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.

Online Learning Opportunities

Posted: March 30th, 2020

With in person events postponed, we thought we’d compile some of the many online and virtual learning opportunities. Stay engaged and maintain your professional credential while practicing social distancing!

Check out this Google Doc for more details.

Know of opportunities that aren’t listed in the Google Doc? Email us at usgbc-mogateway@mobot.org with your suggestion.




Stay Safe & Engaged

Posted: March 23rd, 2020

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Activity Updates

National Updates

Connect Remotely, Support Locally

Public health is important. Your health is important for better buildings, and better buildings equal better lives. Our vision is that buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation. Help us make that happen by staying safe during this rapidly changing environment with the worldwide response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The most important thing you can do for the economy and the health and safety of our community is to slow the spread of the virus.

Grab-and-Go Food Sites

slps.org/meals Students 18 and younger must be present for grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meals 8am-12pm in the Gym at 33 select city schools.

Operation Food Search

St. Louis Area Foodbank 

Good Life Growing
2720 N. 14th St. 63106 10am-7pm

STL Take It Home

Just because you can’t grab a meal inside your favorite local restaurant right now, doesn’t mean you can’t support local businesses in other ways. Purchase gift cards, make a donation, purchase merchandise, tip generously and visit Curbside STL for information on restaurants providing pickup, curbside and delivery services.

However you choose to support the local food and drink scene, you’re not just helping small business owners you’re also helping their employees, food suppliers, and the St. Louis economy at large. The service industry is highly affected by this change in environment, give them confidence and support local.

Support local farmers, buy fresh veggies, and stay healthy!

Shop @localharveststl @stlcitygreens @macslocaleats and Old North Provisions. Visit @tgfarmersmarket‘s website to sign-up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program) food box starting Tuesday, March 24th or Fair Shares CCSA. Pick-up fresh produce from @legacycirclefarms online farmer’s market. Check out eatherestl.com for delivery of locally-grown food and @knownandgrownstl to see what other farmers offer online ordering and where to get local, Known & Grown farmers’ products during the pandemic.

Support local businesses and stay in the know, join #314together ‘s Facebook group and be part of the conversation using #314together. A local business yourself? Stay informed with business updates: stlregionalchamber.com/covid-19. Learn about the emergency legislation passed to assist businesses.

Connect with Green Building and the Community

If you have pictures you would like to share on how you’re keeping green, building green, or going green this pandemic please send your photo(s) and a sentence describing your experience to fbrandt@mobot.org or join the conversation with #greenbuildingsarebetter. Follow us online @usgbcmogateway. Instagram. Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Email.

We thank you for the work you do to contribute to safer and healthier conditions for everyone, everywhere. Thank you.

St. Louis Flag

 




Charlotte’s Transition to a Circular Economy – March 10th

Posted: March 6th, 2020

Envisioning a Circular Economy

As humans we’ve adapted a linear approach to economics; we take, we make, we dispose. Yet, does this activity benefit our living system? Does it benefit you? Or your business? Probably not. We need to redefine growth, focus on positive society-wide benefits and build economic, natural, and social capital. How is this possible? The Circular Economy. The circular economy is based upon three principles; design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems. It’s a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design, according to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation.

At the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter (USGBC-MGC), we challenge the St. Louis region to be an innovative part of the solution, generating sustainable solutions that address the current needs and challenges we face, without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. Sustainable development plays a significant role in shaping the future of our environment and society. So that we might learn from another community taking innovative action, we’ve invited speaker Amy Aussieker, the Executive Director of Envision Charlotte, to share the successes and challenges Charlotte, North Carolina has had since launching their circular economy plan.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Aussieker will speak at Alberici Headquarters in St. Louis, MO about Charlotte’s Transition to a Circular Economy. This evening program aligns with the USGBC-MGC’s 2020 educational theme, Climate Solutions: Addressing Urgency & Taking Action. We are excited to welcome Aussieker and discuss how Charlotte’s local government, utilities, universities and businesses are addressing the four environmental pillars of energy, air, water, and waste.

Charlotte's Transition to a Circular EconomyA circular economy is all about energy, all the interconnecting companies that form our infrastructure and economy and how that energy is extracted, used, reused, and returned to the Earth and the people; building economic, natural, and social capital. For example, Envision Charlotte’s inaugural project tackled “Smart Energy,” helping 61 of the largest commercial buildings reduce their energy use by 19%, equivalent to 26 million dollars in savings and taking 11,000 cars off the road (Forbes, 2019). What about waste?

How can our waste build capital, rather than reduce it? What if the goods of today became the resources of tomorrow? Instead of the throw away and replace culture, we accept a new method of return and renew (Re-thinking Progress video, Ellen Macarthur Foundation). Charlotte came up with an action plan to make the city more circular, tying in with their sustainable energy goals to reduce carbon dioxide, they have begun to harness valuable materials, that would have been headed to the landfill like plastics, textiles, concrete and organics. REthinking the operating system and REdesigning the way Charlotte’s economy works – REpresenting a systemic shift that builds long-term resilience, generates business and economic opportunities, and provides environmental and social benefits.

Please be sure to join us March 10th, 2020 5:30 – 7:30 pm for Charlotte’s Transition to a Circular Economy and learn about the short and long-term strategies, community participation, and benefits of developing a circular economy. Follow us @usgbcMOgateway and register at www.usgbc-mogateway.org/events!





City of St. Louis Proposing Building Energy Performance Standard

Posted: January 17th, 2020

We are excited to work with and partner with the City of St. Louis in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by driving energy efficiency in our largest buildings. This effort started through the City Energy Project and energy & water benchmarking requirements.

USGBC-Missouri Gateway has been the City’s education partner throughout the implementation of benchmarking, providing dozens of drop in help session opportunities, Benchmarking 101 trainings, Benchmarking & Energy Efficiency Carousels and Green Professional Building Skills (GPRO) trainings. Check out our upcoming 2020 training schedule here.

The next step after benchmarking is improving our buildings, right? After multiple stakeholder meetings in 2019, the City is proposing a Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS), which aligns with the City’s greenhouse gas reduction goal of reducing emissions 100% by 2050 from 2005 levels. The BEPS will help the City meet their climate goals and result in better buildings, reduced energy costs, improved air quality, and a more sustainable future.

  • Read a summary of the proposed standard here.
  • Read the full draft ordinance here.
  • The City is collecting comments on the draft ordinance through January 30, 2020. Find the comment form here.

We are proud to be part of this work to make St. Louis buildings more efficient so they are part of the the solution to climate change rather than part of the problem.




Preserving the Past for a Sustainable Future

Posted: December 17th, 2019

Congratulations to the Missouri Historical Society and their partners on their efforts towards a more sustainable future.

The newly renovated Soldiers Memorial Military Museum now boasts a LEED Gold certification. Additionally, the Missouri Historical Society is striving to make the building’s day to day operations as green as possible in the pursuit of TRUE (Total Resource Use & Efficiency) Zero Waste Certification.

We’re pleased to shine a green spot light on this building and its green renovation and operations with a few case studies!

Check out the LEED Project Profile to learn more about Solders’ Gold Certification.

Check out the TRUE Zero Waste Case Study for more about waste diversion efforts in the building.

Thank you to the St. Louis Jefferson Solid Waste Management District and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for their support to produce waste diversion case studies. 




Roots to Leaves: Learning, Implementing, and Teaching Sustainability in Schools

Posted: November 18th, 2019

How do you teach your children to care for the world around them? How do you protect your students in the school environment? How do you promote a future generation of leaders who value sustainability? These questions are hard to answer – but, parents, students, educators, and activists across the globe collaborate every day to address these challenges. There are hundreds of resources offering tools to enhance processes of learning, implementing, and teaching environmental responsibility in schools. Nonetheless, finding the best tools to reach your unique goals can be tedious. In order to alleviate time-consuming research, the USGBC MO Gateway Chapter published the GSQ Educators’ Guide to Education for Sustainability as a resource for educators participating in the Green Schools Quest.

The guide highlights resources to strengthen your ability to enact change in your community. Inside you’ll find:

Professional development opportunities;

The first step to any successful project is a robust understanding of sustainability. The learning process never ends, which is why the guide recommends professional development summits supporting Education for Sustainability.

This year, the Green Schools Conference & Expo will be held in Portland, Oregon and feature three days of programing. Danni Washington, co-founder of The Big Blue & You and host of a STEM educational TV show, will keynote the event. Leaders and advocates will work together to share what they’ve learned working for visible, measurable and lasting progress in green schools. To learn more about the conference and register, check out the conference website here: http://greenschoolsconference.org/.

Programs to chart progress and accountability;

Implementing change works best with a plan of action and an accountability system. The guide offers a list of goals and reward programs such as Missouri Green Schools and the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools. These programs direct goal setting and timeline creation specifically tailored to schools.

And, guides to accessible sustainability education.

Teaching about sustainability can feel daunting. From water to energy to buildings, the undertaking seems unending. The guide provides an initial list of resources to help educators begin the process of incorporating sustainability into the classroom. Tools such as the UN’s World’s Largest Lesson and Webster University’s Rainbow of Sustainability approach are provided to unite teachers with established lesson plans that spark curiosity in students.




New Waste Diversion Case Studies

Posted: November 8th, 2019

What’s the best way to convince others to take steps to reduce waste in their on-going operations? We think it’s by sharing case studies and stories about others successfully implementing best practices in green operations!

We are pleased to share these new waste diversion case studies!

Soldiers Memorial Military Museum recently achieved LEED Gold certification for the museum’s stunning renovation and is now pursuing zero waste certification through Total Resource Use & Efficiency (TRUE) certification.

Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School has participated in our Green Schools Quest since 2015. They won third place in the Elementary Category in 2018-2019 for the work featured in this case study.

Thank you to the St. Louis Jefferson Solid Waste Management District and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for their support of the Green Schools Quest and our on-going educational programming.

How to Make Compost - an educational sign from efforts to reduce waste at Saul Mirowitz.

How to Make Compost – an educational sign from efforts to reduce waste at Saul Mirowitz.

Signage used by the Missouri Historical Society when conducting waste audits at their buildings.

Signage used by the Missouri Historical Society when conducting waste audits at their buildings.




USGBC-MGC Receives Outstanding Service Award

Posted: November 4th, 2019

USGBC-MGC staff member Hope Gribble accepts the award from Lesli Moylan, Executive Director of Missouri Environmental Education Association at their annual conference.

USGBC-MGC staff member Hope Gribble accepts award from Lesli Moylan, Executive Director of Missouri Environmental Education Association, at the annual MEEA conference.

On November 2, 2019, USGBC-MGC was presented with the 2019 Outstanding Service Award for Organizations by the Missouri Environmental Education Association (MEEA) in recognition of USGBC-MGC’s leadership in helping to advance green schools initiatives in Missouri and as an invaluable partner in moving MEEA’s mission for environmental literacy forward.




Celebrating LEED Gold Certifications with Soldiers Memorial and Gateway Arch Visitor Center & Museum

Posted: August 13th, 2019

USGBC-Missouri Gateway was thrilled to help two iconic and historic St. Louis buildings historic buildings celebrate their LEED Gold Certifications! On August 7, USGBC’s President and CEO, Mahesh Ramanujam, visited St. Louis to award LEED Gold Plaques to Soldiers Memorial Military Museum and the Visitor Center & Museum at the Gateway Arch.

Congratulations to the owners and project teams of these fantastic projects! We are so proud to see St. Louis’ institutions leading the way towards a healthier, more sustainable future.

Visitor Center & Museum at the Gateway Arch Plaque Presentation

ArchwPosterFrom left to right: Richard Schuessler, USGBC-MGC Board chair; Ryan McClure, Executive Director of Gateway Arch Park Foundation; Phillip Lawrence, Project Manager, National Park Service; Mike Ward, Superintendent, Gateway Arch National Park; Mahesh Ramanujam, USGBC President & CEO; Ralph Bicknese, Hellmuth+Bicknese Architects; Anna Leavey, Director of Construction, Gateway Arch Park Foundation; Emily Andrews, Executive Director, USGBC-MGC.

To learn more about the Visitors Center and Museum at the Gateway Arch, visit the Gateway Arch Park Foundation’s website.

Soldiers Memorial Military Museum Plaque Presentation

Soliders_Mahesh+Karen3 Karen Goering, Missouri Historical Society Managing Director of Administration and Operations and Mahesh Ramanujam,, USGBC President and CEO.

To learn more about Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, visit the Missouri Historical Society’s website.

And stay tuned for LEED Projects Profiles coming soon – or visit the museums yourself!




USGBC-MGC and City of St. Louis Release Energy Efficiency Checklist

Posted: July 30th, 2019

Energy Efficiency Checklist 7.26.19_Page_1Together, the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter and the City of St. Louis have partnered to release an Energy Efficiency Checklist.

The checklist outlines numerous opportunities to save energy, including no-cost operational changes, low-cost improvements, medium cost measures, measures to consider at replacement or renovation, and trainings and certification opportunities for building staff. The checklist also outlines resources to use when searching for a contractor, funding resources, and opportunities for recognition.

Download the Energy Efficiency Checklist here (pdf).


 

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 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 USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

USGBC-Missouri Gateway aims to make every building a green building because everyone deserves to live, work, and learn in healthy spaces. Through education and outreach, we engage community leaders in sustainable projects that provide environmental, health and economic benefits in the region. Contact USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter to share your benchmarking and energy efficiency success story in a case study or at an upcoming event.