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.

2018 Benchmarking Training

Posted: December 21st, 2017

Presented in partnership with the City of St. Louis, BOMA St Louis, Downtown STL, Inc., and IFMA St. Louis Chapter. 

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On January 27, 2017, the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen unanimously passed an energy benchmarking ordinance that requires municipal, institutional, commercial and multifamily residential buildings whose square footage is equal to or greater than 50,000 to track and report their energy and water usage annually to the City’s Building Division.

Privately owned buildings are required to benchmark and submit data by April 1, 2018 using the free, online tool ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Full details about the Building Energy Awareness Ordinance are available at stlbenchmarking.com.

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter, the City of St. Louis, and partners are co-hosting the following opportunities to learn how to comply.

Partner logos

The events below are free to all, but space is limited. Registration is required.

Benchmarking 101

An overview of the Building Energy Awareness Ordinance with step-by-step instructions on data collection, benchmarking in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and reporting data to the City of St. Louis.

Wednesday, January 24, 12:00-1:30 pm – lunch provided
Missouri Botanical Garden’s Commerce Bank Center for Science Education
4651 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110
Register Online Here

Thursday, February 8, 12:00-1:30 pm  – lunch provided
Missouri Botanical Garden’s Commerce Bank Center for Science Education
4651 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110
Register Online Here

Thursday, March 1, 3:30-5:00 pm
Missouri History Museum, AT&T Foundation Multipurpose Room
5700 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO, 63112
Register Online Here

Benchmarking Jam

Get hands-on assistance with energy and water benchmarking in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Visit event page for full list of needed information.

Volunteers will support building representatives to use ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Volunteers can self-report their participation for 2 GBCI CE hours in the volunteer category. To participate, select “Benchmarking Volunteer” when registering. 

Thursday, February 1, 3:00-5:00 pm
Missouri Botanical Garden’s Commerce Bank Center for Science Education
4651 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110
Register Online Here

Wednesday, March 14, 8:00 – 10:00 am
Metropolitan Square, 9th Floor Conference Room
211 North Broadway, Suite 990, St. Louis MO 63102
Register Online Here




USGBC-MGC Seeks Education & Communications Intern

Posted: December 7th, 2017

The U.S. Green Building Council – 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 Manager and support the activities of the Chapter’s volunteer-led committees.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Assist Chapter staff with various duties related to the development of marketing and outreach materials, such as event flyers and promotional materials for Chapter events
  • Maintain posts and updates regarding green building news and program announcements on Chapter website and social networking accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)
  • Engage in short term research projects to identify local green-building and sustainability resources
  • Update and print necessary literature and signage for events
  • Work with Chapter volunteers and staff on day-of program logistics, including event set-up/break-down, registration, nametags, food/beverage (average of one day/month)
  • Compile final attendance list for events; edit and post on website
  • Maintain database of event statistics for Chapter programs and events
  • Assist Chapter staff with additional duties related to educational programming
  • Work with volunteers of the Chapter’s Marketing Committee on the creation of LEED Project Profiles
  • Perform general clerical work including letter writing, filing, copying, etc. (spreadsheets)
  • Answer email and return messages as appropriate

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




We’re On A Mission – for Better, Greener Buildings that will Tackle the Challenge of Climate Change!

Posted: November 28th, 2017

By Nick Bristow
Chair, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Board of Directors

From existing buildings to new construction, we know that buildings play a crucial role in meeting the urgent challenge of climate change. According to the Energy Information Administration, buildings in the United States are responsible for over 40% of national greenhouse gas emissions. The City of St. Louis’s 2015 greenhouse gas inventory revealed that local impacts are much higher; residential and commercial buildings are responsible for over 60% of greenhouse gas emissions.

The critical time for climate action is now, and now more than ever, it’s critical that we change the way we build and operate our buildings. We must focus on wellness for building occupants and the planet, addressing existing and new buildings, inside and out.

It was with this imperative in mind that the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter’s Board of Directors drafted our 2018-2020 Strategic Directions. We plan to build on our 2017 momentum and move forward with three focus areas: foster green building leaders of the future, lead green building professional education, and advance green building through advocacy and community outreach.

I want to share some of our 2017 accomplishments today, and invite you to join us in the work ahead.

SigningWe continue to push for Better Buildings with Benchmarking. You know the saying, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure!” Energy and water benchmarking is the first step toward improved performance, cost savings, and reduced environmental impacts.

We significantly expanded our benchmarking work this year by helping the City of St. Louis with the passage and implementation of their Building Energy Awareness Ordinance. This work received recognition just last week with an Outstanding Local Government Achievement Award from East-West Gateway Council of Governments in the public-non-profit partnership category.

IMG_7145We were thrilled to assist Bethel Lutheran Church become the First House of Worship to earn ENERGY STAR Certification in Missouri! With an ENERGY STAR score of 81, Bethel Lutheran outperforms 81 percent of worship facilities nationwide. Their energy achievements are due to many years of dedicated work by the church’s Green Team. Our Advocacy Committee volunteers verified Bethel Lutheran’s ENERGY STAR application, confirming that energy and building data was correct and that the building meets EPA’s Indoor Environmental Quality and Thermal Comfort standards.

GSQ registrationOnce again we were blown away by the creativity and passion of students participating in our Green Schools Quest. Our Green Schools Quest paired 47 school-mentor teams for the 2016-2017 school year. Over 5,500 students and staff participated in sustainability projects, reaching an additional 20,000 community members. Projects ranged from energy audits & window weatherization to waste audits, material reuse & cafeteria composting! Participation in the 2017-18 school year is our highest levels yet; 57 school and mentor teams are participating in the fifth year of the Green Schools Quest!

ce-blitz-copyAnd we continue to provide excellent educational opportunities. From inspirational to in-depth, we covered a lot of topics this year – materials transparency, sustainability in construction administration, landscape performance, project delivery mapping, historic preservation & sustainability, lighting controls and much more!

We are on a mission – a mission to make every building a green building – and we cannot get there without your help. For over 15 years, we have been part of your community; advocating and educating for better, greener buildings. Support this important work by making a donation today!

Donate Now

Thank you,

Nick Bristow

Nick Bristow
2017 Chair, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Board of Directors




Bethel Lutheran Church is First House of Worship to earn ENERGY STAR Certification in Missouri

Posted: October 26th, 2017

Bethel Lutheran Church, located in University City, is the first worship facility to earn ENERGY STAR Certification in Missouri. ENERGY STAR Certification recognizes efficient energy use in buildings. With an ENERGY STAR score of 81, Bethel Lutheran Church outperforms 81 percent of worship facilities nationwide. Their energy achievements are due to many years of work by the church’s Green Team, which has spearheaded their environmental ministry of caring for creation.

In 2010, Bethel became a Green Congregation working with the national Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC) program. Since 2013, Bethel has been working to increase their energy efficiency, reduce their carbon footprint, and save money through the LRC’s Energy Stewards initiative. As a participating congregation, they began to measure their energy use in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free online tool that allows buildings to benchmark their energy use. Their initial results left plenty of room for improvement; they found that their baseline ENERGY STAR score was 36, well below average.

Johanna Schweiss (USGBC-MGC), Cindy Gross (Bethel Lutheran Church Green Team), and Linda Daniel (USGBC-MGC) with Bethel Lutheran Church's final ENERGY STAR Application. Johanna Schweiss (USGBC-MGC), Cindy Gross (Bethel Lutheran Church Green Team), and Linda Daniel (USGBC-MGC) with Bethel Lutheran Church’s final ENERGY STAR Application.

Bethel Lutheran Church conducted an energy audit in September 2013, and since that time their Board of Property and Maintenance has been working faithfully to implement big and small building improvements. These improvements include low and no cost changes such as sealing gaps around doors, as well as projects that required more investment but paid off with energy savings, including installing LED porch lights, installation of new heat pumps, furnace, and AC units, replacing windows, and transitioning to a zoned heating approach to reduce dependence on an old boiler. Bethel Lutheran installed solar panels in 2014.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the energy used by buildings in the United States is responsible for almost 40% of our national greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing their energy use, Bethel Lutheran Church not only lowered their energy bills, they reduced the environmental impacts associated with energy use, thus lowering their impact on poor regional air quality and global climate change.

“We are so inspired by Bethel Lutheran’s ENERGY STAR Certification. They are living their commitment to care for all of God’s creation,” stated Tracey Howe-Koch, coordinator of Missouri Interfaith Power and Light, a religious response to climate change. “By increasing their sanctuary’s energy efficiency, they are helping to ensure future generations are able to enjoy all that has been given to us. At Missouri Interfaith Power & Light we believe that people of faith are morally obligated to be good stewards of the environment. Bethel Lutheran is faithfully carrying out this charge and is a wonderful example of the impact one congregation can have.”

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Volunteers Linda Daniels and Martha Martinko perform the facility walk-through required for ENERGY STAR Certification. USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Volunteers Linda Daniel and Martha Martinko perform the facility walk-through required for ENERGY STAR Certification.

Volunteers with U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter verified Bethel Lutheran’s ENERGY STAR application. Led by licensed architect Linda Daniel, volunteers confirmed that Bethel Lutheran’s energy and building data was correct and that the building meets EPA’s Indoor Environmental Quality and Thermal Comfort standards. Linda stated “As a volunteer, it is exciting to work with building owners as their facility begins to perform better, their energy costs go down, and they reduce their carbon footprint. It was an honor to work with this congregation. Bethel Lutheran has diligently worked over several years to earn this certification, and it’s my understanding that they intend to continue working to reduce their energy use.”

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About Bethel Lutheran Church
Bethel Lutheran Church, a member church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, located in University City, Missouri, is a worshipping community that has set as its mission to work toward a sustainable relationship with our earth home, to follow the non-violent witness of Jesus and work for the restoration of life for those threatened and diminished by violence, and to be in dialogue and community with many in a multi-cultural and multi-religious world, globally connected in our need and compassion.
For more information: http://bethelstl.org/

About USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter
U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter (USGBC-MGC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community of members, advocates, and practitioners that give voice to our commitment to improve human health, support economies, and protect the environment through green buildings. The Missouri Gateway Chapter serves the community by educating and advocating for green building principles and practices, and believes that everyone deserves access to green and healthy spaces. They run a voluntary energy benchmarking campaign which promotes the use of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and ENERGY STAR Certification.
For more information: www.usgbc-mogateway.org.

About Missouri Interfaith Power & Light
Missouri Interfaith Power & Light (MO IPL) is a religious response to global warming and aims to engage, equip, and educate Missouri faith communities to be stewards of God’s creation by addressing the environmental and social justice consequences of climate change. MO IPL is one of 40 state affiliates of Interfaith Power & Light and works with congregations to model energy stewardship in their communities. There are over 14,000 congregations involved in national IPL programs.
For more information: www.moipl.org.

About ENERGY STAR certification
ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) helping businesses and individuals save energy and fight climate change through superior energy efficiency. Through ENERGY STAR, the nation’s most energy efficient buildings can earn ENERGY STAR certification. Since 1999, tens of thousands of buildings and plants across America — such as schools, hospitals, skyscrapers, retails stores, and manufacturing plants — have earned EPA’s ENERGY STAR for superior energy performance. On average, ENERGY STAR certified buildings use 35 percent less energy and cause 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than similar buildings.
For more information: https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/press-room 




Interview with ‘Water Justice’ Keynote Presenter

Posted: October 11th, 2017

EarthWorms host Jean Ponzi recently interviewed Water Justice CEU Blitz keynote presenter, Alexandra Ferrari-Campbell.

Campbell-Ferrari is the Executive Director of the Washington D.C.-based non-profit Center for Water Security and Cooperation.

Her organization was started to use the law as a tool for building long-term solutions to our greatest water challenges and to drive legal innovation and partnership.

This conversation dives provocatively into water issues. In the words of Jean Ponzi, “Tap into it – and consider how water security could be more cooperatively handled!”

Click here to listen to the podcast interview!




Check Out Our 2016 Annual Report!

Posted: September 14th, 2017

We are excited to share our 2016 Annual Report with you! Each year, the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter makes progress towards our goal of transforming the built environment. We are so proud of our accomplishments towards a greener future for our community, which is generously supported by our sponsors, leaders (board of directors & committees), members, volunteers, and donors. Thank you to all who made 2016 a success!

In 2016, we celebrated our 15 year anniversary as an organization dedicated to making every building a green building because we know that GREEN BUILDINGS ARE BETTER . . . better for people, better for the environment, and better for the bottom line.

Download a PDF of our 2016 Annual Report and learn about our work to make every building a green building! 

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2017 Benchmarking Training

Posted: September 7th, 2017

Presented in partnership with the City of St. Louis, BOMA St Louis, Downtown STL, Inc., and IFMA St. Louis Chapter. 

Benchmarking Training Flyer
On January 27, 2017, the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen unanimously passed an energy benchmarking ordinance that requires municipal, institutional, commercial and multifamily residential buildings whose square footage is equal to or greater than 50,000 to track and report their energy and water usage annually to the City’s Building Division.

Privately owned buildings are required to benchmark and submit data by April 1, 2018 using the free, online tool ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter, the City of St. Louis, and partners are co-hosting three opportunities to learn how to comply.

The events below are free to all, but space is limited. Registration is required.

Benchmarking 101

An overview of the Building Energy Awareness Ordinance with step-by-step instructions on data collection, benchmarking in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and reporting data to the City of St. Louis. Lunch is provided.

Wednesday, October 25, 12:00—1:30 pm
Missouri Botanical Garden’s Commerce Bank Center for Science Education
4651 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110
Register Online Here

Thursday, November 30, 12:00—1:30 pm
Metropolitan Square, 9th Floor Conference Room
211 North Broadway, Suite 990, St. Louis MO 63102
Register Online Here

Benchmarking Jam

Get hands-on assistance with energy and water benchmarking in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Visit event page for full list of needed information. 

Tuesday, November 14, 4:00—6:00 pm
Missouri Botanical Garden’s Commerce Bank Center for Science Education
4651 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110
Register Online Here

Partner logos

 




Response to St. Louis Business Journal: LEED Gets It Right

Posted: September 7th, 2017

Emily 1Nick Bristow-headshotEmily Andrews, Executive Director of the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter, and Nick Bristow, Senior Associate and Sustainability Manager at Forum Studio and Board Chair of the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter, responded to the St. Louis Business Journal’s August 18 cover story on the LEED green building rating system in a commentary piece titled LEED gets it right. Read on for their full response. 

 

The Aug. 18 cover story on the LEED green building rating system missed the bigger picture. Green building rates in the St. Louis region may not measure up to the top five LEED national markets, but as your article points out, we are keeping pace with and even outpacing cities of similar size and demographics. By looking at just a single year of data, however, you are discrediting previous years of successful LEED projects in our region. More importantly, you missed the opportunity to recognize the local architects, engineers, contractors, consultants, owners and occupants who have championed buildings that conserve natural resources and support the health of humans and the planet. The St. Louis region has seen a consistent number of LEED certified projects annually between 2011 and 2016, even as the rating system has become more rigorous. Since 2000, 190 commercial and institutional buildings have achieved LEED certification. Our mission is to accelerate the implementation of green building principles for all. While every building cannot be a LEED building, these 190 buildings have provided a real-life, local case study and framework for our community to follow. And really, when it comes down to it, we are not out to compete with other cities, but to work within our own community to improve our buildings.

 

LEED continues to be the international benchmark in green building, designed to incorporate continuous improvement, evolve and raise the bar as building technology improves. According to a 2017 Department of Energy study, LEED- and Energy Star-certified buildings improve net operating income by 28.8 percent and reduce operating costs by 17.6 percent. We cannot be content to merely track levels of certification or the numbers of certified buildings – we want better, higher performing buildings.

 

The average American spends 90 percent of their time indoors – at work, at home and at school. Additionally, buildings in the United States consume about 40 percent of the country’s total energy consumption and represent 45 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. We all deserve better buildings. Tools like LEED, Energy Star and others are available to help us work towards better buildings – we should utilize them to improve the long-term health of St. Louisans, our region and the planet on which we reside.

U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter considers the benefits of green buildings to far outweigh any costs. We also believe in a future where everyone has access to work, live and learn in a green building. We invite our region to be a part of this future. And we challenge each of you to pursue greener operations, maintenance, design and construction for every building in our region every step of the way.




Membership Contest: Build Your Knowledge. Build Your Network. Build Your Community

Posted: August 8th, 2017

Contest 3 Image
The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter’s Membership & Marketing Committee is excited to announce a third 2017 membership contest!

From August 8 to October 9, new and renewing members will be entered into a drawing for:

If you’re a current member and you encourage a friend or colleague to join, you’ll also be entered into the raffle – once for each new member you refer. The member making the most referrals will win a Forest Park Forever membership!

Winners will be drawn on October 10 at our monthly evening program Sustainable Risk Management and Disaster Response.

Membership makes the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter’s work to support buildings of all kinds to green their design and operations possible. Join to show your support of our efforts to green the places we all love!

And membership benefits you as well; join to receive free or reduced entry to all of USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter’s educational events, access to opportunities to build relationships with our community of almost 500 members, and eligibility to serve on Chapter committees, community projects, and board of directors. Build your knowledge, build your network, and build your community by becoming a USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter member!

Review member benefits and levels online here, or head directly to the membership registration form

Join

Renew

Contest Details

Timeframe:

How to Participate

  • Join the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter or renew your membership to be entered into a drawing for the prizes listed below.
  • Encourage a friend, colleague or contact to join! Current members that are listed in the “who/what encouraged you to join” field of the membership application will be entered into the drawing once for each member they refer.
  • The member making the most referrals will win 1 year of Forest Park Forever Membership

Prizes 

  • Drawing Prizes:
    • $25 gift card to Green Dining Alliance Certified Snarf”s Sandwiches
    • $25 gift card to Green Dining Alliance Certified Water Street
    • $50 gift card donated by Envision Lighting Design
  • The member making the most referrals will win 1 year of Forest Park Forever Membership

 

Many thanks to the following  for their prize donations!
envision-logo
Envision Lighting Design
snarfsGreen Dining Alliance
Snarf’s Sandwiches, with 3 star Green Dining Alliance certified locations in the Loop and on Skinker. Your dining decisions matter! Choose one of the over 100 Green Dining Alliance certified sustainable restaurants for your next dining experience.
water-streetGreen Dining Alliance
Water Street, a 3 star Green Dining Alliance certified restaurant. Your dining decisions matter! Choose one of the over 100 Green Dining Alliance certified sustainable restaurants for your next dining experience.
download
 Forest Park Forever



Washington University Competes in the DoE Solar Decathlon 2017

Posted: August 3rd, 2017

Guest Post by the Washington University Solar Decathlon Team

The Washington University team has collaborated with leading industry partners to overcome unique challenges in designing the concrete residential building. The CRETE house footings, walls, floor, and ceiling are all made out of pre-cast concrete. The walls consist of sandwich panels- structural concrete on the interior, insulation in the middle, and UHPC (Ultra High Performance Concrete) on the exterior. Although construction of CRETE House is currently taking place on the North campus of Washington University, it will be disassembled and shipped to Denver, Colorado where the team will put it back together in time for the Solar Decathlon competition. Therefore, modularity was integral to design. All the systems – mechanical, electrical, and plumbing – are directly attached to a steel “core” that sits in the center of the building. The entire house can be erected in under a week.

Additionally, CRETE House is not designed to use a traditional HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system; instead, tubing in the floors and ceiling carry cool or warm water, to adjust the interior temperature. Due to the concrete’s thermal mass, the house can act as a thermal battery and cut down on heating/cooling costs. A solar array is fixed to the roof and generates all of the daily electrical needs. This level of systems and architecture integration is often only seen in multi-million dollar buildings.

The innovative design of CRETE House has provided an opportunity to tackle one of the most important challenges for sustainable construction – CO2 emissions. Preliminary calculations show that CRETE House saves significant CO2 emissions over the life cycle of the house, despite the higher carbon emissions to produce the structural materials. A large chunk of these CO2 savings come from the increased lifespan of concrete, indoor environment regulation system, and reduced maintenance.

CRETE House, as well as 13 other innovative houses, will be on display in Denver, Colorado from October 5-15th, 2017. The Solar Decathlon is open to the public and all are welcome to visit. The house will be permanently installed at the Tyson Research Center for visiting scientists, during the winter of 2017-2018.

Crete House

To track the progress of Team WashU and CRETE House, follow them on their website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.