Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Now Accepting Greenbuild Scholarship Applications!

USGBC-Missouri Gateway believes that everyone should have access to green buildings and green communities as well as green building education. Through our scholarship program, we hope to increase the participation of those interested in serving communities not typically represented in the areas of sustainability

We raised enough money at our annual ECORIDE in October 2013 to provide several scholarships to 2014 Greenbuild in New Orleans, LA October 22 – 24! We are thrilled to offer this opportunity to those living and/or working within our Chapter territory!

Scholarships are available in two tracks:

  • Track 1 – Full Scholarship (1 available)
  • Track 2 – Student or Emerging Professional Scholarship (3 available)

Scholarship applications are due April 15, 2014 – NEW DEADLINE: APRIL 22!

Download the scholarship application:

  • Track 1 – Full Scholarship – PDF or MS Word.
  • Track 2 – Student or Emerging Professional Scholarship – PDF or MS Word.

For more information about our scholarship program and the annual ECORIDE, visit our website here.


USGBC-MO Gateway Seeking Climate Action Intern

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter is currently seeking one full-time intern for fall 2013 to work with one municipality on the Greenhouse Gas Inventory Module of the Regional Environmental Internship Program (REIP) – Climate Action Internship.

This is a paid internship. The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory Module involves conducting a GHG inventory and estimating future GHG emission trends. It is primarily a technical internship. It involves studying energy use in the major sectors of the local government’s operations and the major sectors of the community as a whole. Using this data, the intern is able to construct an estimate of the amount of energy used, its cost, and the amount of GHG emitted. In addition, using estimates of future economic, population, and energy intensity trends, the intern is able to construct an estimate of future energy use, energy costs, and GHG emissions. Interns will work directly with municipalities to develop an inventory.

Intern applications are due electronically on Friday, August 9, 2013. For more information, download the job description or contact Emily Andrews at 314-577-0854.

REIP Climate Action Internship was internship was developed by the FOCUS St. Louis Environmental Sustainability Implementation Committee, which was tasked with implementing the Environmental Sustainability Roadmap: A Toolkit for Local Governments published by Focus St. Louis in 2009. For more information about the Environmental Sustainability Roadmap: A Toolkit for Local Governments, see the full report here.

City of St. Louis Draft Sustainability Plan

The City of St. Louis Sustainability Plan is now available on the City’s website as a Draft For Public Review. The Plan was developed with the help of a team of experienced consultants over an 18-month period that included both public outreach and community engagement activities.

The City’s Sustainability Director, Catherine Werner, is giving several presentations including one at the Sustainable Cities Summit on November 3 at Washington University in St. Louis. There will be a Public Hearing held by the Planning Commission on November 7, 2012, at 1520 Market Street at 5:30 pm. And written comments will be accepted on the City’s Sustainability Plan through November 14

You can find all 260 pages of the Plan – along with the comment form – on the City’s website here.

What are YOU doing for Green Apple Day of Service?

On Sept. 29, 2012, the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council will host the first ever Green Apple Day of Service. For one day, advocates from across the country and around the world will come together in support of healthy, sustainable schools by taking real action in their communities. The following events are already planned for our area.

  • North Side Natives – rain garden work day at Crossroads College Prep
  • Construction Careers Center Day of Service
  • Green Homes & Great Health Festival – volunteer at the Festival, at the USGBC-Missouri Gateway booth or just come out to learn more!

Join one of these events or plan your own at a school that is important to you! Learn more or get involved at

Greening the Heartland Scholarships

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter is excited to be able to grant two full and one partial scholarships to attend the Greening the Heartland Conference, May 16-18, 2012, in Indianapolis, Indiana. USGBC-MG believes that everyone should have access to green buildings and green communities as well as green building education. Through this scholarship, we hope to increase the participation of those interested in serving communities not typically represented in the areas of sustainability. This year, one of USGBC-MG’s targeted efforts is to accelerate the greening of our existing building stock.

Applications are due by 5 pm Central Standard Time on Thursday, March 15. Scholarship recipients will be notified by March 29.

Download the scholarship application here.

Funds for the Greening the Heartland Scholarships were raised at our annual ECORIDE in October 2011 – a fun, family-friendly and recreation bike ride on the Riverfront Trail. Save the date for ECORIDE 2012 – October 20!

St. Louis Greenprint 2012

With the input and participation of over 80 companies and organizations, the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association developed the St. Louis Greenprint 2012 during summer and fall of 2011. Many USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter members were in attendance on December 14 when RCGA released the Greenprint. Chapter members also participated in the development of the Greenprint, which is an action plan for growing the St. Louis regional green economy.

The Greenprint has seven objectives – many of them apply to our vision and mission of transforming the built environment into a healthier, more environmentally friendly and prosperous place to live, work and learn:

  • Develop the region’s Sustainable Technologies Cluster, with emphasis on advanced energy technologies and sustainable building design and materials
  • Increase the depth and breadth of regional companies and institutions adopting sustainable business practices
  • Increase the regional supply and demand for green products and services and increase green exports
  • Spur entrepreneurial growth and innovation in green products and services within the region
  • Streghten the regional workforce for the emerging green economy
  • Restage the regional “green brand”
  • Enhance livability through regional sustainable attributes

Five initiatives have been identified for 2012 in order to move the above objectives forward.

  • Developing the Region’s Sustainable Technologies Cluster
  • Spreading Sustainable Business Practices
  • Accelerating the Market for Green Products and Services
  • Building a Green Innovation Network
  • Establishing a Higher Education Sustainability Collaborative

Each of these initiatives include several action steps. USGBC-Missouri Gateway is excited to partner with RCGA on a High Performance Building Initiative, which is part of Accelerating the Market for Green Products and Services. Previously, we partnered with RCGA on three-part High Performance Building Series in 2009 & 2010 that was very well-received and well-attended by USGBC and RCGA members alike. We look forward to enhancing this partnership in the coming year.

We are especially excited because the High Performance Building Initiative fits perfectly with a key area of our 2012 – 2014 Strategic Plan – focusing on greening our existing building stock. USGBC-Missouri Gateway Executive Director, Emily Andrews (pictured above) addressed those in attendance at the December 14 Greenprint release. She emphasized the important role of green buildings in advancing our region’s green economy. She also pointed out that USGBC recently announced that the square footage of LEED-certified existing buildings has surpassed LEED-certified new construction by 15 million square feet on a cumulative basis. (See press release.) St. Louis does not currently follow this trend and Emily challenged those in attendance and the High Performance Building Initiative to change that!

Look for more programming and educational opportunities this year from the Chapter focusing on greening existing buildings – at our monthly programs, webinars and in-depth sessions and in partnership with other organizations like RCGA. We’re already engaged in a great LEED EB:O+M Community Project Pilot with the Missouri Botanical Garden (thanks to generous support from a Wells Fargo Green Team Grant). Over 30 Chapter members are volunteering their time and expertise to assist with the certification process. The performance period is scheduled to begin on February 1 and we plan to complete all the documentation by the middle of May. We hope this project will create a model for pursuing similar projects with non-profits in the future.

For more information about or to download the St. Louis Greenprint 2012, visit the RCGA website at Or read the December 20 Special Edition of RCGAdvocate about the Greenprint.

– Submitted by Emily Andrews, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Executive Director


Chapter Volunteers Help Out in Joplin, MO

On July 23 – 24, under the solid leadership of Pat Justis, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter members and volunteers headed Joplin, Missouri to assist in general clean-up efforts. Eleven of us arrived at the well organized volunteer center and were quickly put to work clearing debris and organizing clothing.

Chapter Volunteers before work started

The news coverage outside of Joplin has not conveyed the magnitude of the destruction that took place or the ongoing needs of the people of Joplin. Try to imagine neighborhoods about three times the size of Forest Park simply scraped off the ground. For blocks and blocks, nothing remains. Wind speeds exceeded 300 mph – some of the highest winds every recorded. Sewer pipes were lifted out of the soil. A concrete framed seven-story hospital shifted 6” off its vertical, severing every joint and connection in the structure.

Today, debris piles line streets waiting for FEMA-sponsored trucks. The highest pile I saw was over three stories tall; matchstick ruins of people’s homes and businesses. All told, over 8,000 structures were deconstructed in about 12 minutes, 170 people lost their lives, and upwards of 20,000 people were displaced. The need for volunteers will likely go on into next spring.

Our group was surprised the that loss of life was not greater given the scope of destruction. At the 200 unit apartment complex we worked at, every building’s roof and second story was simply pushed off the first and strewn in the adjacent yards. How did only 1 person die out of 200 families in buildings that simply blew apart? Stories of real miracles abounded and I for one have no idea how so many peopled simply walked away from that evening. Our efforts at removing and sorting debris at times seemed futile given the need. We recycled metal and construction debris, much of which was being reused to make small sheds and temporary shelters. Some of us collected personal items- toys, photos, and medical records of past occupants. The Red Cross was leading an effort to connect personal items with their owners, most of whom lost all of their belongings.

Chapter Volunteers after working all weekend –
way to lend a hand!

Larger questions remain. Clean up is far from over. What to do with the remaining land is in limbo. Property values are baseless after so many people have moved away and the City has no idea if it will be solvent in a year for lack of tax revenue. Brand new schools were destroyed. This fall, children will be attending high school in an abandoned big box shell.

All given, it was an eye opening and educational trip. We helped in the clean up effort but much remains to be done. Our neighbors in Joplin will need help for months to come.

– Submitted by Chris Manzo, Manzo Architects and USGBC-MO Gateway Advocacy Committee Member

***** *****

USGBC-MO Gateway will likely organize additional trips to Joplin to assist with clean up. Please contact if you’re interested in being notified about the next trip.

Win Membership Prizes!

This month USGBC-MO Gateway Chapter is holding its March Madness Membership Drive, an event to celebrate our 10th Anniversary.  There are lots of opportunities to win great gifts this month…and each month throughout the entire year! You can join or renew your membership online or at any of our monthly programs and events. Click here to see a calendar of events for March!

Join us in our efforts to transform the built environment and win some of these great prizes in March:

 – NEW MEMBERS – Join in the month of March & you’ll be entered to win free registration to an In-Depth Session ($30-$50 value)

– NATIONAL MEMBER EMPLOYEES – Join or renew & you’ll be entered to win a free Lunch ‘n LEED Webinar Series Pass ($40-$65 value)

– MEMBERS – Refer the most people and win a gift basket of goodies (including a gift certificate to a local restaurant, a chapter water bottle, & a bottle of local wine)

– STUDENTS – Join or renew & you’ll be entered to win a gift certificate to Left Bank Books. Student membership is just $25/year!

If you are a USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Member and received an “I’m Transforming the Built Environment.  Ask me How!” button at the March program, please wear your button each day during the week of March 14 – 18 to help promote Chapter membership as part of our March Madness membership drive campaign.

USGBC Congressional Advocacy Day

On September 29th, USGBC hosted their 3rd annual USGBC Congressional Advocacy Day. 40 advocates representing 26 states met with 100 congressional officials to promote green building legislation under consideration in both the House and Senate. These bills included the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act, the Green Credit Enhancement Program Act, the PACE Assessment Protection Act, and the Federal Building Personnel Training Act.

I represented USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter and met with staffers from the offices of Senator Claire McCaskill, Representative Todd Akin, and Representative Russ Carnahan.

USGBC Congressional Advocacy Day 2010From L-R at USGBC’s 3rd Annual Congressional Advocacy Day: Congressman Russ Carnahan, USGBC CEO and Founder Rick Fedrizzi and Tony Ruebsam, chair of USGBC-Missouri Gateway’s Higher Education subcommittee.

For someone who had never participated in government advocacy, the entire experience was new to me. I have never advocated at any level of government, so there was certainly an intimidation factor going straight to the US Congress. Considering it was also my first time in Washington DC, I also had to adjust to the grandiosity of the Capital. To quote a fellow advocate, ‘I felt like a plebeian walking into Rome.’

Thankfully, the staff at USGBC headquarters did a great job preparing us for the seemingly chaotic nature of day to day activity in DC. They told us what to expect, what not to say, and most importantly to be on time (but not early).

Regardless of all the reassuring things USGBC staff told me the day before, I was still nervous as I walked into my first meeting in the office of Senator McCaskill. As one her staffers greeted us, I heard another on the phone with a constituent: ‘Sir, I understand you disagree with everything the President does, but there is no need to use profanity. If you continue to do so, I will have to end this conversation.’  I immediately relaxed, figuring if they are polite to the guy on the phone, they certainly won’t get upset with anything I have to say.

My meetings all went very well. I was able to speak to my experience as a general contractor and how the highest unemployment rates are within the construction industry. I explained how these pieces of legislation would infuse money into local economies and help this struggling industry recover and put the country on the path to a cleaner energy future.

As I asked the staffers to consider these pieces of legislation, I received requests for similar information: job creation potential, economic benefits, a list of LEED projects, and a list of companies that perform energy audits and efficiency upgrades.  Thankfully, Missouri is full of organizations that have been compiling this information for many years, such as USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter, St. Louis RCGA, Missouri Department of Economic Development and Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

I returned from my trip invigorated about what USGBC and the thousands of volunteers are dedicated to achieving. Seeing the effort and commitment from both sides of the political spectrum gave me the sense not only that our elected officials understand the value of green building technology, but they are going to see it through. The cynic in me might say that is just political posturing, but the pragmatist wonders how they could argue against it.

Submitted by Tony Ruebsam, Chair of the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Higher Education subcommittee of the Advocacy committee and a project manager for S.M. Wilson & Co.

Fear Public Speaking? Join the USGBC-STL Speaker’s Bureau

The fear of public speaking ranks among Americans’ top fears, surpassing fear of illness, fear of flying, fear of terrorism and often the fear of death itself.

Jerry Seinfeld once joked about a survey that found that the fear of public speaking ranks higher in most people’s minds than the fear of death. “In other words,” he deadpanned, “at a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.” Can you relate? I can. Not that I would prefer to be the one in the casket, but I have definitely had my share of anxiety when it comes to public speaking. My profession requires making presentations to various groups. Whether it is to a selection committee to win project or to present information about a project that has been constructed, public speaking can play a major role in the duties of an architect, one that I feared for many years.

So, I decided to volunteer for the USGBC-STL Speakers Bureau and pushed myself to overcome this fear. As I reasoned, I was interested in promoting green building and in volunteering some additional time for the Chapter. As an architect and LEED AP, I have knowledge on the subject, the audiences should be noncontroversial and interested in the topic, and I would probably learn something in the process. Most of all, I thought, I just might overcome one of my biggest fears.

After a few years as a volunteer speaker, all of my initial reasoning has proved to be accurate. I have come to enjoy the presentations and actually find myself looking forward to the next. Even though I misspoke during a recent presentation, saying ‘LEED Green Fellow’ instead of ‘LEED Fellow’ and had a few jokes thrown at me afterward, I survived and even laughed at my own error. So, I may not give a perfect presentation and still experience some anxiety, but the overall experience has been a very positive one.

Therefore, if you are interested in promoting green building but fear public speaking, like the rest of us, there is likely an opportunity for you as part of the USGBC-STL Speaker’s Bureau!

For more information about the USGBC-STL Speakers Bureau, see To volunteer for the Speakers Bureau, contact Chapter staff at

– Submitted by Barbara Anderson, a member of the USGBC-STL Advocacy Committee, a member of the USGBC-STL Speakers Bureau and an an architect at Oates Associates.