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 Green Ribbon Schools Honorees Announced

Posted: May 16th, 2018

The U.S. Department of Education has announced the names of the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Awardees, including four schools in the state of Missouri:

  • Bellerive Elementary School, Creve Coeur, MO
  • Green Trails Elementary School, Chesterfield, MO
  • W.W. Keysor Elementary School, Kirkwood, MO
  • St. Louis University High School, St. Louis, MO

Across the country, 46 schools, six districts, and six postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.

The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 58 honorees can be found here. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars can be found here.

Congratulations to the 2018 Honorees!

Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School Wins International “Best of Green Schools” Award

Posted: May 9th, 2018

MRH MS GSQ award

MRH MS Students Best of Green Schools

MRH MS Best of Green Schools Award

Congratulations to Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School – Winner of the “Best of Green Schools” class of 2018 – an award presented by the Center for Green Schools and the Green Schools National Network.

Recipients are chosen by a jury of green school leaders and advocates from around the country, and selected based on their demonstration of real change in our schools.

In the words of Jennifer Seydel, head of the Green Schools National Network, “Every movement needs leaders, and this year’s Best of Green Schools honorees reflect the transformative leadership that is needed to move the green schools movement from niche to mainstream.”

MRHMS believes that sustainable schools provide all community members with the greatest opportunities for success. It has integrated sustainability and green practices into its curriculum, including lessons in gardening, aquaponics, urban chickens, beehives, composting and rain gardens.

Maplewood Richmond Heights was also recognized as 2nd Place Winner in the 2017-18 Green Schools Quest Middle School Category!  This is the third time that MRH middle school has been acknowledged as a winner during the five years of the Green Schools Quest – clearly demonstrating leadership and creativity in response to the challenge to imagine and implement a new sustainability project for their school.

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Education and Green Schools Manager Hope Gribble attended a MRH Middle School Town Hall on Tuesday, May 8th to present students with both awards. At the ceremony, she stated “It’s not only what you learn, but also where you learn that matters! You have contributed to making where you learn an institution that represents the best environmental efforts in schools across the country. You truly are national leaders and innovators in school sustainability!”

Learn more on Maplewood Richmond Heights School District Website.

Drop-in Benchmarking Help Sessions – New Dates Announced!

Posted: April 19th, 2018

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter and the City of St. Louis are holding several drop-in Benchmarking Help Sessions. Attendees will receive hands-on help to benchmark their energy and water use in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and report data to the City of St. Louis.

These events are free to all, but registration is requested. Attendees may drop in at any point during the help session. Attendees should bring a laptop and needed building information

All help sessions will take place at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Commerce Bank Center for Science Education, at the Northeast Corner of Shaw & Kingshighway across from O’Connell’s Pub, 4651 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110.

Tuesday, May 8th 2018, 9 – 11 am 

Wednesday, May 16th, 3-5pm

Tuesday, May 22nd, 9 – 11am

Wednesday, May 30th, 3-5pm

Wednesday, June 6th, 3-5pm

Green Schools Quest Winners Announced

Posted: April 12th, 2018

Please join us in celebrating the 2017-18 Green Schools Quest winners and participants!

2017-18 WINNERS

Elementary Category
1st Place – East Elementary School (Alton, IL)
2nd Place – Carver Elementary School
3rd Place -Ritenour Center for Gifted Education

Middle School Category
1st Place – North Kirkwood Middle School
2nd Place TIE -Forsyth School
2nd Place TIE – Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School
3rd Place – Premier Charter School

High School Category
1st Place – Kirkwood High School
2nd Place– St. Joseph’s Academy
3rd Place – Hazelwood West High School

Rookie of the Year – Bourbon High School

Sustainability Champion – W.W. Keysor Elementary

Focus of the Year: Community Engagement – Kirkwood High School

Judge’s Choice – Mann Elementary

Innovation – St. Louis University High School

Click here to view the final documentation from the 2017-18 winning submissions!

Playlists of past videos submitted through YouTube are available here.

Thanks to all 57 school/mentor teams that participated in the 2017-18 Green Schools Quest! Click here to view a list of participants.

More details about the Green Schools Quest available here.

Take action with the Drawdown EcoChallenge

Posted: March 20th, 2018

Drawdown EcoChallenge Media Kit

Join the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter’s team in the Drawdown EcoChallenge to take action on the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming!

Join the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Drawdown EcoChallenge Team

Paul Hawken’s Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming  mapped, measured, and modeled 80 research-based actions that, if deployed collectively on a global scale over the next 30 years, offer humans the means to transform our climate crisis into just, livable world conditions. Project Drawdown’s research shows that rather than stopping global warming at 1.5-2 degrees Celsius, we can actually begin to reverse global warming by 2050, using technologies and practices that already exist and are scaling today.

That is why Project Drawdown and EcoChallenge are coming together to offer the Drawdown EcoChallenge from April 4 – April 25, 2018 (you can join at any point during the challenge.) Drawdown EcoChallenge is focused on carbon reduction and is a fun and social way to learn about and take action on the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming.

Check out a quick video to learn how to play!

video tutorial


St. Louis is lucky that the Northwest Earth Institute collected an extensive list of resources specific to our region!


USGBC-MGC Seeks Benchmarking Intern

Posted: March 5th, 2018

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter seeks a Benchmarking Intern to assist with our regional voluntary energy benchmarking efforts.

APPLICATIONS ARE DUE by midnight on Sunday, March 18. Please e-mail a cover letter and resume to emily.andrews@mobot.org. Include contact information for two references with resume.

The Benchmarking Intern will assist USGBC-Missouri Gateway Staff and Advocacy Committee volunteers with outreach to local municipalities and other building owners to encourage participation in the Chapter’s voluntary benchmarking campaign. Work will primarily focus on assisting building owners with the process of benchmarking buildings in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

Please review the full Benchmarking Intern Job Description here.

To learn more about USGBC-Missouri Gateway’s benchmarking work, please visit: www.usgbc-mogateway.org/benchmarking.

Above + Beyond Volunteer Recognition: Lynda Morrison

Posted: January 25th, 2018

LMorrison 12-17 The USGBC-Missouri Gateway is committed to recognizing volunteers who  contribute significantly to the Chapter, devoting time and talents “above and beyond” on a particular project or program. We are happy to recognize Lynda Morrison of St. Louis University, a committed member of the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Advocacy Committee.


Lynda was nominated by Linda Daniel, fellow Advocacy Committee members, for her work to support numerous congregations as they benchmark their energy use and implement energy efficiency projects.


Lynda has been involved with the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter for several years, consistently serving as an eloquent advocate for the importance of environmental work by houses of worship.  Faith-based organizations own and operate over 400,000 buildings in the United States. Implementing sustainable strategies in the operation of their facilities allows congregations of all faiths and denominations to save money, reduce their environmental impacts, and exemplify the teachings of creation care.

Lynda has supported her own congregations, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and First Congregational Church in Webster Groves, to benchmark their energy use in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and then work to reduce their energy use. And she has worked diligently over the past several years to mentor other congregations to do the same.


Kudos to Lynda for her hard work! Volunteers like Lynda are crucial to our work to make every building a green building!

Above + Beyond Volunteer Recognition: Tom Miller

Posted: January 25th, 2018

Tom Miller The USGBC-Missouri Gateway is committed to recognizing volunteers who  contribute significantly to the Chapter, devoting time and talents “above and beyond” on a particular project or program. We are happy to recognize Tom Miller of Energy Resources Group.


Tom volunteered at numerous hands-on Benchmarking Jams in 2017. He put his benchmarking and energy efficiency expertise to good use helping building owners and managers use ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, understand the results they got from the tool, and consider their next steps for improving building performance.


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. Locally, we see an even bigger impact. In 2015, buildings accounted for 77% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the City of St. Louis (2015 GHG Inventory).


Given their contributions to regional and national greenhouse gas emissions, buildings have a significant role to play in the urgent challenge of climate climate change. Benchmarking is a crucial first step for building owners and managers looking to reduce their costs and their environmental impacts.


Volunteers like Tom are a critical part of our work to support all buildings move forward with energy efficiency. Thank you Tom!

Above + Beyond Volunteer Recognition: Frank Eppert, Ross Watson, Kat Golden, Ralph Bicknese and Mary Fitzgerald

Posted: January 25th, 2018

merged images 2.0The USGBC-Missouri Gateway is committed to recognizing volunteers who  contributesignificantly to the Chapter, devoting time and talents “above and beyond” on a particular project or program. We are happy to recognize five dedicated members who have served as Mentors in the Green Schools Quest every year since the launch of the program five years ago. They are Frank Eppert of ABNA, Ross Watson of Jacobs, Kat Golden of the Missouri Botanical Garden, Ralph Bicknese of Hellmuth+Bicknese, and Mary Fitzgerald. Thank you!

These dedicated mentors were nominated by Carolyn Green, our Green Schools Committee Chair.

Frank Eppert of ABNA.  We honor Frank’s commitment to the goal of “Greening” the schools he has mentored.  In his five years of participating with the Green Schools Quest, he has steadily grown the sustainability achievements of the Little Flower School from creating garden boxes to benchmarking the energy usage of their building to ultimately executing a plan to replace outdated light fixtures, one classroom at a time. Thank you Frank for going above and beyond to provide meaningful mentorship to this school and its students.

Ross Watson of Jacobs.  We appreciate the many hours of time and expertise given by Ross to the Green Schools Quest projects at the schools he has mentored.  He has been a participant all five years of the program’s existence.  His work with students includes conducting energy audits, energy benchmarking and monitoring CO2 levels to improve indoor air quality.  We thank Ross for his work to provide technical leadership and exposure to vital energy and air quality measurement tools for so many young people.

Kat Golden of the Missouri Botanical Garden.  Kat has been an invaluable team member during the five years of Green Schools Quest by promoting the importance of the program and educating participants along the way.  The schools and students she has mentored have benefited from her passion in developing waste diversion projects such as composting, recycling and waste reduction.  Kat provides a useful resource in the form of a “waste audit kit” that schools can use as part of their sustainability projects.  Thank you, Kat, for bringing your expertise and consistent leadership to so many schools.

Ralph Bicknese of Hellmuth+Bicknese.  Ralph brings a wealth of knowledge in the areas of building energy efficiency and all things “green” for schools.  He has given hours of expertise during his time as a Green Schools Quest mentor in the areas of building energy audits, reducing transportation energy usage, and construction of a winter garden.  Ralph often presents the Green Schools Quest awards to participating schools.  He has been a Green Schools Mentor all five years, since the program was started.  Thank you, Ralph, for serving as a true public advocate for the important work of the Green Schools Quest and the Green Schools Committee.

Mary Fitzgerald.  We appreciate the dedication and talents of Mary during each year of the five years of the Green Schools Quest.  She has worked with students and schools to increase their understanding and excitement in the areas of sustainable school practices.  During her work as a mentor, Mary served as an expert in establishing vegetable gardens, native landscaping and composting programs.  We thank Mary for her hours of service to the Green Schools Committee and the Green Schools Quest.

Within the past five years, collectively, these five mentors alone have helped students conduct energy audits, install rain barrels, benchmark their school’s energy use, kick-start recycling efforts and divert thousands of pounds of waste from the landfill, shift from disposables in the cafeteria to reusable silverware, advocate for conversions to LED lighting, install native plants and vegetable gardens, begin composting, monitor CO2 levels and improve indoor environmental quality – and more! We appreciate their commitment towards our vision of making every school a green school!

Above + Beyond Volunteer Recognition: Jen Thomas

Posted: January 25th, 2018

Jen ThomasThe USGBC-Missouri Gateway is committed to recognizing volunteers who contribute significantly to the Chapter, devoting time and talents “above and beyond” on a particular project or program. We are happy to recognize Jen Thomas of Washington University’s Gephardt Insitute for Community Engagement for her leadership with the Membership & Marketing Committee!

Jen Thomas was nominated by fellow member and volunteer Jenn Derose for her leadership and promotion of the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter.  “Jen is hardworking, devoted to USGBC, and helped to get me involved.”

In addition to her leadership with the Membership & Marketing Committee, Jen served as a Green Schools Quest Mentor for the 2014-15 and 2016-17 school years. She worked with Chapter staff and several participating schools to compile a series of promotional images for the Green Schools Quest.


Jen – thank you for your commitment and leadership!