.

Along with multiple partners, we also helped advocate for the successful adoption of the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for the City of St. Louis which will help drive energy efficiency for all new construction and major renovation

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But wait, there’s more! Our Missouri Gateway Chapter embarked on a brand new collaboration this year with the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), the creators of the Living Building Challenge (LBC). We now house the St. Louis Regional Collaborative of ILFI. This brings resources on a wide range of rating systems including SITES, WELL, ParkSmart, LEED and now LBC all under one virtual roof for our region.

All this has been happening while our ongoing programs continued to provide excellent educational opportunities from inspirational to in-depth covering topics from lighting, sustainable operations and district energy systems to a full day Water Blitz attended by area leaders. In addition, we offered in-depth sessions on the WELL, SITES and LEED rating systems.

Finally, once again we had another tremendous year with our Green Schools Quest where we paired 57 school-mentor teams for the 2017-18 school year. Over 5,000 students and staff participated in sustainability projects reaching an additional 30,000 community members. And participation in the 2018-19 school year is our highest levels yet!

As you can tell, your USGBC – Missouri Gateway Chapter has been very busy putting into action our mission of “transforming the built environment” for our region. Please join us by supporting our work this year. We can’t get there without each of you. Join me in supporting this important work by making a donation today!

DONATE NOW


Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, LEED Fellow

Chair, Board of Directors

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

View More:  News and Notes

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