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.

Benchmarking Case Study: UniGroup

Posted: February 1st, 2016

UniGroup Benchmarking Case StudyThe 25×20 Voluntary Energy Benchmarking Campaign challenges buildings in the St. Louis Region to benchmark their energy use. Energy benchmarking is the key to unlocking potential energy and cost savings. Since the campaign was launched, businesses, local governments, houses of worship, schools, and institutions have pledged to benchmark their energy use!

25×20 participants include UniGroup, now featured in a benchmarking case study. UniGroup is a $1.7 billion transportation and relocation services company with headquarters in suburban St. Louis. In addition to household goods carriers United Van Lines and Mayflower Transit, logistics company UniGroup Logistics and international relocation providers UniGroup Relocation and Sterling, UniGroup owns other subsidiaries that provide goods and services to professional movers.

The headquarters for UniGroup has grown dramatically since the original building was built in 1968. The facility has been expanded over the years, resulting in more than 450,000 ft2of office space. There is also an on-site cafeteria (a 5-star member of the St. Louis Green Dining Alliance), an employee fitness center and a credit union.

UniGroup has embraced sustainability as a smart way to achieve cost savings. The company’s Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Rebecca Peterson 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. They installed a 100 kW solar array, which included new pulse electric meters that provide dynamic reporting of energy usage to identify anomalies. Routine thermographic scans on electrical panels identify additional safety and efficiency issues. The maintenance staff installed more efficient interior lighting with electronic ballasts, and induction lighting on the parking lot reduced energy usage by 60%. Boilers were enhanced to improve burner efficiency and an energy management system was installed to better automate the HVAC system. They also installed variable frequency drives on two centrifugal chillers. Peterson attributes much of their success to the resources available to participants of the St. Louis Green Business Challenge.

You can view the full case study online here. Visit the 25×20 website to see a list of all participants or take the pledge. Contact Chapter staff at usgbc-mogateway@mobot.org to be featured in a benchmarking case study!

Host the Green Buildings Are Better Display!

Posted: January 25th, 2016

15 years ago, 15 committed volunteers came together to form one of the first six USGBC Chapters in the country – because they believed that green buildings are better.

In honor of our 15 year anniversary, the interactive Green Buildings Are Better display is traveling throughout the region. Follow the link below sign up to host the display for a week at your office, house of worship, school, city hall, and more. If you see the display out and about, be sure to add a comment about why green buildings are better and share photos with us on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook using #greenbuildingsarebetter and #green15.

Sign up to host the Green Buildings Are Better Display

Explore why Green Buildings Are Better for living, working, learning, and playing.


Comment Compilation 3




2016 Educational Catalog Released

Posted: January 20th, 2016

2016 USGBC-MGC Education Catalog_Page_1We are thrilled to announce our lineup of educational programs and events for 2016 – our 15 year anniversary!

Click here for a complete listing of monthly evening programs,  in-depth seminars, our Continuing Education Blitz, LEED Exam Prep, and more!

Visit our events calendar to learn more & register for upcoming events.

We look forward to seeing YOU at upcoming programs and events!

Call for Pro Bono Energy Audits

Posted: December 21st, 2015

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter is seeking the services of multiple Energy Auditors, each to provide one pro bono building energy audit for congregations and faith communities within our Chapter territory.

We are pleased to once again partner with Missouri Interfaith Power & Light to provide complimentary energy audits for a limited number of local congregations and faith-communities. This is part of the 25 x 20 Voluntary Energy Benchmarking Campaign – www.25×20.org. Learn more about audits provided in 2014-2015 here and here.

View the full Request for Qualifications.

An indication of interest and qualifications are due electronically USGBC-Missouri Gateway by midnight on Friday, January 8, 2016.

Once we determine how many audits can be offered, we will issue a call for congregations to apply, with a goal of matching auditors with congregations by the end of February 2016.

Thanks for Your Support of Green & Healthy Spaces

Posted: December 21st, 2015

Fujii-George-2014-150x150The USGBC – Missouri Gateway Chapter has been hard at work this year – and for the last 14 years – to ensure a future where everyone can live, work, learn, and play in green and healthy spaces. Our goal of making every building a green building drives our education and outreach efforts all year long. As we near the end of 2015 and prepare to celebrate our 15-Year anniversary in 2016, I want to personally thank all of you who have helped us achieve so much this year and throughout our history.

I am consistently impressed by the passion of our volunteers, staff, and members. Together, we are working hard to:

  • Reduce the impact of the built environment on our natural resources; save money on building operations; and create safe, healthy, and productive spaces for living, working, and learning.
  • Provide diverse educational offerings – from deep dives into material transparency and human health to case studies on rainwater harvesting and successful energy management plans.
  • Engage our community in efforts to reduce building energy use by increasing participation in the 25 x 20 Voluntary Energy Benchmarking Campaign.
  • Assist congregations, schools (K-12 and higher education), and community organizations with sustainable operations, sustainable neighborhood, and energy benchmarking workshops.
  • Help our community through Emerging Professional Service Projects, such as building three Little Free Libraries for Ford Elementary and working with EnergyCare to weatherize low-income homes.
  • Challenge K-12 schools to implement sustainability projects by pairing 40 green mentors and schools in the Green Schools Quest.

Through these efforts, we are making a green impact on our community day in and day out.

But we have much work to do. As we look forward to our 15-Year anniversary next year, we also look forward another 15, 20, or 30 years. And we begin to wonder, what will the future look like for our children, our nieces and nephews, our grandchildren? How can we make sure they enjoy the rich natural resources that we enjoy? And how can we champion a future where they can all live, work, and learn in a green and healthy building?

The vision of making every building a green building does not happen without YOU! And we are grateful for all you have contributed. We hope you will join us in this important work by considering a donation to the Chapter. Think of it as an investment in our shared, sustainable future.

Donate Now

Thanks again for your continued support.  Have a happy, safe and green holiday season!


George Fujii, LEED AP

2016 Board Chair, USGBC – Missouri Gateway Chapter

Looking Back on 15 years and Looking Forward to 15 More

Posted: December 4th, 2015

by Nancy Rodney, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Development Committee Chair


As Americans, we spend 90% of our time indoors. The buildings where we live, work, learn, and play have a huge impact on our health. Can you imagine if there was no one advocating for greener and healthier buildings? No one bothering to save energy or reuse building materials? No one paying attention to the way indoor environments affect building occupants? What if there was no green building movement?

We know that green buildings are better – better for people, better for the environment, better for our bottom line. They steward natural resources and are sensitive to environmental impacts. For 15 years, the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter has been educating and advocating for better, greener buildings. When volunteers came together to found one of the first six USGBC Chapters in the country 15 years ago, the green building movement was relatively new. There were only a handful of buildings whose developers were even thinking about LEED certification. And those volunteer founders often discussed how hard it was for people to wrap their heads around what it meant to be a green building.

Celebrating 15 years of Green & Healthy Spaces: A USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Timeline

Fast forward to 15 years later and the USGBC- Missouri Gateway Chapter has grown from an idea to a community of over 500 members. 283 commercial and 113 residential LEED certified buildings now make our region a better place to live – on college campuses and in cities, towns and neighborhoods across the state. Over 1300 individuals have cared enough about green building to earn a LEED professional credential. USGBC-Missouri Gateway has brought together our community for 130 monthly educational programs, reaching nearly 14,000 participants. We have hosted 40 in-depth green building workshops and seminars, 26 LEED exam prep courses, 15 LEED webinar series, and two Midwestern regional conferences – all because green buildings are better!

Beyond education, USGBC-Missouri Gateway has provided numerous opportunities for volunteers to use their green building knowledge and passion to serve our community. Volunteers on standing committees have served countless hours to support the organization’s mission. Speakers Bureau volunteers have given presentations to audiences interested in sustainability and green building; Green Shadow mentors have hosted students and emerging professionals for job shadows; and LEED Community Project volunteers have completed LEED documentation for non-profit partners.

In 2013 we launched the Green Schools Quest, challenging public and private schools to implement low or no cost sustainability projects with the help of green mentors. Now in its third year, the Green Schools Quest has engaged nearly 7,000 students and staff members from almost 80 schools, who report impacting over 40,000 additional students, staff, and community members – all because green buildings are better!

We can look back 15 years and imagine what it would be like without the hard work of our volunteers, partners, staff, and sponsors. We would rather focus on the future! We are excited to celebrate 15 years of achievements; but our work is far from over. Our goal is that every building is a green building within this generation – and that is only possible with widespread community support from all of you!  We would like you to be intentional in your support and join us with action and urgency.

Make a donation to help us create the next generation of green buildings!




Lawrence Lile presented seminar at Sustainable Living Fair

Posted: December 1st, 2015

Lawrence LileLawrence Lile presented his seminar “Resilience Is the New Sustainability” at the Sustainable Living Fair in Columbia, MO, in October 2015 and at the USGBC Central Plains Chapter Continuing Education Blitz in Kansas City in September 2015. Outlining the stresses on the built environment that are expected from climate change, Lile, owner of Lile Engineering, focused in his presentation on practical standards and solutions that can increase a building’s resistance to wind, hail, fire, and water damage.

Learn more about Lile’s “Resilience Is the New Sustainability” seminar here and here. Learn more about Lile in his chapter member profile.

Explore the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter’s online Member Directory to learn more about all our members. Visit the Green Building Experts page to learn more about members that have been recognized for their green building advocacy, promotion, and expertise.


Today is Giving Tuesday 2015

Posted: December 1st, 2015

Giving Tuesday logo



As we near the end of our 14th year and look forward to celebrating the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter’s 15 year anniversary, I’ve been thinking about how far this organization has come and how much work we still have ahead of us.

Over 15 years, we have seen a lot of improvements in our buildings. But there is so much opportunity – and so much need – to look ahead to what still needs to be improved. From renovating and enhancing our existing building stock, to further greening day-to-day building operations, to the deep green that will be necessary in order to create a sustainable future for generations to come, there is good, green work to be done, and there is room for you to get involved in our mission to make every building a green building!

This organization has grown from 15 volunteer founders kicking around an idea to a diverse community of over 500 members working to make every building a green building. The Chapter has fostered connections, educated thousands, and served as a leader in sustainability in this region. From monthly educational programs to volunteer opportunities like the Green Schools Quest to partnerships like the St. Louis High Performance Building Initiative, the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter is engaging individuals from all backgrounds to reduce their environmental impact and focus on the triple bottom line.

The Chapter’s accomplishments have been due to a devoted workforce of volunteers, passing the baton from one to the next to push sustainability and green building forward in our region. We are so grateful for their service, but to continue moving things forward we need your financial support. If you, like me, are or have been one of those devoted volunteers, I encourage you to pay it forward this holiday season by making a donation. Today is Giving Tuesday, a great day to show support for YOUR Chapter’s work!


Today, as part of Giving Tuesday, we are launching a 15-Year Anniversary Campaign to celebrate what we have learned over the years – GREEN BUILDINGS ARE BETTER. We live, work, learn, and play in better in green and healthy spaces. In the coming year, there will be many ways for you participate . . . attend an event; volunteer; become a member or sponsor; host our Green Buildings Are Better display; host a Green15 Presentation at your work, your school or your place of worship; take the 25 x 20 energy benchmarking pledge. If you believe that Green Buildings Are Better, there is way to get involved! 

Your support, both through your donation and your time, is crucial to our mission. Our goal of making every building a green building is a big one, and we need your support.

Thanks for your work to push sustainability forward.

Erik Lueders, MBA, CEM, LEED AP

Board Chair, USGBC – Missouri Gateway Chapter













Benchmarking Case Study: 600 Tower

Posted: November 24th, 2015

600 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63101

600 Tower Benchmarking Case Study

The 25×20 Voluntary Energy Benchmarking Campaign challenges buildings in the St. Louis Region to benchmark their energy use. Energy benchmarking is the key to unlocking potential energy and cost savings. Since the campaign was launched, businesses, local governments, houses of worship, schools, and institutions have pledged to benchmark their energy use!

25×20 participants include 600 Washington, now featured in a benchmarking case study. This 25-story office building, formerly known as One City Center, is a 375,000 square foot office building with a variety of tenants, including several large legal and accounting firms. Originally built in 1985, the tower overlooks the former St. Louis Centre mall which has since been transformed into a 750 space parking garage in 2010.

DTZ, which recently merged with Cushman-Wakefield, manages the building to keep its approximately 600 occupants comfortable. They initially completed the 25 x 20 Benchmarking Challenge as a means by which to track energy consumption over time. Additionally, ongoing comparison data sets are used to identify anomalies in energy and water usage. It has also been used as a marketing tool to attract potential tenants.

The building achieved a high enough score that will allow them to apply for an Energy STAR rating in approximately 18 months. They have completed lighting retrofits in a number of common areas, as well as a portion of tenant spaces, and have encouraged tenants to implement computer power management programs and turn off non-controlled lighting. They have additional lighting and HVAC retrofits planned for the future, along with an upgrade to their building management system.

Click here to view a PDF of the case study. Visit the 25×20 website to explore the full list of participants!

Understanding the Living Building Challenge Materials Petal Workshop

Posted: November 9th, 2015

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Members receive $50 off of the registration fee!

The Living Building Challenge Materials Petal is intended to induce a successful materials economy that is non-toxic, transparent and socially equitable. In this workshop, participants will gain an understanding of how to meet the material-related Imperatives of the Living Building Challenge: I-10 Red List, I-11 Embodied Carbon Footprint, I-12 Responsible Industry, I-13 Living Economy Sourcing, and I-14 Net Positive Waste as well as introduce and explain the Declare Program.

This workshop is appropriate for anyone working in the building industry, participants should already have an understanding of the Living Building Challenge. They should be familiar with the Standard and the Imperatives and Petal structure of the Challenge. The workshop will highlight successful examples of innovative projects from around the globe, identifying innovative products and stories how projects have been successful in changing the materials marketplace.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the Imperatives within the Materials Petal and distinguish how these Imperatives support the Living Building Challenge mission
  • Understand the Declare label and what it defines
  • Identify 2 products that have gone through the process, now have a Declare label and how that has transformed their manufacturing standards
  • Ability to identify innovative products and stories where projects have been successful in changing the materials marketplace.

Thursday, December 10, 2015
1:00 – 5:00 pm

Workshop Overview:
1:00pm-2:00pm The Philosophy of the Living Building Challenge / Petal rationale + strategies: Materials
2:00-2:30pm Break
2:30pm-5:00pm Breaking down Barriers / Community + Tools / Full Group Discussion

HOK St. Louis
10 S Broadway Suite 200
St. Louis, MO 63102

Continuing Education:
This workshop has been approved for 4 GBCI CE hours, 4 AIA LU|HSW credits, and 4 Living Future Accreditation hours.

Instructor Background:
Kathleen Smith, LEED Fellow, Technical Director, Living Building Challenge

Kathleen Smith is an architect with more than 20 years of experience in green building, most recently with her own firm, Ecosmith Architecture & Consulting, LLC. She is a LEED Fellow and a LEED Faculty member.  Kathleen worked with Davis Langdon where she conducted LEED reviews and consulted on many pioneering sustainable projects in California. She is also the co-author of two books, The Northwest Green Home Primer and Rebuilding Community in America: Housing for Ecological Living, Personal Empowerment, and the New Extended Family. Kathleen has a Bachelor and Master of Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley in addition to a Permaculture Consultant’s Design Certificate from the Permaculture Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Early-bird registration (through 11/26/15):
$95 – USGBC-MGC Members (must contact USGBC-MGC staff at hope.gribble@mobot.org for promotional code)
$145 – Non-members

After 11/26/15:
$185 – USGBC-MGC Members (must contact USGBC-MGC staff at hope.gribble@mobot.org for promotional code)
$235 – Non-Members

Click here to register online