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.

Energy Efficiency & the Split Incentive Problem

Posted: August 9th, 2022

Energy Efficiency & the Split Incentive Problem: Reframing Investment in Energy Efficiency for Building Owners and Tenants

YouTube thumbnail image of cover for event recording. Photo of brick houses in background with text on top in white with blue background reading, "Tuesday July 12, 2022 Solving the Split-Incentive Problem - Reframing Investment in Energy Efficiency for Building Owners & Tenants. Presented in partnership with Building Energy Exchange St. Louis and U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter. Register for monthly evening programs: usgbc-mogateway.org/calendar. Right side with Missouri Gateway Chapter logo at top and BE-Ex STL logo on bottom right and salmon colored background with navy text reading, "@usgbcmogateway SPEAKER - Aaron Michels, Director of Operations, Energy Resources Group, Inc. PANELISTS - Kevin Bryant, Executive Founder, Developer & President, Kingsway Development. Jon Nichols, Director of Sustainability, Antheus Capital & Mac Development. Tristan Walker, Principal, Heritage Properties St. Louis."
LIVE recording, July 12, 2022 – Solving The Split Incentive Problem presentation and panelist discussion.

On the evening of July 12th, 2022, U.S. Green Building Council—Missouri Gateway Chapter hosted our monthly educational program with Building Energy Exchange St. Louis, a project of Missouri Gateway Chapter, at Rockwell Beer Company. Fueled by delicious appetizers and an open bar, the 53 attendees of the event listened to speaker Aaron Michels, Director of Operations at Energy Resources Group, Inc., discuss energy efficiency and energy inefficiency. Michels’ presentation first defined for us what the split incentive problem is, before going into consequences, case studies, and potential remedies of the issue. As defined by Michels,  

the split incentive problem is when landlords lack the appropriate incentives to implement energy efficiency measures, not only costing their tenants money, but also negatively impacting the environment by releasing more pollutants than necessary.  

Michels also highlighted how low-income tenants face energy poverty or a higher energy burden, meaning they allocate significantly more of their household income to energy expenditures than other renters. Since tenants have little power in the rental arrangement, this is a difficult situation to absolve. 

Photograph of audience in beer brewing event space. Attendees, sitting at high top tables, foreground, and in chairs with presenter and presentation screen in distance.
July 12, 2022 evening educational program attendees at Rockwell Beer Company while Aaron Michels presents, “Solving The Split Incentive Problem – Reframing Investment in Energy Efficiency for Building Owners & Tenants.”

However, Michels did provide some ideas for eliminating the issue. First, he proposed a need for increased awareness, education, and outreach among owners, tenants, and the brokerage community about the value of green leases. A green lease, in simple terms, is   

a rental agreement whereby a tenant shares the cost burden of sustainability initiatives with the building owner1.

These initiatives include expenses such as water and energy conservation, waste reduction, and recycling. Initially these investments will likely infer a cost on the parties, but will ultimately lead to savings down the line, as energy bills can be greatly decreased. 

Another remedy could be energy efficiency mortgages (PACE financing)—externally funded loans attached to the property. A benefit of this action is that capital improvements can be done at one time but paid off in installments. A third solution is on-bill financing, where capital improvements are tied directly to utility company payments and for large residential; increased incentives to counter the split incentive. On a more macro level, green building codes can be stricter, which has the potential to benefit all new housing developments, including buildings for low-income tenants. An additional policy response that has the potential to be effective is a weatherization assistance program, engaging tenants to help improve their leased space.

Photograph of 3 panelists and 1 presenter sitting at a table, inside a beer brewing event space, while attendees, 4 people pictures crowd the table for conversation. Five, large silver beer cellar tanks in background.
Speaker far right in blue, Aaron Michels and panelists from right to left; Tristan Walker, Jon Nichols, and Kevin Bryant with program attendees after Q&A at Rockwell Beer Co.

After we had a clear and comprehensive perspective on the split incentive problem, members had the opportunity to ask questions to a series of panelists who are experts in their field. The panelists included: 

  • Kevin Bryant, Executive Founder, Developer & President of Kingsway Development 
  • Jon Nichols, Director of Sustainability at Antheus Capital & Mac Development  
  • Tristan Walker, Principal of Heritage Properties St. Louis 

There were multitudes of questions ranging from “how can landlords/management companies be incentivized to improve energy efficiency” to “what can individuals do if they have a short-term lease, but still want to improve energy efficiency.”  

It was clear from the diversity and number of questions that the audience was engaged and excited to learn about the tangible changes that can be made to improve our energy footprint. I believe it is fair to say that every attendee left the program with new ideas and hope for a more equitable and environmental future. If you were not able to attend this event and would like to see what you missed, view the July 12, 2022 program recording, Solving the Split Incentive Problem – Reframing Investment in Energy Efficiency for Building Owners & Tenants.

YouTube thumbnail image of cover for event recording. Photo of rooftop solar panels with St. Louis Arch in background with text on top in navy blue with orange-yellow background reading, "Tuesday July 12, 2022 Building Energy Performance Standards - Info Session. Presented in partnership with Building Energy Exchange St. Louis and U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter. Register for monthly evening programs: usgbc-mogateway.org/calendar. Right side with Missouri Gateway Chapter logo at top and BE-Ex STL logo on bottom right and salmon colored background with navy text reading, "@usgbcmogateway SPEAKER - James Kelly, Civil servant for the City of St. Louis, Office of Building Operations. Cara Spencer, (previous) Building Energy Exchange St. Louis (BE-Ex STL) Director, Alderperson, City of St. Louis."
LIVE recording, July 12, 2022 – Building Energy Performance Standards Info Session & Building Energy Exchange St. Louis presentation.


Bird, S., & Hernández, D. (2012, September 1). Policy options for the split incentive: Increasing energy efficiency for low-income renters. Energy policy. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4819331/  

Building Energy Performance Standards Info Session – Building Energy Exchange St. Louis, City STL. YouTube. (2022, July 23). Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://youtu.be/2i8cK095ZL8  

YouTube. (n.d.). Usgbcmogateway YouTube. YouTube. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMyElVIJligezzBnnIOsORw 

A reflection post of the July evening educational program, “Solving The Split Incentive Problem – Reframing Investment in Energy Efficiency for Building Owners & Tenants” with resource links and live event recordings; written by Avery McCammon, Washington University in St. Louis undergrad student, summer 2022.

USGBC Product Solutions Showcase

Posted: July 8th, 2022

Join USGBC for a three-day dynamic and interactive event to learn about sustainable products that reduce carbon emissions, energy, water and waste consumption while also enhancing health, resiliency and circularity AND improve LEED performance and process. Win – Win – Win!
Plus earn continuing education credit!

Learn more or register!

Flyer promoting 2022 USGBC Prodcut Solutions Showcase. Rectangle with U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) logo top left and illustration of woman on laptop sitting down with illustrated product icons floating. Title reads, "2022 Community Education Series - Product Solutions Showcase"

July 26 – 28, 2022
12:00 pm – 2:30 pm CT each day

WHERE: Online!

If you are a current USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter member, you can attend for FREE. E-mail emily.andrews@mobot.org for the promo code to attend for free. Not a Missouri Gateway Member? JOIN OR RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP NOW!

  • USGBC Community Members – FREE
  • Student / Emerging Professional – $5.00
  • Non Member – $10.00


  • Tuesday, July 26 – Energy & Carbon
  • Wednesday, July 27 – Waste & Circularity
  • Thursday, July 28 – Water & Health

Nominations Open for 2023 Board Members!

Posted: July 1st, 2022

Be a part of the green building movement & help us make every building a green building!

USGBC-Missouri Gateway is currently seeking nominations for At-Large seats on our Board of Directors. All terms begin in 2023. Nominations are due by 5 pm Central Time on Monday, August 8, 2022.

Self nominations are accepted and encouraged. Nominees must be a member in good standing with USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter and must currently serve or have previously served on a Chapter committee or as a Chapter volunteer. The online nomination form, can be found here.

For more information, please see: 

In 2015, USGBC-Missouri Gateway shifted our board nomination and election process, and no longer hold general elections. Nominations are accepted from the membership. The Governance Committee collects nominations and ensures eligibility of nominees. The committee then consults a matrix of leadership needs to determine a slate to present to the board for approval. The committee expects to present a slate to the board for discussion at the September 2022 board meeting.

Winners of the 2021-22 Green Schools Quest

Posted: May 2nd, 2022

We applaud each school/mentor team that participated in the 2021-22 Green Schools Quest and worked hard over the past six months to plan and implement a sustainability project at your school!

31 schools and 28 mentors participated (see who!) and, according to the numbers in their final reports, 1,788 students and 118 faculty and staff were directly involved, and an additional 10,672 students, staff, and community members were impacted through the projects this year! Additionally, our Connect on the Quest included a total of 143 participants: 85 Speaker Series attendees & 58 YouTube Channel views.

Learn more about all of the 2021-22 GSQ participants’ projects by watching the 2021-22 GSQ Project Showcase & Winners video!

This year, we are honoring 3 elementary, 2 middle, and 1 high school projects as division winners. Each will receive a trophy and $300 prize. Additionally, five Spotlight Awards are presented across the age divisions. Spotlight Awardees receive $100 each. Congratulations to our winners!

Elementary Division Winners

Bryan Hill & Columbia Elementary Schools for Surviving, Not Thriving: A Quest for Justice – The pandemic exposed the health and wealth inequities many students are living with. Bryan Hill & Columbia focused on the immediate needs of their students, improvements to support health and wellbeing of their communities such as repairing and repainting walls to cover lead paint and re-vamping their outdoor learning spaces, as well as the need for systems-level sustainability solutions.

Carman Trails Elementary School for Reducing Landfill Waste – Two 3rd grade students wanted to reduce waste sent to the landfill, so they created a video and games to teach how to correctly sort waste. They measured the results and saw a substantial reduction.

Sunrise R-9 School for OINK! – Sunrise’s new “Feed The Pigs” program takes waste diversion to a whole new level! Food waste from lunch is collected in the “Feed The Pigs” bin, then hauled to a local farm and fed to pigs. Students named three of the pigs and watched them grow over the year. These pigs were then auctioned off to school families for their consumption. The program emphasizes multiple sustainability principles and has reduced lunch waste by nearly 31%.

Middle School Division Winners

Brittany Woods Middle School for U City Schools Pollinator Squad! – The Brittany Woods Pollinator Protection Squad knows humans need to value and protect pollinators. Through problem-based learning, students identified one of their first steps needed to be removing the stigma associated with stinging insects. Squad members educated fellow middle schoolers and PK-1 students on the benefits of pollinators using an old van they rehabbed called the Pollinator 3000 as a backdrop to build their Squad’s visibility.

Nipher Middle School for A Year of Growth: Sustainability in Homeroom – Nipher students set out to improve existing outdoor spaces that are part of their sustainability initiatives. Four Homeroom classes collaborated to raise funds and implement their plans, improving areas with chickens, vegetable gardens, native plants, and beehives.

High School Division Winner

Ladue Horton Watkins High School for Student Action for a Greener Earth – Ladue’s existing environmental club focused on long-term sustainability, devoting significant energy towards underclassman recruitment in addition to larger projects which included looking at the school building itself to find ways to reduce energy, stream cleanups, and honeysuckle hacks.

Spotlight Award Winners

Rookie of the Year:
St. Paul’s Lutheran ECC for Caterpillars Compost! – Pre-K students researched, raised money and bought a compost tumbler, then designed compost buckets for other classrooms. Students retrieved the buckets and composted the material inside. They also started a worm bin.

Judges’ Choice:
Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School for Tikkun Olem: Repairing the Space
– Students worked to revitalize a garden, centering Tikkun Olem, or healing the world. Garlic and rye are being grown now, and students of all ages are now using the garden and other outdoor spaces year round.

Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School for MRH Pollinator Problem (and Solutions)
– Using data they collected, MRH students identified the decline in native pollinators as a problem and set out to make habitat improvements on their campus. They created several products from beeswax to raise money for the improvements. They also developed a series of lessons for elementary school classes and performed pollinator raps in the STEAMaster rap battle.

Sustainability Champion:
Sunrise R-9 School for OINK!
– Sunrise’s new “Feed The Pigs” program takes waste diversion to a whole new level! Food waste from lunch is collected in the “Feed The Pigs” bin, then hauled to a local farm and fed to pigs. Students named three of the pigs and watched them grow over the year. These pigs were then auctioned off to school families for their consumption. The program emphasizes multiple sustainability principles and has reduced lunch waste by nearly 31%.

Focus of the Year: Health & Wellness:
Bryan Hill & Columbia Elementary Schools for Surviving, Not Thriving: A Quest for Justice
– The pandemic exposed the health and wealth inequities many students are living with. Bryan Hill & Columbia focused on the immediate needs of their students, improvements to support health and wellbeing of their communities such as repairing and repainting walls to cover lead paint and re-vamping their outdoor learning spaces, as well as the need for systems-level sustainability solutions.

Winners’ Submission Materials

Each school submitted a digital presentation and written report detailing their projects. You can access each winner’s full final submission material here.

Some schools posted their digital presentations on YouTube. We’ve created a playlist with these videos, which you can access here.

Event Recording: 15th Annual Green Schools Event

Students from Carman Trails Elementary, Brittany Woods Middle, and Ladue Horton Watkins High School shared about their GSQ project experience during our 15th Annual Green Schools Event. If you missed the event – or would like to watch it again – you can access a recording here.

Thank you GSQ Green Mentors!

Our volunteer Green Mentors play a huge role in this program – supporting schools in a variety of ways, from helping with project ideas, providing technical expertise, connecting schools with community resources, or simply lending an ear and helping with timeline reminders. Thank you to all of our Green Mentors for their service!

Interested in participating next year?

We hope so! Registration is now open for both schools and mentors for the 2022-23 school year. Mentor registration is open through August 31 and School registration is open though September 15. Visit www.GreenSchoolsQuest.org for more details on the program and to register!

Member Spotlight of the Year – Brandon Verhoff

Posted: December 8th, 2021

2021 Member Spotlight of the Year
– Brandon Verhoff

“As education plays a crucial role in the adoption of sustainable development in society, we must ensure the next generation is sustainability literate.”

Brandon Verhoff standing with painted flower mural, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter 2021 Member Spotlight of the Year

Brandon Verhoff, PH.D., Manager, Budgets & Reporting, Caleres Inc.
USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Member since 2015
Chair, Education Committee

Sustainability passion:

Sustainability Literacy: To ensure future generations are armed with the right information to make the best possible decisions in their future professions, we must educate our society on sound environmental, social, and financial reasoning. As education plays a crucial role in the adoption of sustainable development in society, we must ensure the next generation is sustainability literate. This passion for sustainability literacy was at the core of my dissertation when completing my Ph.D.

Most meaningful experience with USGBC:

Being the Chair of the Education Committee, I’ve been able to meet wonderful experts in their fields, learn from their expertise, and keep up with the latest trends. The reason I joined the USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter was to network and provide my expertise to our community. I’ve gained much more by participating with amazing members of our Chapter. I believe the Missouri Gateway Chapter is a beacon of sustainability success in St. Louis and I’m proud to be involved with the success it has created.

What will most impact the future of green building:

Wellness will be a main driver for future building projects. With the on-going pandemic, companies will focus more on how to improve the mind and body when designing spaces. Providing a space that caters to wellness will give building owners a competitive advantage in the marketplace. We’ve already started to see big campaigns from celebrities focused on the WELL building standard, but we can expect more attention on combining energy efficiency with creating a more welcoming, safe, and just space for its occupants.

Favorite LEED Project:

Edward A. Doisy Research Center at Saint Louis University. This project is close to my heart because of my involvement as the past Director of Sustainability & Benchmarking for the University. It was the University’s first endeavor into LEED and is an anchor of research in the St. Louis region. We learned a lot through the certification process and how to improve other construction projects on campus.

Favorite place in the St. Louis region:

My favorite place in St. Louis is the Missouri Botanical Garden. I love plants, so I visit the garden regularly to see the changing seasons, flowers, festivals, and events; like the Best of Missouri Market, Japanese Festival or Garden Glow. It’s a wonderful place in the City that is transformative, all while still being located in the heart of St. Louis. I instantly feel relaxed and at home while visiting.

October Member Spotlight – Cara Spencer

Posted: December 8th, 2021

October Member Spotlight – Cara Spencer

Help us welcome Cara Spencer to the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter! Cara is Director of the new Building Energy Exchange STL (BE-Ex STL) which will expand existing local resources for energy efficiency and building performance resources and services; a force multiplier for climate action and local economic development.

“Financing and Affordable housing. Giving property owners access to the capital they need to improve efficiency is key to making retrofit projects happen.”

Cara Spencer on a Missouri river, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter October 2021 Member Spotlight

Cara Spencer, Director, Building Energy Exchange STL & Alderman, City of Saint Louis
USGBC-MGC Member since 2021

Sustainability passion: I love growing my own food. Right now our figs are producing nicely and we eat them right off the bush. Nothing beats home grown tomatoes and basil in the summer and I’m a year round micro-green enthusiast.

Most meaningful built environment experience: I’d have to say the O’Fallon Commerce Bank. Its just a regular, everyday bank building but its the first LEED certified banking facility in MO. What’s most meaningful about it is just its everyday-ness. That a bank made the community conscious decision to lead with LEED certification is incredibly inspiring.

What will most impact the future of green building: Financing and Affordable housing. Giving property owners access to the capital they need to improve efficiency is key to making retrofit projects happen. This is especially important in the affordable housing space where energy savings are not experienced by the property owners but by tenants for whom energy savings greatly impacts quality of life.

Favorite Sustainability Project: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. People often (erroneously) confuse sustainability with boring. But the Crystal Bridges building is absolutely stunning and architect Moshe Sadie’s attention to detail is impeccable. It incorporates so much of its natural environment in its construction materials and in its landscape design. Walking through it, the visitor gets the sense of being in and outside all at once – a truly magical experience.

Favorite place in the St. Louis region: The arch. It just never gets old. I am there most mornings on a run or bike ride and I never tire of seeing it. The museum renovation is phenomenal and I love the native plantings on the north side, the trails throughout and the energy pulsing through the many daily visitors.

Cara Spencer is a native St. Louisan who studied math at Truman State University. She loves hiking, cycling and as of late – paddle boarding on MO rivers. She has a 10 year old son who loves drawing and Legos. Together they love eating breakfast outside and bike commuting most days to school and work. Cara is looking forward to helping reduce our community’s carbon footprint. Being a resource to our developer community in achieving energy efficiency goals and helping make St. Louis a climate ready city with a global sustainable reputation that can attract new residents and new employers.

September Member Spotlight – Julie Villa

Posted: September 23rd, 2021

September Member Spotlight – Julie Villa

“I believe local cities and municipalities requiring improvements to the existing building stock will serve as a major push to reduce overall energy consumption and make our neighborhoods healthier places.”

Julie Villa LEED AP BD+C, NCARB, Associate Architect, Ittner Architects
USGBC-MGC Member since 2014
Chair of the Higher Education & Emerging Professionals Committee

Sustainability passion: Green school design: as an educational planner and architect, I have the opportunity to create healthy and inspiring environments designed to be tools to teach sustainability to our next generation of learners. From early childhood through adults, green schools can be a hands-on method of incorporating important sustainability principles into the curriculum, in addition to being great spaces to learn.

Most meaningful experience with USGBC: As the chair of the Higher Education and Emerging Professionals committee, I’ve helped organize a lot of great events and volunteer opportunities, but my favorite are our recurring Community Garden Workdays at Fresh Starts Community Garden in the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood. This month’s volunteer day will be our fourth workday there, and it will be great to see what’s growing in the beds we prepped in the spring. It’s always rewarding to get my hands dirty!

What will most impact the future of green building: I believe local cities and municipalities requiring improvements to the existing building stock will serve as a major push to reduce overall energy consumption and make our neighborhoods healthier places. It’s now easier than ever to design a new energy efficient building, but unless we make improvements to our existing buildings to make every building a green building, we won’t be able to make real strides. I’m so proud of our Chapter’s work in getting the City’s BEPS ordinance passed!

Favorite LEED Project: I helped design the tenant finish for 700 Market, the historic mid-century Philip Johnson building, now Spire’s headquarters, which was certified LEED Gold. It was my first ID+C project, and I found it very rewarding to revitalize a long-vacant building into a modern collaborative workspace, keeping a major employer in the urban core instead of building new office space outside of the city center.

As far as other LEED projects that I admire, the East End transformation of Washington University’s campus is a truly innovative re-envisioning of that iconic end of campus. As a graduate, I’m proud to say it exceeds every expectation I had for the transformation, and I expect it to set new standards for future campus improvements.

Favorite place in the St. Louis region: The Green Rock trail at Rockwood Reservation. Hiking trails are my happy place, and this is a favorite in the region – rocky, hilly, and so very green!

Beneficial Electrification in Low-Income Communities

Posted: July 28th, 2022

Beneficial Electrification in Low-Income Communities: The First Step Toward Healthier Housing for All

Low-income families in America must surmount countless challenges—food deserts, inadequate medical care, job scarcity—the list goes on. However, one of the most prevalent issues that low-income American communities face, and is often forgotten about, is poor housing quality. Poor housing quality which includes energy inefficiency, leads to high energy costs and disproportionate health burdens.

Over 26 million U.S. households still burn costly, health-damaging, and climate warming fossil fuels, 29 million still have lead paint in their homes, and 9 million continue to utilize lead pipes1.

While most homes have been updated to replace these destructive features—including poor insulation, air leaks, and old or inefficient heating and cooling systems and appliances—low-income communities have been neglected and remain at risk. The majority of families living in low-income neighborhoods are dominated by people of color, as the effects of structural racism, segregation, and redlining persist in America.

Photo collage, vacant building stock, City of St. Louis by: Richard Reilly @rrconstructor   

In St. Louis, 52% of low-income households and 46% of black households face “energy burdens”—the percentage of household income spent on utilities—that are more than twice the citywide median2.

These disparities force households to choose between paying their electricity bills or purchasing necessities like food and medicine. Households with high energy burdens also cut back on heating and cooling in an attempt to save money, keeping their homes too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer, risking their health and safety2.

Although there is no easy solution to fix these disproportionate health outcomes, there could soon be new opportunities to vastly improve housing for historically marginalized communities with “beneficial electrification”—benefiting health, climate, and the economy. Congress is currently considering allocating tens of billions of dollars in funding that would help advocates confront these challenges and institute interventions for low-income communities. Specifically, money is needed to fund “beneficial electrification”.

In concept, beneficial electrification should lower energy burdens and improve housing quality by creating a safe and healthful indoor environment, while reducing climate pollution and enabling buildings to better manage electricity demand.

Beneficial electrification is done by replacing all existing gas appliances with:

  • high-performing all-electric appliances,
  • enhancing ventilation,
  • improving building energy management, and
  • creating a high-performance building envelope.

Essential to resiliency, these amendments must be accompanied by protections against eviction, displacement, and gentrification to truly make a difference. According to the Environmental Racism in St. Louis report,

“The City of St. Louis has long used its planning and zoning powers not only to enforce racial segregation, but also to confine blacks to areas with greater environmental and health risks” and “historically focused its urban development and code enforcement efforts primarily on majority-white areas and cleared majority-black areas of residences for various development projects or allowed them to deteriorate”2.

Beneficial electrification could be the first step in the right direction, as it helps ensure households have safer air quality indoor and outdoor, decreases health burdens due to less fossil fuel pollution, and lowers energy cost.

State and local governments need to create resources and frameworks that enable the transition to beneficial electrification possible.

It is also paramount that state and local governments partner with community-based organizations to ensure they meet the needs of the people who live, work, learn and play in the communities government officials serve. Your Missouri Gateway Green Building Council has been instrumental in passing policy within the City of St. Louis and connects members to the work of local community organizations in Southern Illinois and Missouri. Some of the infrastructure and budget bills currently under review are:

  • $35 billion for replacing lead pipes
  • $34.5 billion for low-cost clean energy financing
  • $18 billion for efficient homes and electric appliances
  • $14 billion for lead paint removal
The above infographic depicts how utilizing renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency can decarbonize our community. www.stlbenchmarking.com

Additional community health and climate crisis solutions that support beneficial electrification have already been deemed financially viable and effective by Project Drawdown—an organization that conducts analysis of technologies and methods that reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere. To support beneficial electrification, the use of high-efficiency heat pumps, LED lighting, low-flow fixtures, and smart thermostats should be implemented. These changes will help to eliminate the disproportionate energy burden that is faced by low-income and black American households.

To learn more about indoor air quality, how to best protect yourself from indoor air pollution, and how poor housing conditions impact indoor air quality, especially in low-income or racially diverse communities, join us for our next coffee break on Friday, August 5, 2022, @ 10-10:30am. We will be discussing “Indoor Air Quality Sensors” via Zoom with Sarah Gudeman, a mechanical engineer and the Director of Sustainability at Morrissey Engineering!


1 “Investing in Healthier Low-Income Housing.” RMI, March 2, 2022. https://rmi.org/investing-in-healthier-low-income-housing/.

2 Rep. Environmental Racism in St. Louis, September 30, 2019. https://7gxsl10eqdj9anba1k3swtoo-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2019-09-30_STL_Env_Racism_Report_REVISED_FINAL_Cropped.pdf.

2021 USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Membership Survey

Posted: August 9th, 2021

2021 Membership Survey

We appreciate the time and consideration you will put in to enhance the growth and development of your USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter experience, needs, and programs. The 2021 Membership Survey should take about 15 minutes with thoughtful responses. Thank you!

During our annual joint Board and Committee Chair meeting in September 2021, we will review the results of the 2021 Membership Survey and how we can incorporate your opinions and suggestion into:

  • Fostering Green Building Leaders of the Future
    • Green Schools Quest
    • Missouri Green Schools
  • Advancing Buildings As Climate Solutions
    • Education
    • Advocacy
  • Maintaining Organizational Sustainability

We are excited to hear your feedback about being a member of USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter! Thank you for being part of this Green Buildings Are Better community. We could not do this without you.

When you complete this Membership Survey you will be entered into a drawing to WIN A YEAR-LONG CHAPTER MEMBERSHIP and fun Chapter swag (a baseball cap + pint glass). Three winners will be drawn at random after August 11, 2021.

July Member Spotlight – Lisa J. Reed

Posted: July 14th, 2021

July Member Spotlight

“Isn’t picking a favorite LEED project like picking a favorite child?”

Lisa J. Reed, PE, IALD, MIES, LEED BD+C, Founding Principal of Envision Lighting Design, LLC
USGBC-MGC Member since 2013
Active member of the Membership & Marketing Committee

Sustainability passion: My sustainability passion – same as my “everything” passion – is lighting! I look at everything through a lighting lens. Light creates clarity. It elevates the way we experience space. It gives life. Light also plays a significant role in sustainability, whether we conserve energy by using only the light that we need (don’t overlight spaces) or by being intentional about where we put light (eliminate light pollution) or by using lighting controls to only use light when we need it (turn ‘em off!) Additionally, I’m interested in equity and lighting equity issues. If it has anything to do with light, then it’s my passion!

Most meaningful experience with USGBC: Tough question – there have been many. This is an organization filled with sincere people who truly care about our planet and the people who inhabit it. Nearly every encounter with this organization, its members, leaders, and staff has been meaningful. One highlight has been participating in the Green Shadow Mentor program. I also want to mention the Membership and Marketing Committee. By volunteering on this committee, I have been able to get to know a small group of fantastic people.

What will most impact the future of green building: Communication. If we can rethink how we talk about green building and communicate the importance of it in an inclusive, non-partisan, apolitical way to get everyone rowing in the same direction, that will be pivotal. When people come together, we are unstoppable. As the mother of two young adults, I see the priorities of the next generation and I do have hope that the future is in good hands.

Favorite LEED Project: Isn’t picking a favorite LEED project like picking a favorite child? I don’t think I can do that! That said, the 4220 Duncan building in the Cortex District was special because that was the first time I was able to achieve the Light Pollution Reduction Credit, and the Envision Lighting Design team, alongside HOK and the HOK Lighting Group, worked really hard on the lighting selections, placements, and calculations to get it. Now we attempt and achieve Light Pollution Reduction regularly.

Favorite place in the St. Louis region: Have you seen The Awakening II near Chesterfield Central Park? This giant man (a 70’ aluminum sculpture) appears to be partially underground as he emerges from a long slumber. This has become my favorite outdoor meeting spot. The giant is whimsical and a little terrifying, and along with the Central Park Trail, it is a nice little nature/art combo that’s worth a visit. Tell the giant hello for me when you go. Better yet, let me know you’re going, and I’ll meet you there!

We’re Hiring – Building Energy Exchange St. Louis Director!

Posted: July 7th, 2021

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter seeks qualifications for an individual to serve as the Director of the Building Energy Exchange-St. Louis. The Director will lead the design, development and operation of the Building Energy Exchange – St. Louis (BEEx-STL, formerly referred to as the St. Louis Regional Energy Hub) in order to build a transformational entity to accelerate innovation, create jobs, strengthen the economy and lead an equitable transition to a clean energy future. The Director will work in partnership with the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter’s Executive Director, its board, the BEEx-STL advisory board, the City of St. Louis, partners, and the local building community to identify and overcome barriers that are holding back high performing buildings in the St. Louis region.

To apply, please submit your qualifications, including resume, cover letter and 2 references as a single, electronic PDF to Emily Andrews at emily.andrews@mobot.org by midnight on July 30, 2021.

View the full job description here.

View the Executive Summary of the BEEx-STL business plan here.

Support for BEEx-STL is generously provided by founding sponsors: Ameren Missouri, Washington University in St. Louis, the Leon Lowenstein Foundation and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and technical advisors: Institute for Market Transformation and Building Energy Exchange (New York).

Apply for Living Future 21 Conference Scholarships from USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

Posted: February 10th, 2021

Invest in Your Professional Development – Apply for a LF21 Scholarship

Learn new technical information and practical solutions while building relationships with other people and organizations in the green building and sustainability industry when you attend the Living Future 2021 Inclusion + Unity Conference April 20 – 23, 2021 online everywhere.

**Multiple scholarships are available!

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter believes everyone should have access to green buildings and green communities as well as green building education! Those eligible to apply for this scholarship include:

  • Individuals of diverse backgrounds and/or in under-represented socio-economic groups. 
  • Organizations or individuals that serve under-represented socio-economic groups and/or diverse communities. 
  • Emerging Professionals with an interest in the sustainability of our region. For the purpose of this scholarship, we will consider Emerging Professionals to be recent graduates or current students. 

Scholarship applications are due Monday, March 15, 2021 by 11:59 pm. A USGBC-MGC membership is not required.

**Multiple scholarships are available!

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) has been at the forefront of attracting leading thinkers in sustainability, regenerative design, and the built environment hailing from industries ranging from architecture and manufacturing to government and nonprofits. Come together with the shared pursuit of a socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative Living Future, and apply for a Living Future 21 Scholarship today!

The Living Future 2021 Conference, hosted online by ILFI, April 20-23, 2021 provides you the opportunity to choose from over 40 sessions (with the ability to watch all recorded content), including case studies, tours, and networking meetups. View the current schedule here.


View the April 7-8, 2021 EcoCareers Conference, Green Shadow Scholarship Opportunity>

A Unique Pandemic Opportunity – Taking our GREEN SHADOWS to the 2021 EcoCareers Conference

Posted: February 10th, 2021

Attend the NWF’s EcoCareers Conference as a USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter GREEN SHADOW!

The National Wildlife Federation’s ECOLEADERS Community is hosting an EcoCareers Conference preparing students and emerging professionals for wildlife and sustainability careers by providing information on the latest trends from analysts and employers, clarifying career enhancing credentials and academic offerings, and formulating a better understanding of the competencies employers seek in the green sector.

“Really great insight about the soft skills and was inspirational as someone who is currently struggling to find an entry into the sustainability job field.”

Students, faculty, and staff from high schools, colleges and universities and emerging professionals are invited to sign-up for our Green Shadow program and we will fully fund your attendance to the EcoCareers Conference, April 7 – 8, 2021 11:00 – 5:00 pm each day.

2021 Green Shadow applications to attend the April EcoCareers Conference are due Friday, April 2, 2021 by 11:59 pm.

**Know someone who would benefit from this EcoCareers Conference? Encourage them to sign-up for the Green Shadow program to receive FREE attendance! Share this link, bit.ly/greenshadowecocareer

View the April 20-23, 2021 Living Future 21 Conference Scholarship Opportunities>

Brickline Greenway – Connecting People, Places, and Equitable Opportunities in St. Louis

Posted: February 10th, 2021

A Green Buildings Are Better @usgbcmogateway
Coffee Break with Great Rivers Greenway

The Coffee Break Friday, February 5, 2021 featured Mark Vogl, Project Manager at Great Rivers Greenway District. Leading our Green Buildings Are Better community in discussion, Mark Vogl spoke on the development and projects of the Brickline Greenway. Formerly known as the Chouteau Greenway, Brickline will connect Forest Park to the Gateway Arch and provide connections to Fairground Park and Tower Grove Park, running between Boyle Avenue and Sarah Avenue within the City of St. Louis.

View the LIVE recording here!

Benchmarking & Energy Efficiency Case Studies

Posted: August 3rd, 2020
We’re collecting benchmarking and energy efficiency case studies to showcase how our Existing Buildings can be Climate Heroes. Got a good energy efficiency success story to share? Contact us at usgbc-mogateway@mobot.org.

Sacred Heart Catholic School, located in Florissant, is a K-8 school specializing in Roman Catholic Education. Last summer, an LED retrofit of the entire building was executed, which has saved the school just over $11,000 in energy costs, 113,000 kWh of energy, and 93 tons of CO2.

Read the full case study.

Bauer Equity Partners is located an eighth of a mile from the I-70 and West Florissant Avenue interchange in the City of St. Louis. Previously a dairy bottling plant, the building has undergone numerous renovations in order to reduce energy consumption, improve access and reduce stormwater runoff. Since the solar panel and white roof installation, the building has realized a 66% reduction of electric consumption.
Read the full case study.

City of Clayton – Bonhomme and Brentwood Parking Garages have both undergone major renovations to reduce overall energy consumption. From lighting improvements to solar panels, these two buildings are seeing significant savings. The Bonhomme Garage saves $3,000 per month and the Brentwood Garage saves $22,000 a year. Read the full case study.

Parkway Schools’ portfolio consists of more than 34 buildings and 3.3 million square feet. In 2017, Parkway School District improved energy performance by 11% from a 2015 baseline, making progress towards a goal of 20% by 2025. Energy savings were achieved by implementing outdoor LED lighting retrofits and dimming controls across all properties. Learn more about their progress to date, implemented projects and more on the Better Buildings Challenge website.

600 Washington

600 Washington, is a 25-story office building. Formerly known as One City Center, it is a 375,000 square foot office building with a variety of tenants, including several large legal and accounting firms. Read the full case study

Clayco has been using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to benchmark their St. Louis office since 2007. Using this tool gave them a baseline, as well as the motivation to raise their score. As a result of energy saving strategies and building improvements that they have implemented since 2007, their ENERGY STAR score has more than doubled. Read the full case study


UniGroup is a $1.7 billion transportation and relocation services company with headquarters in suburban St. Louis. UniGroup has embraced sustainability as a smart way to achieve cost savings. The company’s Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability led the charge to monitor energy usage, enabling the company to identify issues and resolve them quickly. As a result, they achieved the coveted ENERGY STAR certification. The company took full advantage of utility rebate programs to maximize the return on investments in energy-related projects. Read the full case study.

Kickoff the Virtual St. Louis Earth Day Festival THIS SUNDAY, April 19th with the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

Posted: April 16th, 2020

Kickoff the Virtual St. Louis Earth Day Festival THIS SUNDAY, April 19th with the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

We, the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter would like you, your family, your co-workers, neighbors, distant friends, and anyone you can forward this link to, to JOIN US in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day Worldwide! We will be hosting TWO virtual events this Sunday, April 19th, 2020. Come visit our “booth” at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival and learn about the Earth Day Ecochallenge or take a virtual green building tour.

Will You Join Us for a Brown Bag Lunch with our St. Louis Goes Green! Ecochallenge Team?

We are kicking off our renowned St. Louis Earth Day Festival, virtually, this Sunday, April 19th @ 12pm via earthday-365.org/coming-soon/

Join us for an Earth Day Ecochallenge – BROWN BAG LUNCH- with the St. Louis Goes Green! Team

WHEN: this Sunday, April 19th @ 12 pm CST 

WHERE: Online! Via Zoom
Register in advance for this meeting:
Meeting ID: 975-3248-8619
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Or simply visit earthday-365.org/coming-soon/ @ 11:40 AM and get access to our virtual Earth Day Ecochallenge – BROWN BAG LUNCH – with the St. Louis Goes Green! Team

WHAT: This Brown Bag Lunch is for anyone interested in learning more about the Earth Day Ecochallenge! We are inviting team members of the St. Louis Goes Green! team to join and continue to share challenges and successes with the Actions and Challenges they’ve committed to this April and how they’ve made progress in creating a better shared future. Let’s get together for lunch, meet one another, enjoy an eco-conversation, and encourage others to learn more and join our Ecochallenge team! We couldn’t be ranked 12th worldwide if it wasn’t for individuals like YOU interested and making a positive impact every day. Think we could be #1 by April 30th, 2020?? Let’s find out together. #stlouisgoesgreen

Join our St. Louis Goes Green! Ecochallenge Team TODAY!

Looking for Something More LEED Specific and Related to Your Green Building Industry?

Join us, virtually, as we kickoff the St. Louis Earth Day Festival this Sunday, April 19th @ 1:30 pm via earthday-365.org/coming-soon/

Join us for a Virtual Green Building Tour of Alberici Headquarters in St. Louis

WHEN: this Sunday, April 19th @ 12 pm CST 

WHERE: Online! Via Zoom
Join Zoom Meeting by clicking on the link below
Meeting ID: 939 9690 3123
Password: 202050

WHAT: Has the wind turbine and prairie landscape surrounding the Alberici building near I-170 and Page caught your eye? Take a virtual tour – through the building and through time – exploring the transformation of a structure that previously served as a manufacturing plant into an environmentally responsible, healthy and beautiful office building certified by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2005 as the highest rated LEED Platinum building in the world. Presented by: John C. Guenther, FAIA, LEED AP, Architect. John C. Guenther, FAIA, LEED AP, was a design principal and partner with Mackey Mitchell Architects when he designed the Alberici Corporate Headquarters. Since 2009 he has practiced independently as John C. Guenther Architect LLC. #greenbuildingsarebetter

Become a member of our U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter TODAY!

WILL YOU JOIN US? Tune in THIS Sunday, April 19th at 12 PM or 1:30 PM to help us kickoff the 2020 Virtual St. Louis Earth Day Festival. Go where the WiFi takes you and join us in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day Worldwide! Whether you get inspired to plant a tree on April 22, 2020 like the Nixon’s did in honor of the first Earth Day in 1970, or learn different solutions to reducing waste or more ways to get outside, or even that building the world’s highest rated LEED Platinum green building is possible, we appreciate you taking the time to celebrate Earth Day with us and contributing to the promotion of environmentally responsible, prosperous and healthy places to live, work, and learn. Thank you and happy Earth Day!

Building Energy Exchange STL – Hiring it’s next Director!

Posted: July 1st, 2022

We are hiring!! We are searching for our next Building Energy Exchange STL Director!

View Job Description or Apply!

Logo. Building Energy Exchange St. Louis with salmon and grey colored block text and 'BE-Ex' letters for logo.

The Building Energy Exchange St. Louis (BE-Ex STL) is a project of USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter. BE-Ex STL (pronounced ‘B’ ‘X’ STL) aims to advance building energy performance by mobilizing the professional expertise, funding, and technical resources our local real estate industry needs to address affordability, improve the health and comfort of residents, and position St. Louis as a resilient and carbon neutral region. Now that this new local energy hub supporting high performing buildings is up and running, we are seeking an ambitious and passionate candidate to accelerate the growth and success of Building Energy Exchange STL. 

This is a full time position with a full benefits package – APPLY NOW!

Thank you to Cara Spencer, the inaugural BE-Ex STL director, for setting us up for success. She has recently resigned and we have named Jessica Deem, NCARB / LEED AP BD+C as interim director as of June 27, 2022.

June Member Spotlight – Shane Healey

Posted: January 5th, 2022

June Member Spotlight – Shane Healey

“We teamed up with the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter to provide a pro bono energy audit for the Grace + Peace Fellowship congregation.”

Shane Healey, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, Associate Architect, Lawrence Group
USGBC-MGC Member since 2015

Sustainability passion: My interest for Sustainability began during a sustainable design undergrad course at SIU Carbondale in 2009. I really enjoy being able to help connect a building to the surrounding community, as well as connecting the building to the surrounding landscape and environment. Since becoming a LEED AP, I have worked on a LEED Gold, Silver, and Certified, as well as a half dozen pseudo-LEED certified Projects for the military.

Most meaningful experience with USGBC: In 2014 I was an Architectural Designer at Ross & Baruzzini. We teamed up with the USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter to provide a pro bono energy audit for the Grace + Peace Fellowship congregation. The Ross & Baruzzini Committee assembled a multi-discipline team of volunteers to survey the mechanical and electrical systems, survey the building envelope, and completed a thermal imaging survey.

What will most impact the future of green building: I believe moving toward Net Zero buildings will have the greatest impact on the future of green building. The use of on-site renewable energy is possible with the many renewable energy technologies available today. However, the amount of technologies needed for Net-Zero are expensive, especially for existing buildings that require retrofitting. Our final report described the inefficiencies, how they could be corrected, and the associated costs.

Favorite LEED Project: My favorite LEED project would have to be the S.T.A.R Building located at John Burroughs School. I worked very closely with Todd Bunden on this LEED 2009 Gold Certified building. The building houses science labs, rooftop greenhouse, a library, research rooms, engineering labs, and a 3d printing area. The S.T.A.R Building was intended to fit contextually within the campus. The new building frames the central quad and minimally impacts the surrounding campus landscape.

Favorite place in the St. Louis region: My favorite place to be in the St. Louis area has to be Ballpark Village and Busch Stadium. Like so many people in this area, I have infinite memories from meeting Jason Isringhausen and Tony Twist, attending opening day, seeing the Clydesdales, spending time with family and friends, attending concerts, and the Winter Classic. Let’s just say I will be attending multiple Cardinal games in 2021.

Six Missouri Schools Honored in Missouri Green Schools’ Initial Awards Round

Posted: October 5th, 2021

Missouri Green Schools (MGS) just completed its inaugural year as a state level support and recognition program and selected its first round of honorees. Six Missouri schools have been awarded Sprout Level recognition for their commitment to improving health and wellness of students and staff, lowering their environmental impact, and providing place-based education. Schools that embark on the MGS journey are taking steps to make an impactful difference in the lives of their students, staff, and surrounding communities.

The following schools achieved Sprout Level by involving school administration, beginning to benchmark and track improvement, and setting goals towards further advancement of green and healthy practices:

  • Central High School, Springfield Public School District, Springfield
  • Central Primary School, Ferguson-Florissant School District, Ferguson
  • Forsyth School, Independent, St. Louis
  • Hixson Middle School, Webster Groves School District, Webster Groves
  • Patrick Henry Downtown Academy, St. Louis Public School District, St. Louis
  • St. Francis of Assisi School, Independent, St. Louis

Click here to read comments from each honoree on why they’ve committed to this journey.