U.S. Green Building Council - Missouri Gateway Chapter Blog
Welcome to the USGBC-MO Gateway Blog, a place for the Chapter to share information on green building, LEED, sustainability and other "elements of green" in and around the St. Louis area.

Members in the News: Dan Jay featured by Mayor Slay

Posted: April 4th, 2014

Member Dan Jay, of Christner Inc, was recently featured in a blog post on Mayor Francis Slay’s website. Titled “STL Pop. 500,000,” the post explores a question the architect has been posing to thinkers throughout our region: What would the City of St. Louis look like with a population of 500,000?

Check out the post for Mayor Slay’s exploration of the question. Congratulations to Dan!

Congrats to 2014 Growing Green Award Winners!

Posted: March 28th, 2014

We are so pleased to be able to recognize individuals and organizations in our community that share our mission and vision to make every building a green building and every community a green community!

Awards were presented at the 6th Annual Growing Green Awards on March 27 to:

  • Emerging Leader: Maryville University’s USGBC Student Group
  • Education: MICDS
  • Operational Excellence: St. Louis Zoo
  • Restoration: Green Street St. Louis
  • Innovation: Gary Steps, Butterfly Energy Works
  • Community Champion: Deb Frank, Missouri Botanical Garden

Congratulations to the awardees and all the nominees. Download a list of all the 2014 Nominees. Learn more about their sustainable accomplishments here.

Learn more about the Growing Green Awards.

March Above & Beyond Volunteer Recognition: Green Schools Quest Mentors!

Posted: March 24th, 2014

The 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 our Green Schools Quest Mentors for their hard work supporting the schools participating in the Green Schools Quest to implement low to no cost sustainability projects.

2013-14 Green Schools Quest Mentors

Alyse Garbisch,  HOK
Anna Vogel
Barb Anderson,  Oates Associates
Becky Finch,  Microgrid Solar
Bob Shaw,  MICDS
Brandon Walker,  Positive & Productive Innovations
Carolyn Green, Green Design
Chris Laughman, Graybar
Cindy Bambini, Brightergy
Erik Lueders, Parkway School District
Franklin P. Eppert, P.E., AFRAM Corporation
James Dice, Energy Systems Group
James M. Prince, M360, Inc.
Jessica Scott
Jessie Hoagland, Green Spiral Tours
John Hulse, StraightUp Solar
Katherine Golden, EarthWays Center of Missouri Botanical Garden
Katie Belisle-Iffrig, Code Green Collaborative
Katy Mike Smaistrla, University of Missouri – St. Louis
Kerry Herr, CRB Engineers
Mary Ann Lazarus, MALeco
Mary Fitzgerald
Mary Kay Campbell, St. Louis Green
Melissa Breed-Parks, Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School
Michael Kulik, Enterprise Holdings Inc.
Michelle Rook
Mike Mueller, CJAP
Nancy Nafe
Natalie Ellis, University of Missouri – Columbia
Paul A. Williams, RideFinders
Ralph Bicknese, Hellmuth + Bicknese Architects
Randall Lewis, Walsh & Associates, Inc.
Rob Dedrik, MO State Recycling Program
Ron Morlen
Ross Watson, Jacobs Engineering
Sam Welge, M360, Inc
Susan Lanigan
Susan Maag, SLM Consulting, LLC
Todd Bundren, Lawrence Group
Tony Ruebsam, Northstar Management

The Green Schools Quest challenges public and private schools in the Chapter’s territory to devise and implement creative, effective and no or low cost sustainability projects. Each school was paired with a volunteer mentor, who offered resources, advice, and help as the school developed, implemented and documented their project.

Submissions describing the schools’ successes were due earlier this month, and our judges are currently busy reviewing the results! Three outstanding participants in each category (elementary school, middle/junior high school, and high school) will receive cash awards and trophies for their projects. The Green Schools Committee will present awards to winning teams and their schools at school or school board meetings between mid-April and mid-May, 2014.

Congratulations to all of our mentors for their hard work to make the Green Schools Quest a success! Winning schools will be showcased at the upcoming Green Schools Event on April 29, 3:30 – 6:30 pm at the Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School. Save the Date and stay tuned for further information about this free event.

April Program & St. Louis Earth Day Symposium

Posted: March 20th, 2014

USGBC- Missouri Gateway Chapter April Program: Cole Roberts

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter, St. Louis Earth Day, and the Construction Specifications Institute have partnered to combine the Chapter’s April Program with the April 1st Plenary of the St. Louis Earth Day Symposium.

Join us for a presentation by Cole Roberts, Associate Principle of Energy & Resource Sustainability at Arup and co-author of “Two Degrees- Our Built Environment and the Changing Climate.”

Cole will discuss risk, vulnerability and integrated adaptation as they relate to climate change, as well as the notion of climate positive communities. The presentation will explore what to focus on today for future resilience. Please note the unique timing and location of this program!

WHEN: April 1, 1:15 – 2:00 pm – Formal Presentation
please arrive and check-in at 1:00 pm

While networking and food will not be provided for those only attending the plenary presentation, registrants are welcomed to pay a fee of $20 for lunch if interested in attending the Symposium’s lunch and networking period (12:00 – 1:15 pm).

WHERE: Powder Valley Nature Center
11715 Cragswold Road, Kirkwood, MO 63122

FEE: Free to USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter members,
students, and Symposium attendees.

REGISTER: USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter members and students only attending the April 1st plenary should register on our website. All others may register for the Symposium, details are included below.

2014 St. Louis Earth Day Symposium

The Earth Day Symposium provides educational and networking opportunities for local government officials, community leaders, and professionals from diverse backgrounds in the planning and environmental fields.

The theme of the 2014 Symposium, “Regional Sustainability; Vision and Reality” uses the goals and objectives of the newly adopted regional plan for sustainable development (OneSTL) as a starting point; presentations will share case studies, best practices and strategies for implementing projects and plans that will contribute to achieving sustainability goals. Meet this year’s  keynote speakers and view the agenda.

WHEN: April 1: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, April 2: 8:30 am – 2 pm

WHERE: Powder Valley Nature Center,
11715 Cragwold Road, Kirkwood, MO 63122


Full Conference (April 1-2)
$100 for USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter members
$125 for non-members
$45 for students

Single Day:
April 1
: $75 for Chapter members, $85 for non-members,
$30 for students
April 2
: $50 for Chapter members, $60 for non-members,
$20 for students

REGISTER: Click here for more information and to register for the St. Louis Earth Day Symposium

Greenbuild Stories: Sean Madden, St. Louis Youthbuild

Posted: March 17th, 2014

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter is collecting stories from members who attended the 2013 International Greenbuild Conference in Philadelphia, and we’re excited to share Chapter member Sean Madden’s story below. Sean recently completed a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with St. Louis YouthBuild, and received a scholarship to attend Greenbuild from the national USGBC.

In November 2013, I was given the opportunity to go to Greenbuild as a USGBC scholarship recipient. The other 60 recipients came from all over the world and from all different backgrounds. It was a pleasure to be able to connect with like-minded individuals with new perspectives on the problems we are all combating.

While spreading the green mentality to all corners of the world is paramount to the success of future generations, we must not shy away from the poverty-stricken – and often dilapidated – urban centers within our own borders and zip codes. In St. Louis, and many cities across America, there are blocks upon blocks of not only unsustainable living quarters, but entire neighborhoods of unlivable “homes”.

While at Greenbuild, I was able to see how some other cities have dealt with large-scale affordable housing – most notably in Boston and Philadelphia. Seeing how these projects have achieved Passive House (a phrase which I learned at Greenbuild) and other certifications, opened my eyes to projects St. Louis needs to be thinking about in the very near future.

Beyond the big, multimillion dollar large-scale affordable housing collaborative efforts, there are simple measures companies, citizens and training programs can begin to employ to increase the longevity and sustainability of their current properties. Learning more of these methods is one thing I set my sights on for the New Year.

Being a part of the YouthBuild family, I got the opportunity to spend an afternoon at YouthBuild Philly: a charter school and the preeminent YouthBuild program in the country by almost all accounts. It was impressive to see how they work with 250 students a semester (St. Louis YouthBuild currently works with about 70 students every two years) and what kind of extra-curricular activities they offer their students.

The only thing about my time in Philadelphia that disappointed me was the Liberty Bell and Philly Cheesesteaks. Perhaps I was expecting more, or maybe Greenbuild set my standards so high earlier in the week that I should not have expected the rest of the city to live up that.

Thanks to Sean for sharing his experiences! Have a Greenbuild Story you’d like to share? Contact Johanna Schweiss, volunteer & outreach coordinator.

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter is now accepting applications for our 2014 Greenbuild Scholarships. Learn more and download the application here.


Now Accepting Greenbuild Scholarship Applications!

Posted: March 11th, 2014

USGBC-Missouri Gateway believes that everyone should have access to green buildings and green communities as well as green building education. Through our scholarship program, we hope to increase the participation of those interested in serving communities not typically represented in the areas of sustainability

We raised enough money at our annual ECORIDE in October 2013 to provide several scholarships to 2014 Greenbuild in New Orleans, LA October 22 – 24! We are thrilled to offer this opportunity to those living and/or working within our Chapter territory!

Scholarships are available in two tracks:

  • Track 1 – Full Scholarship (1 available)
  • Track 2 – Student or Emerging Professional Scholarship (3 available)

Scholarship applications are due April 15, 2014 – NEW DEADLINE: APRIL 22!

Download the scholarship application:

  • Track 1 – Full Scholarship – PDF or MS Word.
  • Track 2 – Student or Emerging Professional Scholarship – PDF or MS Word.

For more information about our scholarship program and the annual ECORIDE, visit our website here.


FREE Targeted Energy Management Trainings

Posted: March 5th, 2014

Southwestern Illinois College is offering two upcoming trainings free of charge.

The trainings are part of the Illinois Community College Targeted Energy Management Training Program hosted by the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN) with support from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DECO).

Preventative and Predictive Maintenance Equipment Best Practices
Sustainability, Green and Future Growth through Proactive Maintenance – This training will discuss and demonstrate how keeping equipment operating within design limits will minimize environmental risks, reduce maintenance and operational cost, and energy usage. The training will identify how to maintain equipment resulting in electrical, gas, and fuel savings, as well as increasing capacity through the elimination of downtime.

WHEN: April 23, 2014, 8am-5pm

WHERE: Southwestern Illinois College, Information Sciences Building, Room 2020


  • Local professionals including: business owners, energy managers, facility operators, industry and manufacturing building owners, contractors, building officials, and municipal representatives
  • Community college faculty, staff, and students

Click here to learn more about the April 23 training.

Saving Energy in Commercial & Industrial Facilities: 3 Measurement Tools You Need to Know About to Maximize Savings
This 4-hour training will introduce three measurement tools and techniques that have proven invaluable for evaluating energy consumption and identifying energy loss and savings opportunities in facilities. The following applications will be explored: infrared thermal imagers, power quality analyzers, and ultrasound receivers in the context of energy audits and maintenance of facility infrastructure.

WHEN: May 7, 2014, 8am-12pm OR 1pm-5pm

WHERE: Southwestern Illinois College, Information Sciences Building, Room 2020


  • Local professionals including: business owners, energy managers, facility operators, industrial and manufacturing building owners, contractors, service providers, building officials, and municipal representatives
  • Community college faculty, staff, and students

Click here to learn more about the May 7 training.

Questions? Contact Donna Forsyth, SelsiusTM Corporate and Career Training 618-222-5570 | donna.forsyth@swic.edu

February Above & Beyond Volunteer Recognition

Posted: February 21st, 2014

The 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 Lynn Larkin of Design Extra for her dedicated efforts on the Membership Committee, Leadership Circle, Board and LEED Community Project!

Lynn was nominated by Paul Todd Merrill, Chair of the Membership Committee, for her tireless efforts to promote the Chapter. Lynn enthusiastically takes on whatever task the committee is faced with, whether it be welcoming new members to the Chapter, reminding lapsed members to renew, recruiting national members, or organizing the Chapter’s new member events.

Lynn serves as the Membership Committee’s representative on the Chapter’s Leadership Circle and as the Leadership Circle’s representative to the Board. Additionally, Lynn is volunteering with the LEED Community Project, assisting Forest Park Forever complete LEED Documentation for the Forest Park Visitor & Education Center. She is consistently enthusiastic, professional, and a pleasure to work with. Thanks to Lynn for your leadership and hard work!

In Memory of Brooks Critchfield

Posted: February 4th, 2014

It was with sadness that we learned of the passing of Brooks Critchfield on January 15 after her battle with cancer. Brooks was a member of the Chapter for 8 years and a champion of sustainable design and construction. She oversaw the LEED process onsite for many projects, ensuring that the project team complied with green building requirements and guidelines. Since her passing, many Chapter members have shared their stories and expressed their respect for Brooks; the green building community will miss her leadership, expertise and great attitude.

Paul Todd Merrill, an active Chapter member, worked with Brooks on several projects. He said that “her drive, creativity and collaborative skills were instrumental in rallying design and construction team members on many complicated, budget sensitive projects.  We always appreciated having Brooks involved in our projects because she maintained attention to a project’s sustainable goals, offered constructive suggestions on detailed design decisions and was a watchdog for keeping us a responsible building partner.”

According to Jen Kissinger, also an active Chapter member who worked with Brooks, “She was extremely effective at making sure that the integrity of the LEED building process was respected and followed. She was a great teacher and example to all of us in the green building industry. Personally, Brooks was my mentor and role model of how to be a professional in this industry and be a great mother at the same time.”

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter has made a donation to Forest Park Forever in Brooks’s memory, and our thoughts are with her family. An obituary is available online here.

January Above & Beyond Volunteer Recognition

Posted: January 31st, 2014

The 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 Jan Niehaus of Communication by Design for her dedicated efforts to promote the Chapter’s soon-to-be launched Green Building Experts program!

Jan was nominated by Steve O’Rourke, Chair of the Marketing Committee, for her efforts to create the Green Building Experts program.  Jan conceived the idea, bringing it back to the Marketing Committee and Chapter leadership for buy-in.

Steve said “She created a draft of the concept and execution plan, and lead the team that fleshed out the details.  This project required integration with our website and back-end membership database, creating a number of technical hurdles to overcome.  Without her leadership, this project would not have been the success that it ultimately will be!” The USGBC- Missouri Gateway Chapter couldn’t agree more- Jan’s work on this project has been instrumental.

Jan has been a dedicated volunteer for several years, and has previously served as Chair of the Marketing Committee and as the Leadership Circle Representative to the Board. In addition, she was recognized as an Above & Beyond volunteer in 2010. Congratulations to Jan and thanks for all of your hard work!