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.

Call for Proposals: 2020 Educational Programs

Posted: June 13th, 2019

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter is accepting proposals for 2020 educational programs.

While proposals on all topics related to green building and sustainable communities will be considered, preference will be given to those that address one or more of the following:

  • Climate Solutions: Addressing Urgency & Taking Action
  • Resilience & Innovative Recovery
  • Social Equity

Engaging, interactive approaches to enhance learning are desired.


  • Call for Proposals Issued June 17, 2019.
  • Proposals due by Friday, August 2, 2019 at 11:59 PM CST.
  • Selected Speakers notified by November 8, 2019.



Winners of the 2018 -19 Green Schools Quest

Posted: April 4th, 2019

We cannot say enough about the accomplishments and impact of our 2018-19 Green Schools Quest schools. According to the numbers reported in participating schools’ final reports, over 3,000 students and 180 faculty and staff were directly involved in this year’s Green Schools Quest projects. And over 33,000 additional individuals were impacted through the projects this year!

We are thrilled to share the winners of the 2018 -19 Green Schools Quest!

Elementary Category
1st – Kirkwood Early Childhood Center
2nd – Highcroft Ridge Elementary (Parkway)
3rd – Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School

Middle School Category
1st – Forsyth School
2nd TIE –Nipher Middle School (Kirkwood)
2nd TIE – North Kirkwood Middle School
3rd – Grand Center Arts Academy (Confluence)

High School Category
1st – Kirkwood High School
2nd – Herculaneum High School
3rd – Jennings Senior High

Rookie of the Year (TIE) – Hazelwood West Middle School & McKinley Classical Leadership Academy (St. Louis Public)

Sustainability Champion – Little Flower Catholic School

Focus of the Year (Energy) – Crossroads Elementary (Wentzville)

Judges Choice – Brown Elementary (Hazelwood)

Innovation – St. Margaret of Scotland

Click here to view final documentation from 2018-19 winning submissions.

Interview with Harvard’s Gregory Norris on ‘Handprints’

Posted: March 7th, 2019

KDHX Earthworms gets in touch with Handprints: Dr. Gregory Norris shares this powerfully encouraging idea with host Jean Ponzi.

A lot of enviro-info dis-credits our human species for the impacts of our “footprints” on Earth’s systems, and on beings other than ourselves.

Scientist and public health advocate Greg Norris was inspired, while working with Life Cycle Analyses, to look up from Footprints and focus on the human part that can collaborate, create and restore. “Handprinting” has become a vehicle to encourage and measure our capacity to be a benefit on Earth.

Beneficial actions – and the ripples of influence they create – can now be measured through a key piece of Norris’ work-in-progress, the app Handprinter.org.

This tool and idea aim to ensure that Earth is better off because of human beings, than without us.

Gregory Norris will present “Handprints and Footprints” in St. Louis on Tuesday evening, March 12 for the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter

Read more at http://earthworms.kdhxtra.org/handprints-gregory-norris-retouches-human-impacts#XdpXPlhEB7cS9ikw.99



Turn Inspiration into Action

Posted: February 21st, 2019

I've Got Sunshine

Join the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter this spring to be inspired by those making a difference locally, regionally and globally. Gain momentum and inspiration while accessing tools and programs that you can use to drive positive change.

March 12 – Handprints and Footprints

Visionary Gregory Norris will share his concept of “handprints,” an optimistic philosophy for addressing the challenge of sustainability. The approach aims to engage people not only in reducing their footprints (negative environmental impacts), but also in creating a net-positive impact on the environment through their handprints.

Norris is co-director of the Sustainability and Health Initiative for Net-Positive Enterprise (SHINE) at the Harvard School for Public Health, and chief scientist at the International Living Future Institute. His concept of ‘Handprints’ was featured on the front page of Time Magazine in 2012.

April 3 – Annual Green Schools Event

Join us at the 12th Annual Green Schools Event to celebrate student-driven sustainability projects in local schools!

This free event, which is open to the public, is the culmination of the 2018-19 Green Schools Quest – a project-based challenge to K-12 schools to implement a sustainability project over 6 months with the help of a USGBC-MGC Green Mentor. 59 school/mentor teams in the St. Louis region are participating this school year.

Winners will be announced at the event and participating schools will display posters detailing their projects. Several winning schools will take the stage to tell the fun and inspiring stories of their experiences. Attendees will find out how they can participate in the 2019-20 Green Schools Quest, as schools or mentors.

April 3 – April 24: Project Drawdown EcoChallenge

Drawdown EcoChallenge, offered by EcoChallenge.org and Project Drawdown, is a fun and social way to take measurable action on the top solutions to global warming. Join the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter team to see how three weeks of action add up to a lifetime of change for you and the planet.

The challenge takes place from April 3 – April 24, and is free and open to the public, and registration is open now. Join the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter team here.

May 14 – Regional Green Building Challenges and Successes – How can we improve?

A panel of design, construction, development and business ownership professionals will discuss national and regional green building progress to date, regional success stories and challenges, as well as opportunities to build momentum.

Audience members will be engaged in actively examining how we can learn from today’s successes and challenges to better guide clients towards pursuing best practices in sustainable design and construction.


May 21 – Supporting Global Goals Locally through Green Buildings

The United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in 2015 to “promote prosperity while protecting the planet.” The 17 Goals are wide-ranging, challenging humanity to decouple economic growth from climate change, poverty, and inequality.

Green building supports many of the Sustainable Development Goals by reducing waste and contributing to healthier physical environments, but also by educating, creating jobs, reducing inequalities, and strengthening communities. At this in-depth session, learn more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals, their relevance to the St. Louis-area green building industry, and how to use them to better communicate and advance partnerships.


2019 GPRO Operations + Maintenance Essentials Training

Posted: February 7th, 2019

2019 GPRO O+M Training FlyerEfficient operations and smart maintenance in buildings not only reduce operating costs by 20-50%, but increase occupancy rates and tenant satisfaction. Green Professional Building Skills Training (GPRO) Operations + Maintenance Essentials is a two day course that provides building professionals with strategies to improve efficiency, comfort, and health in our existing buildings. Participants leave with at least three immediately actionable measures and the next steps needed to achieve them.

This course is ideal for property managers and building staff in multifamily residential and commercial buildings, including: building superintendents, operators, facility and property managers, operating engineers and stationary engineers.

USGBC-MGC is the local delivery partner for this Green Building Professional Skills (GPRO) Training in partnership with Urban Green (NYC Chapter) who developed the training in partnership with the local building trades.

Continuing Education Hours: 12 GBCI CE Hours and 12 AIA/CES LU

Cost: $300 for USGBC-Missouri Gateway Members / $350 for non-members – includes course materials, breakfast & lunch both days, and certificate exam

Scholarships may be available. Please contact Emily Andrews at 314-577-0854 to inquire.

What Students Learn: 

Part 1: Fundamentals of Building Green (4 hours)

  • Economic and health benefits from green buildings
  • Causes and impacts of a changing climate
  • Transitioning to sustainable operations
  • Complying with green codes and standards
  • Understanding LEED
  • Overview of green building strategies
  • The importance of commissioning

Part 2: Operations & Maintenance Essentials (8 hours)

  • Using building metrics to improve performance
  • Improving the building envelope for a healthier building
  • Reducing water use
  • Employing strategies for efficient and cost-effective heating and cooling systems
  • Managing lighting to minimize energy use while maintaining lighting quality
  • Maintaining indoor air quality for tenant comfort
  • Reducing waste
Learn more and register using the links below: 

2019 Benchmarking Training Schedule

Posted: January 2nd, 2019

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter, the City of St. Louis, and partners announce multiple opportunities to learn about energy benchmarking and get hands-on assistance with the free, online tool ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

What is Benchmarking?

Benchmarking is the process of tracking your building’s energy and/or water use and comparing your performance to similar buildings and to past performance. Benchmarking is the first step in determining how to conserve resources, reduce operating costs, and reduce environmental impacts.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a free and secure online tool that tracks energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Any building can use ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to understand their energy, water, and waste performance – schools, governments, congregations, businesses and retail stores.

Event Descriptions

Drop-in Benchmarking Help Sessions

Hands-on Help Session

Stop by our office during a drop-in session to receive hands-on help with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Attendees should bring a laptop and all information needed for benchmarking (list available via event links below). This event is free, but registration is requested.

Benchmarking 101

Presentation with Q&A

Benchmarking 101 will provide an overview of the City of St. Louis’s 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. This event is free, but registration is requested. 

Benchmarking and Energy Efficiency Carousel

This interactive event will provide real details on how to save energy in buildings. Participants will circulate between quick presentations, gaining insight into numerous energy efficiency projects and financing solutions. This event is free, but registration is requested.

GPRO Operations & Maintenance Essentials

Two day in-depth training

Efficient operations and smart maintenance in buildings not only reduce operating costs by 20-50%, but increase occupancy rates and tenant satisfaction. Taught by industry experts, the two day GPRO Operations & Maintenance Essentials Course provides building professionals with the critical tools to transition from conventional to sustainable operations.

Training Schedule

Full details and registration available via the links below.

Tuesday, February 5, 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Benchmarking 101

Wednesday, February 20, 3 – 5 pm
Drop-in Benchmarking Help Session

Wednesday, February 27 – Thursday, February 28, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
GPRO Operations + Maintenance Essentials

Tuesday, March 19, 9 – 11 am
Drop-in Benchmarking Help Session

Thursday, March 28, 8:00 – 10:00 am 
Benchmarking & Energy Efficiency Carousel

Thursday, April 18, 9 – 11 am
Drop-in Benchmarking Help Session

Wednesday, May 22 & Wednesday, May 29, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
GPRO Operations + Maintenance Essentials

Thursday, August 8 – Friday, August 9, 8:30 am – 4:0 pm
GPRO Operations + Maintenance Essentials

Wednesday, August 28, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Drop-in Benchmarking Help Session

Tuesday, September 24, 9:00 – 11:00 am
Drop-in Benchmarking Help Session

Tuesday, October 29, 9:00 – 11:00 am
Drop-in Benchmarking Help Session

Thursday, November 7, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Drop-in Benchmarking Help Session

Thursday, November 14 – Friday, November 15, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm both days
GPRO Operations + Maintenance Essentials

Thursday, December 17, 9:00 – 11:00 am
Drop-in Benchmarking Help Session

About the City of St. Louis’s Building Energy Awareness Ordinance

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 May 1 of each year using the free, online tool ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Full details about the Building Energy Awareness Ordinance are available at www.stlbenchmarking.com.

About the Better Buildings Through Benchmarking Campaign

The Better Buildings Through Benchmarking Campaign recognizes and supports buildings of all types and sizes to benchmark their energy use, a building management best practice. Over 80 businesses, organizations and institutions have voluntarily pledged to benchmark, the first step to reduce operating costs and environmental impacts. Learn more and join the campaign at www.BetterBuildingsStl.org. 


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Maintain the Momentum: St. Louis as a Climate Leader

Posted: November 27th, 2018

It’s been an important year for fostering green buildings in the St. Louis region and I’m very proud that our USGBC- Missouri Gateway Chapter has played a pivotal role. 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.

With the latest Special Report from the International Panel on Climate Change and the just-released Fourth National Climate Assessment Report, it’s even more clear that the critical time for climate action is now. It’s critical that we change the way we build and operate our existing and new buildings. We also must focus on wellness for building occupants inside and out and better adapt to changing conditions.

I want to share some of our 2018 accomplishments today and invite you to join us in the work ahead. Your support makes a significant difference to our community and region:

Benchmarking energy and water use continues to be front and center following the old adage “you can’t improve what you don’t measure.” We played a major role in educating building owners and managers on the benchmarking requirements after last year’s passage of the City of St. Louis’ Building Energy Awareness Ordinance. So far in 2018, The Chapter has held 22 Benchmarking Trainings serving over 200 building representatives.


In addition to supporting the City, our work in Better Buildings through Benchmarking continues to grow with benchmarking assistance to municipalities in St. Louis County, schools, and congregations.

With the help of funding from Ameren Missouri and an individual donor, our Benchmarking Intern, Mat Emden, is assisting Maplewood, MO; Clayton, MO; Wildwood, MO; and St. Charles County Library to benchmark their building energy use.

The Chapter also actively participated in the City of St. Louis’ selection as a one of the 20 Bloomberg Philanthropies’ America Cities Climate Challenge. This will focus on leveraging existing benchmarking and financial programs to significantly improve energy efficiency of private-sector buildings as well as develop and execute a comprehensive solar action strategy. All issues important to our goals of reducing emissions and improving health and wellness for our region.

Along with multiple partners, we also helped advocate for the successful adoption of the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for the City of St. Louis which will help drive energy efficiency for all new construction and major renovation


But wait, there’s more! Our Missouri Gateway Chapter embarked on a brand new collaboration this year with the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), the creators of the Living Building Challenge (LBC). We now house the St. Louis Regional Collaborative of ILFI. This brings resources on a wide range of rating systems including SITES, WELL, ParkSmart, LEED and now LBC all under one virtual roof for our region.

All this has been happening while our ongoing programs continued to provide excellent educational opportunities from inspirational to in-depth covering topics from lighting, sustainable operations and district energy systems to a full day Water Blitz attended by area leaders. In addition, we offered in-depth sessions on the WELL, SITES and LEED rating systems.

Finally, once again we had another tremendous year with our Green Schools Quest where we paired 57 school-mentor teams for the 2017-18 school year. Over 5,000 students and staff participated in sustainability projects reaching an additional 30,000 community members. And participation in the 2018-19 school year is our highest levels yet!

As you can tell, your USGBC – Missouri Gateway Chapter has been very busy putting into action our mission of “transforming the built environment” for our region. Please join us by supporting our work this year. We can’t get there without each of you. Join me in supporting this important work by making a donation today!


Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, LEED Fellow

Chair, Board of Directors

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

Donate or Renew and Get Chapter Gear!

Posted: September 27th, 2018
chapter swagFor a limited time, individuals who make a donation to the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter at or above $50 and members who join or renew their Chapter memberships at the Full, National Member Employee, or Contributor levels will receive a complimentary piece of chapter gear! This offer ends on Wednesday, November 7th.
Individuals will be able to select their choice of hat, window cling, pint glass or stainless steel water bottle. Gear can be picked up at the New Member Welcome Social, other Chapter event, or from the Chapter office.

Check out our 2017 Annual Report

Posted: September 17th, 2018

We are on a mission . . .

for better, greener buildings that will tackle the challenge of climate change, while creating better places for living, working, and learning. From existing buildings to new construction, we know that buildings play a crucial role in meeting the urgent challenge of climate change.

Download a PDF of our 2017 Annual Report to learn more!

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 2017 a success!


Save the Date for Greenbuild 2018: USGBC-MGC Can Claim Complimentory Pass

Posted: August 9th, 2018


The annual Greenbuild Expo will be held in Chicago this November 14-16. The event, the world’s largest expo for green buildings, is right in our backyard, and USGBC-MGC members can even claim a complimentary discount code. Greenbuild is the face-to-face experience for sustainability in the built environment. It features inspiring educational opportunities, plus the products and technology you need to become even more sustainable. Upon returning to the field or office, you will be equipped with new knowledge, best practices, and inspiration to continue promoting building green. This is an excellent chance to combine knowledge from your field with preeminent building standards; resources at the expo will allow your ideas to become practice.

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter members have an exclusive discount code to explore the Expo Hall at Greenbuild 2018, happening November 14-16 in Chicago, Illinois. Contact johanna.schweiss@mobot.org to receive the discount code.