Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Opposes Ice Center Development in Creve Coeur Park

St. Louis County Government is considering a proposal to convert 40 acres of Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park into a 250,000 square foot, 4,500 seat ice hockey complex. While we enthusiastically support the development and expansion of recreational facilities in our region, like the proposed ice facility, we believe this is the wrong location for any such development.

This development will significantly increase the built and impermeable space in Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park, reducing open space and leading to increased stormwater runoff and flooding. Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park is a pristine, biodiverse, and delicate ecosystem that would be threatened by a development in such close proximity.

USGBC’s LEED Rating System strongly discourages development of environmentally sensitive lands and encourages the conservation of existing natural areas and restoration of damaged areas.

The site is in the 100 year floodplain. Development as proposed will only add to the existing flooding issues around Creve Coeur Lake and Marine Avenue. Additionally, the site provides valuable habitat and ecosystem services.

The parkland intended for the Ice Arena was purchased through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, designated 6-F, and restricted for outdoor recreation use only. The Arena would be predominantly an indoor use facility and would need a waiver from the National Park Service. We believe outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat are the best uses of the space.

The site is not accessible by public transportation, and so does not allow convenient access by all socioeconomic groups in the region. With a seating capacity of 4,500, the facility will create significant traffic and carbon emissions if only accessible by automobile. LEED encourages projects to reduce the pollution and the land development impacts from automobile use by selecting sites within walking distance of public transportation.

The proposed development will contribute to multiple forms of pollution – including air pollution and carbon emissions, and light and noise pollution, diminishing access to natural areas for our residents and wildlife.

We encourage St. Louis County and the Legacy Ice Foundation to select a different site for this development, prioritizing:

  • Preservation of existing open and natural spaces
  • Selection of a site outside of a recognized floodplain, and use of Low Impact Design strategies and Stormwater Best Management Practices in site design.
  • Energy efficient building design
  • Access to public transportation

We encourage you to voice your concerns by doing the following:




Urgency & Resolve In the Face of the US Exit from the Paris Agreement

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway is deeply disappointed in the administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

This decision makes our regional green building work even more urgent. For over 15 years, we’ve been educating on the importance of climate action and greenhouse gas emissions reduction, supporting building designers, building operators, and local governments to reduce their environmental impacts. We’ve been advocating for green building policies that conserve natural resources, reduce costs, and improve human health.

Our Regional Environmental Internship Program has supported six local governments to complete greenhouse gas inventories and climate action plans. Our 25×20 Voluntary Energy Benchmarking Campaign has engaged over 80 building owners and operators to commit to benchmark their building energy use, the first step toward energy and emissions reduction. And our leadership were instrumental in the passage of the City of St. Louis’ Building Energy Awareness Ordinance.

With urgency and resolve, we will continue this important work. As the national USGBC says in their statement, “Today, our efforts continue unabated and with commitment and hope that’s stronger than ever.” We hope you join us in our work to transform the built environment and speed our transition to a low carbon economy. Become a member, sign on to the 25×20 Energy Benchmarking Campaign, and start making a difference!




Advocacy Alert: #DefendClimate and Sign USGBC’s Letter to Preserve EPA Programs, including ENERGY STAR

The United States Office of Management and Budget released its plan for the proposed 2018 budget, which includes elimination of or deep cuts to vital programs.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy StarWaterSense and Safer Choice programs are all in jeopardy.

USGBC and many others in the building industry rely on these tools from EPA to create and sustain high performing green buildings! Our 20 x 20 Voluntary Energy Benchmarking Campaign uses ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to help building owners track and improve their energy performance. Portfolio Manager is also the basis for earning energy performance credits in LEED Building Operations + Maintenance. It is free tool with a proven track record that helps reduce energy use, lower energy costs, and protect the health of humans and the environment. Win-win-win!

SIGN USGBC’s LETTER NOW to ensure that the Energy Star, WaterSense and Safer Choice programs at EPA continue. 

Want to do more? Contact your elected official directly and let your support for these programs be heard. Below are a few talking points about ENERGY STAR that might be helpful.

  • ENERGY STAR is the most widely recognized symbol for energy efficiency, with a brand awareness of about 90%.
  • In 2015 alone, American consumers and businesses saved over $34 billion with the help of ENERGY STAR.
  • Since 1992, ENERGY STAR has assisted companies and consumers save $430 billion on utility bills.
    Approximately 45% of the commercial building floor space in the U.S. has been benchmarked for tracking and analyzing energy consumption using ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager.
  • Since 1999, ENERGY STAR has certified more than 28,000 buildings and more than 5 billion square feet of space.
  • ENERGY STAR has more than 3,100 home builder partners who constructed almost 1.8 million certified new homes since 1995. Many of these properties also pursue additional private sector certifications like LEED.

Additionally, President Trump recently signed an executive order rolling back the Clean Power Plan. This threatens our ability to limit and deal with climate change. We encourage you to contact your elected officials to express your support of the need to #DefendClimate. A few talking points below:

  • Climate change threatens human health and our ability to continue doing business. Secretary of Defense James Mattis recently asserted that climate change is real and a threat to American national security.
  • In a recent poll, 59% of voters oppose a repeal of climate change regulations.
  • Climate action is necessary to protect our future.

Find your elected officials contact information below:

USGBC will continue to monitor the budget situation and keep membership updated, but please feel free to be in touch with USGBC-Missouri Gateway staff or leadership if you want to get more involved!




Benchmarking Case Study: Clayco

08 28 2016_Clayco 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 Clayco, now featured in a benchmarking case study.

PROJECT BACKGROUND
Clayco has been using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to benchmark their St. Louis office since 2007. Using this tool gave them a baseline, as well as the motivation to raise their score. As a result of energy saving strategies and building improvements that they have implemented since 2007, their ENERGY STAR score has more than doubled. Clayco has already met their goal to reduce their energy use 25% by the year 2020!

STRATEGIES AND RESULTS
Four years ago, Clayco implemented on-going commissioning of the building, and has more recently started monitoring-based commissioning (Both of these commissioning strategies are new paths for enhanced commissioning in LEED v4). Through monitoring-based commissioning, they were able to realize energy savings with improvements to their economizer and morning warm up controls. They achieved even greater energy savings by updating their 1994 HVAC building management system programming with the latest 2016 energy savings controls, without any added cost.

Since taking the 25×20 Energy Benchmarking Pledge, they have seen months with as much as a 40% energy savings from their 2013 baseline. This amazing reduction in energy usage has helped Clayco reach their 25×20 goal several years ahead of schedule. They will also be close to ENERGY STAR Certification by the end of the year.

As well as energy savings, there have also been improvements to the interior environment including: greater amounts of outdoor air, faster regulation of temperature to within the thermal comfort zone, improved acoustic quality, and more responsive thermostat control. Through monitoring-based commissioning, potential issues have been resolved before they become an occupant issue. Clayco has been implementing changes based on user feedback, and has enough feedback to conclude that user comfort has increased along with the energy savings.

ABOUT CLAYCO
Clayco is a full-service, turnkey real estate, architecture, engineering, design-build and construction firm, which was founded in 1984. Clayco has over 1,645 employees, offices in Chicago and St. Louis, and projects across the country.

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

 




Check out our 2015 Annual Report!

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We are excited to share our 2015 Annual Report with you! Each year, the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter makes progress towards our goal of transforming the built environment. 2015 was no exception, as we continued to provide high quality educational events, celebrated another successful Green Schools Quest, expanded our community offerings, and much more!

2015 Highlights

  • We provide opportunities for people who care about green building to connect and learn! In 2015, over 30 unique educational events, representing 100 hours of continuing education, reached over 1500 individuals.
  • WHERE WE LEARN MATTERS! Over 25% of Americans attend school every day. We are helping to make their spaces greener and healthier for learning and teaching through the Green Schools Quest. 4,000 Green Schools Quest participants in 38 School / Mentor teams impacted over 30,000 individuals with their sustainability projects during the 2014-15 school year!
  • We are ADVANCING green building through community projects like the Plan Builder Workshop held in partnership with Missouri Interfaith Power and Light. 15 multi-faith congregations attended and began creating a sustainable operations plan for their buildings. This work was featured nationally in USGBC+ Magazine! We also worked with Better Family Life on a neighborhood Plan Builder Workshop and provided an intern to the City of Creve Coeur to complete a phase 2 Greenhouse Gas inventory and Climate Action Plan.
  • The 25 x 20 Voluntary Energy Benchmarking Campaign saw an increase in participation and we hosted a “Benchmarking Jam” in October to celebrate ENERGY STAR Day.
  • Our Emerging Professionals gave back to the community in 2015 with two Community Service Projects. Volunteers built “Little Free Libraries” and held a book drive for Ford Elementary School, and participated in a home weatherization project with EnergyCare.
  • We love to celebrate green building success and do this with case studies, project profiles, Green Building Experts and especially our annual awards. In 2015, we looked back at 6 years of 40 awardees with the Growing Green Spotlight!
  • 2015 educational programming placed a special emphasis on building materials and specifically how that credit category is changing with LEEDv4. In September, we welcomed building material experts from around the country for a full day continuing education blitz on Braving the New World of Building Material Selection.
  • Throughout the year, our 150 Volunteers contributed 5,000 Hours to strategic planning and development, outreach to community partners, committees and projects like the Green Schools Quest.

Many thanks to the leaders, committees, volunteers, members, sponsors and donors for making 2015 a success!

You can view the report as an online magazine below, or download a pdf.




Greening Your Community – Saving the Planet One Garden at a Time

Join the Jewish Environmental Initiative (a committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council), Missouri Interfaith Power & Light, and  the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter for a discussion on how gardens can be used as a tool to care for our planet, help communities in need, and address climate change.

The event will feature two keynote speakers followed by a panel discussion.  The first keynote speaker is Mike Roberts, former meteorologist for KSDK News Channel 5, multiple Emmy Award winner and adjunct instructor at Saint Louis University in the department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The second keynote speaker, Sylvester Brown, Jr.,  is a former columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and current Executive Director of the Sweet Potato Project, a program that teaches at risk youth entrepreneurial skills, including urban farming and marketing skills.

The follow-up panel speakers will provide specific suggestions for creating your own native or community garden.  They include Dr. KB Frazier of the Cultivating Justice Project, Chris Hartley of the Butterfly House, Kim Reiss of Sugar Creek Gardens, and Matt Schindler of Gateway Greening.  The panel discussion will be moderated by Jean Ponzi, Green Resources Manager of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s EarthWays Center.      

WHEN: Tuesday, September 20, 2016
6:45 pm – 7:00 pm – Check in
7:00 – 9:00 pm – Program
9:00 pm – Light refreshments and networking
WHERE: The Ethical Society of Saint Louis
9001 Clayton Road,
Saint Louis, MO 63117 (map)

FEE: FREE

REGISTER: Click here to register online

Contact Gail Wechsler with any questions at 314-442-3894 or gwechsler@jcrcstl.org

Event co-sponsored by:

Event co-sponsored by the Jewish Environmental Initiative (a committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council), Missouri Interfaith Power & Light, and USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter.




EPA & AIA partner to offer CEUs for pro-bono ENERGY STAR verification

The American Institute of Architects and EPA have partnered to allow architects that verify an ENERGY STAR application pro-bono to earn up to 8 annual Health, Safety and Welfare (HSW) continuing education units.

Earn AIA CEUs while supporting a congregation, school, non-profit or government building!

Registered architects who attend a no-cost ENERGY STAR training webinar will earn one CEU. Those who validate, pro bono, one or more building applications for ENERGY STAR certification will receive seven HSW CEUs, for a total of 8 CEUs annually.

To earn CEUs from AIA, registered architects must:

  1. Sign up to attend one of the free one-hour training sessions on how to verify applications for ENERGY STAR certification.
  2. Pass a short EPA administered quiz to demonstrate knowledge of EPA expectations. Quiz will be accessible at the end of the training session.
  3. Be matched with a building that requests pro-bono verification. Contact Johanna Schweiss to be connected with a building in the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter territory.
  4. Verify your client building’s utility bills, operational details, and indoor environmental conditions. Affix your professional stamp to the ENERGY STAR application.
  5. Submit the signed verification letter to EPA. Once your client has submitted the completed ENERGY STAR application, you will receive continuing education credit(s) from AIA.

More details about this partnership between ENERGY STAR and AIA is available on the ENERGY STAR website.

Earn GBCI CE Hours too!

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter volunteers may self report 1 GBCI CE hour for each hour served performing application verification. CE Hours are in the Volunteering category, which may account for up to 50% of total hours required by LEED Green Associate or LEED AP.

Interested? Be in touch!

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter will be connecting interested volunteers and building representatives to verify ENERGY STAR applications. Email Johanna Schweiss if you’d like to volunteer.

If you represent a non-profit, school, congregational, or government building and are interested in pursuing ENERGY STAR certification, we’re here to help! Email Johanna Schweiss to get started.




Business Case for Energy Efficiency & Clean Energy Follow Up

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter was pleased to co-host “The Business Case for Energy Efficiency & Clean Energy” with E2-Environmental Entrepreneurs, Missouri Energy Initiative, the St. Louis High Performance Building Initiative & the St. Louis Regional Chamber. With nearly 80 people attending, we had a full house! Speakers included:

  • Josh Campbell with MEI and Gail Parson with E2 discussed their Clean Jobs Missouri survey results. Check out their presentation.
  • Ashok Gupta with the Natural Resources Defense Council talked about the importance of good policy as a driver to move the market and comply with the clean power plan while meeting environmental objectives and lowering customer costs. Specifically, Gupta drew on his experience with the City Energy Project, most recently in Kansas City, MO.
  • Warren Wood with Ameren Missouri described energy efficiency as the lowest cost resource in their portfolio, with every $1 investment generating $3 of benefit. He also discussed the benefits of their current and proposed energy efficiency incentive programs. Check out his presentation.
  • Doug Sitton of Sitton Energy Solutions wrapped up the panel with an overview of how his company & his customers have  benefited from energy efficiency. Not only are most customers typically seeing 25 – 25% energy reductions with 5 year paybacks, but Doug also anticipates that we have just begun to see the benefits of energy efficiency in this region.

Thanks to all who attended!




Check out our 2014 Annual Report!

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We believe that everyone deserves to live, work and learn in a green and healthy building. Our volunteers and staff work to advance the quality of life in our region – educating about green building, advocating for healthier environments, and establishing partnerships to improve our built environment. Every year, we make progress towards the goal of transforming the built environment. And 2014 was no exception. We are excited to share our 2014 Annual Report with you!

Here are a few highlights from last year:

  • 180 volunteers contributed over 3,500 hours to our mission!
  • Wrapped up the inaugural Green Schools Quest. 24 school / mentor teams had nearly 3,000 staff & student participants and reached over 15,000 students, staff and community members! The second round of the Quest (2014-2015) paired 38 schools with 40 mentors.
  • Launched the 25 x 2o Voluntary Energy Benchmarking Campaign in partnership with the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the St. Louis High Performance Building Initiative, and Missouri Interfaith Power & Light.
  • 30 Chapter Volunteers completed our 2nd LEED Community Project, giving over 550 hours to the greening of the Dennis and Judith Jones Visitor & Education Center in Forest Park.
  • Awarded 10 complimentary energy audits for congregations in partnership with Missouri Interfaith Power & Light.

Thanks to our leadership, committees, volunteers, members, sponsors and donors for making 2014 a success!

You can view or download the entire 2014 Annual Report as a PDF or as an online magazine.




10 Congregations selected to receive free energy audits

Missouri Interfaith Power & Light and the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter are partnering to provide free energy audits to 10 congregations within the USGBC-MGC territory. The effort is part of the 25 x 20 Voluntary Energy Benchmarking Campaign, and audits are courtesy of a grant from the national USGBC.

Applications for free audits were due on August 29, 2014. Over 20 congregations applied, and the following 10 were selected to receive a free energy audit:

  • Congregation Shaare Emeth Creve Coeur, MO
  • Grace and Peace Fellowship St. Louis, MO
  • Immacolata Catholic Church Richmond Heights, MO
  • Lafayette Park United Methodist Church St. Louis, MO
  • New Life Community Church East St. Louis, IL
  • New Northside Missionary Baptist Church St. Louis, MO
  • St. John’s Tower Grove St. Louis, MO
  • St. John’s United Church of Christ Chesterfield, MO
  • St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Ferguson, MO
  • University United Methodist Church University City, MO

Energy auditors from Microgrid Energy and Ross and Baruzzini will be conducting the 10 audits over the coming months.

Energy Efficiency Resources for Congregations

There are numerous resources available to congregations interested in tracking and reducing their energy use. We are encouraging all congregations to take advantage of the following:

  • We encourage all congregations to take the 25×20 Pledge to benchmark their energy use! Energy benchmarking is the process of measuring how much energy a building consumes and comparing that to other buildings. As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure!
  • The EPA’s ENERGY STAR for Congregations program is designed specifically for congregations benchmarking their energy use, and has numerous resources available to help congregations benchmark. Their Tip Sheet on No and Low Cost Energy Savings for Congregations is a good place to start, and a full list of resources is available here.
  • Missouri Interfaith Power & Light engages faith communities to be stewards of God’s creation by addressing the environmental and social justice consequences of climate change. They have resources available to congregations interested in reducing their energy consumption.
  • Ameren Missouri offers financial incentives for energy efficiency improvements through their BizSavers program. Congregations can learn more or apply for these incentives on Ameren’s Bizsavers website.
  • Laclede Gas offers rebates for the implementation of natural gas energy efficiency measures, including part or all of the cost of an energy audit that is performed in support of any measure that receives a rebate. Congregations can learn more about these rebates on Laclede Gas’s website.

Questions? Contact the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter at usgbc-mogateway@mobot.org or (314)577-0884.