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.

Above + Beyond Volunteer Recognition: Linda Daniel

Posted: January 11th, 2017

linda-danielThe USGBC-Missouri Gateway is committed to recognizing volunteers who contribute significantly to the Chapter, devoting time and talents “above and beyond” on a particular project or program. We are happy to recognize Linda Daniel of Linda Daniel LLC for her hard work with the USGBC-MO Gateway’s Advocacy Committee to support faith communities as they green their houses of worship.

Linda was nominated by Admo Ogun, past chair of the USGBC-MO Gateway Chapter’s Advocacy Committee. Linda has mentored numerous churches and synagogues as they benchmark their building energy use in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. She also took on the commitment of representing the Chapter on the planning committee for Greening Your Community, the joint program with Missouri Interfaith Power & Light and the Jewish Environmental Initiative. She is currently making plans to verify the application for what we hope will become our region’s first ENERGY STAR certified congregation!

Thanks for your hard work, passion and leadership Linda!

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Above & Beyond Volunteer Recognition: Kristin McKee

Posted: January 11th, 2017

kristin-mckeeThe USGBC-Missouri Gateway is committed to recognizing volunteers who  contribute significantly to the Chapter, devoting time and talents “above and beyond” on a particular project or program. We are happy to recognize Kristin McKee of Lockheed Martin Energy for her service with the USGBC-MO Gateway’s Advocacy Committee and her leadership organizing the Sustainability Plan Builder workshop with Thomas Dunn Learning Center.

Kristin McKee, nominated by Admo Ogun, past Advocacy Committee Chair, for her work leading the Advocacy Committee’s efforts to assist Thomas Dunn Learning Center green their building operations. She first helped them benchmark their building energy use in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, then led the coordination and facilitation of a Sustainability Plan Builder Workshop this past April. Since that time, Kristin has been working with a team of volunteers to help Thomas Dunn meet their sustainability goals.

Thanks to Kristin for her hard work and leadership!

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Above & Beyond Volunteer Recognition: Katie Belisle-Iffrig

Posted: January 11th, 2017

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway is committed to recognizing volunteers who  contribute significantly to the Chapter, devoting time and talents “above and beyond” on a particular project or program. We are happy to recognize Katie Belisle-Iffrig of Code Green Collaborative for her leadership with the Green Schools Committee, the Green Schools Educator Think Tank, and the Sustainability Institute for Educators.

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Katie was nominated by her USGBC-MO Gateway Green Schools Committee co-chair Ed Choklek for her deep dedication to sustainability initiatives with area K-12 schools and her leadership of the Green Schools Committee. Under her leadership, the Green Schools Quest has grown from 38 participants to nearly 50 participants. Additionally, the Annual Green Schools Event was revamped to increase student involvement. In 2015, Katie spearheaded the formation of the Green Schools Think Tank, a group of 25 educators who provide feedback to the Green Schools Committee for future initiatives and programs. Their periodic meetings have fostered a collaborative network of teachers who share ideas and best practices.

Katie – thank you so much for your contributions to the USGBC-MO Gateway’s green schools success!

 




Above & Beyond Volunteer Recognition: Nick Arb

Posted: January 11th, 2017

nick-arb-headshot The USGBC-Missouri Gateway is committed to recognizing volunteers who  contribute significantly to the Chapter, devoting time and talents “above and beyond” on a particular project or program. We are happy to recognize Nick Arb of Mid America Metals for his leadership organizing the Emerging Professionals service project at EarthDance Farms in August 2016.

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Nick was nominated by Chad Coker, chair of the USGBC-MO Gateway’s Higher Ed & Emerging Professionals committee, for organizing the planning, staffing, and execution of a service day at EarthDance farms. The goal of the work day was to create an organized materials storage area and structure on the farm. The existing pile of salvaged and reusable supplies was spread across the ground but was not organized or protected in any way. By the end of the project there was a gravel patch of ground with storage bins, containers, and covered storage that organized the salvageable pieces that EarthDance had collected over the years.

Many thanks to Nick for his hard work and leadership!

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USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Seeks Intern

Posted: January 5th, 2017

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter seeks an energetic and skilled part-time intern with a wide range of administrative, organizational, and technical skills to assist with general Chapter operations. The internship position will report to the Education & Green Schools Coordinator and support the activities of the Chapter’s volunteer-led committees.

A job description and internship details are available online here. Interested applicants should email a cover letter and resume, with references to: Hope Gribble, Education and Green Schools Manager




Resourceful Schools Project: We Are One Ocean

Posted: November 30th, 2016

By Margaret Lilly, Environmental Representative, St. Louis County Department of Public Healthstl-county-health-blog-post

 

The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health Resourceful Schools Project (RSP) is a free resource to schools located in St. Louis County seeking to contribute to a more sustainable world.   Our current favorite program is helping schools make the St. Louis connection to ocean pollution.

The RSP unit “Plastic Pollution” helps students learn about the Mississippi watershed and the journey of plastic washed into our rivers that ends up in the North Atlantic Ocean.  As the plastic breaks into tiny pieces called microplastics, the particles are eaten by zooplankton enter our food chain at the most basic level.

Hands-On Learning

Through a lab experiment, students in 6th -12th grade identify tiny pieces of plastic by their resin number and compare the results with containers they found at home.  Schools combine this lesson with a related service project in their neighborhood by:

  • Being a part of a stream cleanup.
  • Conducting a litter patrol.
  • Constructing a sculpture using the recyclables found and displaying it at school to boost the recycling program.
  • Participating in the MSD stormwater art education project and painting a stormwater inlet near the school. RSP can provide the paint and supplies for schools in St. Louis County.

Using refillable bottles and installing water bottle filling stations may seem like a small way to “Green a School”.  By providing related education on the problem of microplastic pollution, using a refillable water bottle demonstrates that sometimes even the smallest choices we make matter, and that is a big deal!

To learn more about the free recycling and waste reduction programs and support we can provide for your school (including grants for water bottle filling stations!) please contact Margaret Lilly at mlilly@stlouisco.com or visit www.resourcefulschools.org

St Louis County Department of Public Health

 




A Look Back at 15 years of Green Building, a Look Forward to the Work Ahead

Posted: November 29th, 2016

By George Fujii, 2016 USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Board Chair

15 years ago, 15 dedicated volunteers came together to form an organization dedicated to green building education and advocacy, to making every building a green building, because they knew that Green Buildings Are Better.

In honor of this milestone, the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter’s interactive Green Buildings Are Better display has been traveling throughout the region collecting your comments about how green buildings are better for living, working, learning, and playing. I thought I’d share a few highlights with you today.

Green buildings are better because “45% of U.S. emissions come from residential and commercial building operation – every green building counts!”

Green buildings use less energy, and consequently produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions and contribute less to global climate change. Nationally, energy used in buildings is responsible for almost half of our greenhouse gas emissions, and in the City of St. Louis commercial and residential buildings are the source of almost 70% of emissions (according to their 2010 greenhouse gas inventory). Buildings are an important piece of any effective climate action. Though reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings may seem like a challenge, in reality it is a huge opportunity!

Green buildings are better because “they cost less to operate”

All buildings, no matter how they were originally built, can become greener by pursuing energy efficiency strategies. The average building wastes 30% of the energy it consumes due to inefficiencies, according to the EPA, and many energy efficiency measures are possible through low and no cost operational improvements. Both Ameren Missouri and Laclede Gas offer financial incentives for energy efficiency measures, making improvements even more cost effective. No matter where you start, there are energy and cost savings to realize.

Green buildings are better for business and the bottom line beyond just their low operating costs. LEED buildings consistently demand competitive real estate prices, according to a 2014 peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Science and Technology.

And green construction creates jobs. A 2015 Green Building Economic Impact study prepared by Booz Allen Hamilton for the U.S. Green Building Council found that green construction in Missouri will account for more than 190,000 jobs and will generate over $11 billion in labor earnings by 2018.

Green buildings are better because “green buildings are healthy buildings”

As Americans, we spend 90% of our time indoors, and the indoor environmental quality of the buildings we inhabit has a big impact on our health. According to a recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health, people that work in green certified buildings have higher cognitive function scores, better quality sleep, and fewer health symptoms than workers in other buildings. They also reported a higher sense of satisfaction with their work environment. The greatest cognitive function differences were seen in crisis response, the ability to make decisions with overall goals in mind, the ability to focus on the situation at hand, and strategizing. Pretty important functions for all employees, no matter their industry.

Once you consider that 90% of the costs of operating a building are associated with the people inside of it, the benefit of pursuing the positive productivity impacts of green building start to make a lot of sense. Building owners are paying attention; a recent SmartMarket report by Dodge Data & Analytics revealed that 67% of building owners are interested in creating healthier buildings for people.

Green buildings are better because “They help build a sustainable future”

As we look forward to the next 15 years, I hope you join us as we strive to make every building a green building. For the sake of our economy, for the sake of our health, for the sake of our future, I encourage you to consider making a donation to support this important work this holiday season.

Donate Now

Wishing you the best,

George Fujii

2016 USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Board Chair




Nominate a Volunteer for Above + Beyond Recognition!

Posted: October 26th, 2016

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The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter 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. We are currently seeking Above + Beyond nominations for volunteers that have performed outstanding work over the past year!

Please complete this online form to nominate a current volunteer for Above + Beyond recognition. Nominations are due on December 31st by 11:59 pm.

Nominated volunteers will be recognized at the State of the Chapter and Social in January of 2017.




Announcing the winners of our 5th Annual Photo Contest

Posted: October 20th, 2016

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 USGBC-MGC Photo Contest! In honor of the Chapter’s 15 year anniversary, the theme of this year’s contest was Green Buildings Are Better.

The contest was open to all residents of the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter territory (Missouri & Southern Illinois). A panel of judges rated photos anonymously to award 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes. Attendees at our October 18 program Perennial Polycultures: Sustainable, Edible Landscapes had the opportunity to vote for the people’s choice award.

And the winners are (drumroll, please)….

Roxanne Nagel, 1st Place WinnerFor her first place winning photo, “A Safe Haven,” Roxanne won a complimentary home energy audit from SmartHouse Heating and Cooling and a print of her photo courtesy of NovaColor.
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Peter Baechle, 2nd Place WinnerFor his second place winning photo of a Webster University rain garden, Peter wins one year of Missouri Botanical Garden membership, a retail gift card, and a print of his photo courtesy of NovaColor.
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Steve O’Rourke, 3rd Place WinnerFor his third place winning photo, “Rain Garden,” Steve wins a free pass to a USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter In-Depth Educational Seminar, a retail gift card, and a print of his photo courtesy of NovaColor.
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Roxanne Nagel, People’s Choice AwardRoxanne’s photo “Roof with a View” was selected for the People’s Choice Award by attendees of Perennial Polycultures: Sustainable, Edible Landscapes. Roxanne wins her choice of retail gift card, and a print of his photo courtesy of NovaColor.
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Many thanks to the following establishments for their prize donations!
 SmartHouse Heating & Cooling
 NovaColor

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Hendel’s Restaurant
Cork Wine Bar

 




Large Scale Rainscaping Grants Program Deadline October 31,2016

Posted: October 3rd, 2016

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Rainscaping is any combination of plantings, water features, catch basins, permeable pavement, and other activities that manage stormwater as close as possible to where it falls, rather than moving it someplace else. Below ground level, improved soils store and filter stormwater, allowing the surrounding area to slowly absorb it over time. Above ground level, native plants, basins, and water features create public green spaces that also help store water. Used effectively, rainscaping can reclaim stormwater naturally, reduce sewer overflows, and minimize basement backups.

The Rainscaping program of MSD Project Clear has announced  the fifth round of a rainscaping cost-sharing opportunity. MSD seeks to continue to build partnerships with municipalities, local government agencies, schools, community development organizations, and private developers through the Rainscaping Large Scale Grants Program.

Visit the Project Clear Website for the rules and requirements for partnering with MSD Project Clear, an application form, and a map showing the program area for the Rainscaping projects. Please note that the application deadline for the 2016 round of Rainscaping Large Scale Grants is 5:00pm on October 31, 2016.