Archive for the ‘Building Carbon Footprints’ Category

Take action with the Drawdown EcoChallenge

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

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.




Phil Valko describes “An Architectural Twin Study,” which he co-led, in Archinect

WashingtPhil Valko photo_3on University’s Phil Valko, assistant vice chancellor for sustainability, and Don Koster, senior lecturer in architecture, have led an innovative multi-disciplinary applied research project called the Green Rehab Experiment. The project centered on the renovation and subsequent energy monitoring of two university-owned, 100-year-old apartment buildings. In the article, Valko discusses the goal of charting a path towards net-zero energy performance within market constraints, which meant finding low-cost technologies.

Read the article “An Architectural Twin Study” here, and learn more about Phil in his Chapter Member Profile.

Explore the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter online directory to learn about other Chapter members!

Visit the Green Building Experts page to learn more about members who have been recognized for their green building advocacy, promotion, and expertise.




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.




Local Action: Richmond Heights Partners with Focus

By Jane Allen Jones

For the last five weeks, Teresa Robinson has been hard at work creating the first Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory in RichmondHeights’ history.  She represents a first for Focus St. Louis, too – the first paid intern in the Focus Environmental Internship Program.  The goal of the internship program is to provide resources to local municipalities that have committed to completing a GHG emissions inventory for their community and using that information to draft a plan to reduce those emissions, a Climate Action Plan.

I sat down with intern Teresa, Assistant City Manager Bola Akande and City Public Relations Coordinator Irene Johnson to hear more about the process underway in the city.  Bola stated that sustainability seeds have been germinating in the community for a number of years.  In 2008, the City Council passed an ordinance creating  The Friends of the City of Richmond Heights, a non-profit citizens group committed to promoting sustainable practices and cultural enrichment in the community. With a strong partnership between that group and city leadership, many good things have happened.

The goals of the partnership have been to find ways to improve efficiency of the local government, improve quality of life for citizens and reduce the environmental impact of city operations by implementing sustainable practices.  In Bola’s view, it is all about being good stewards of the city’s tax dollars and resources.  With these goals in mind, Richmond Heights was one of the first communities to introduce single stream recycling (reducing land fill costs), have partnered with five other communities to buy recycled printer paper (saving procurement costs), and have partnered with 14 other communities in a grant-funded project that will allow them to install more energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems (saving operating expenses).

Completion of the GHG inventory will help pinpoint where they have the greatest opportunities to further reduce energy expenses while reducing emissions from the air.  The results of the GHG analysis will then allow them to draft a multi-year plan for attaining those savings.  Bola said that without the Focus Environmental Internship Program, this effort would not have been possible this year. Budgetary and staffing constraints would have prevented it. But with the internship program, Richmond Heights was able to proceed.

Over the next eight weeks, intern Teresa will continue her work with all of the Richmond Heights departments to complete the GHG inventory.  She stated that the process has gone very smoothly so far, thanks to a great communications effort headed by City Manager Amy Hamilton and the city’s public relations coordinator.  The communications support ensured that all department managers understand the importance of the work Teresa is undertaking.  Cooperation has been terrific as a result.  Following the completion of the GHG inventory, their sites are set on developing the Climate Action Plan by year end.  At that point, Richmond Heights will be on their way to continuing their work to be good stewards of the environment and their financial resources by implementing the Climate Action Plan, step by step.

 




New Rooftop Solar Array Demonstrates Ongoing Efforts Toward Sustainability

CEO of Express Scripts, George Paz, recently described the Missouri Botanical Garden as “a world leader in the green movement” and “one of the region’s finest civic institutions.” Quite a title to live up to, wouldn’t you say? Well Express Scripts sure does believes in the Garden, because they have partnered with Missouri Botanical Garden by providing the initial investment for 110 solar panels atop the Commerce Bank Center for Science Education (CBEC). CBEC is the new home of both the Earth Ways Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden and the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter.

Here are the facts on the new solar array:

– Each panel is 40in wide, 65in long, and 40lbs
– In total the array covers an area of 3,000 square-feet
– The array works to convert the sun’s direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (or AC, the type used to power lights, appliances and other electronics) right on the spot
– It will produce an annual 32,000 kilowatt hours of energy (870,000 in its lifetime), amounting to about 5% of the buildings total electrical needs and saving $180,000 in electricity costs over its lifetime
– The cost of the solar panels will be paid back over the next 5 years (leveraging a rebate from Ameren Missouri & federal tax credits)

which means the solar array will…

– Save enough energy to power 4 to 6 homes
– Displace 800 tons of carbon dioxide
– Eliminate 2,500 gallons of gas burned in cars per year
– Preserve 29 acres of hardwood forest

Now doesn’t all that seem worth the initial investment?!

Not only was this new project a great investment, it also serves as an excellent opportunity for education within the community. Deb Frank, Vice President of Sustainability for the Missouri Botanical Garden stated, “We hope that our action will inspire others to seek out ways to increase energy efficiency and utilize solar energy in their own homes and businesses.”

mbgsolarpanelFrom Left: Bill Barbieri, Ameren Missouri, Marc Lopata, Microgrid Energy, Larry Zarin, Express Scripts,
Deborah Frank, MBG, Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson, MBG

 




Clayton Green Power Community Challenge

Leading municipalities across the nation are partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to become a Green Power Community (GPC). Green Power Communities are cities in which the local government, businesses, and residents collectively buy green power in amounts that meet targets set by the EPA.

In April, Clayton’s Board of Alderman committed to pursuing the GPC designation by unanimously passing a resolution to embark on an GPC Challenge via a joint effort of the City of Clayton, AmerenUE Pure Power and Clayton-based, Microgrid Energy.

The Green Power Community Challenge focuses on encouraging local businesses, residents, and non-profit organizations to support new sources of renewable energy and reduce the City of Clayton’s carbon footprint. In addition, Challenge events and activities will include a focused renewable energy education effort for Clayton residents and businesses, and in particular, the students in the Clayton School District.

The City of Clayton officially kicked off the Challenge on June 3rd with a luncheon at the Clayton Fire Station. Mayor Linda Goldstein (see photo below) shared several reasons why Clayton elected to participate in the Challenge, joining leading municipalities around the country in becoming an EPA Green Power Community:

Clayton EPA Green Power Community Challenge Kick-off 024

“In Clayton, we know today that renewable energy is here, in Missouri, and that it is working. We also know that increasing the amount of renewable energy in the Missouri power pool through the purchase of RECs or installation of onsite solar will reduce carbon emissions and promote local economic development.”

There are two ways that Clayton residents and businesses can help the City achieve the Green Power Community Challenge goal of 670 Megawatt Hours per month:

  • Enroll in AmerenUE Pure Power or any other Green-e certified voluntary green power program. Each Renewable Energy Credit represents 1 megawatt hour of renewable electricity generated and delivered to the grid, which means one less megawatt hour of conventional power. Each Renewable Energy Credit also represents the environmental benefit of displacing pollution from traditional energy generation with fossil fuels. And specifically, Pure Power Renewable Energy Credits support Missouri wind farms, which keeps environmental benefits working at home.

OR

  • Install an onsite green power system. GPC Challenge partner Microgrid Energy is a Clayton-based business offering a 10% discount to any Clayton business or resident who installs during the Challenge (before April 22, 2011). Each kilowatt-hour of power generated from a Clayton based solar electric system will count toward the Challenge goal.

The good news is that either option supports more local and renewable energy sources. The even better news is that opting for one or even both will help the City of Clayton achieve its Green Power Community Challenge goal.

To learn more about supporting the Clayton Green Power Community Challenge or to find out how your community can get involved – see the City of Clayton’s press release or Ecology webpage or visit the  EPA’s Green Power Community Challenge website.

– Submitted by Cindy Bambini, an employee of 3Degrees and a USGBC-STL Green Schools Subcommittee member, and Rick Hunter, an employee of Microgrid Energy and a member of the USGBC-STL Advocacy Committee.




More Rigorous than LEED Platinum: the Living Building Challenge

The Living Building Challenge is a big deal. It requires that a building use net-zero energy and net-zero water. The Tyson Research Center, perched at the western edge of St. Louis, could be the first project in the nation to meet this challenge. We’ll know soon.

LBC_logo

Washington University in St. Louis owns the building, which was designed by St. Louis-based Hellmuth+Bicknese Architects.

Shortly after the Tyson Research Center opened in May 2009, Jan Niehaus, chair of the USGBC-STL Marketing Committee, published an article on the Living Building Challenge (LBC) in the Electrical Distributor, a national trade magazine. Click here to read the article, which features Dan Hellmuth, a principal with Hellmuth+Bicknese Architects and a founding USGBC-STL member.

Not to be missed … The Living Building Challenge ROAD SHOW is coming to St. Louis on April 21. This daylong workshop will be held at the Tyson Research Center. Learn more about the workshop here.  Buy your tickets here. USGBC-STL members receive a discount on the workshop fee, but act quickly because late registration begins April 14, 7 PM CST.

Tour the building … You’ll have another chance to explore the Tyson Research Center and learn about the Living Building Challenge in September, when the Chapter leads a public tour of the project. When the program date is set, you’ll find it on our Event Calendar.

Submitted by Jan Niehaus, Chair of the USGBC-STL Marketing Committee and president of Communication by Design. To get involved with the Marketing Committee, please e-mail Jan




Impressions from Copenhagen

Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope and and Frank Lorberbaum at Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change

Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope and and Frank Lorberbaum at Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change

I am back home a week now and still trying to understand what happened. I am used to attending conferences like the American Institute of Architects or US Green Building Council that are educational and entertainment opportunities. The Conference on Climate Change was an educational opportunity but the similarity stops there. This was a working conference attended by people from all over the globe that I believe care. They care first about their own countries future and I believe they all care about the future of our planet, some more passionately than others. They work all hours of the day and night. They are bright caring respectful people of all ages. Two thousand concerned youth attended the conference as observers.

Official decisions at the conference are made by consensus. The intent is for representatives of nations from all over the globe, all climates and all stages of development and wealth to sit down and reach agreements by consensus. These agreements are to be for the betterment of the planet regardless of their own personal interests. Can you imagine what would happen if decisions by our senate were made by consensus, every single one of our senators must agree before a bill is to be passed? I can’t even make an intelligible response to that question. The process is seriously flawed and must and will be reviewed prior to the next conference in Mexico City in December 2010.

There are six official United Nations  meetings going on often simultaneously during the two weeks, many into the wee hours of the night and they are:

  • COP 15 – the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP), signatories to the UN
    Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Treaty (192 countries)
  • CMP 5 – the 5th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the
    Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (189 countries)
  • Two Ad Hoc groups that have been assigned tasks by the Cop or CMP
  • Two technical groups that have been assigned tasks by the COP or CMP

In addition there are 135 side events (presentations by various businesses, groups or governments) and 200 exhibits. There are 5000 media representatives documenting everything that moves or might move. A daily program is handed out as you enter the center. It is daily because it changes daily. Monitors are placed throughout the center that show scrolling updates on additions and changes to the schedule that was updated and printed early that morning. There are also people outside picketing and kids running around the conference center dressed up in Polar bear outfits singing clever songs to Christmas carol tunes. At 6:00 pm daily an attractive young Asian woman named Hilge dressed like a mermaid allegedly emerges from the depths of the ocean to award the Fossil of the Day Award to a chorus of boos from onlookers called NGO’s. Naturally, Arnold Schwarzenegger walks by. Mandela is in another room chatting with Hillary. Get the picture? Total Chaos.

There were ambitious expectations for this conference. It was hoped that developed and developing nations would establish future emission goals that would slow down and then stop global warming soon. It was hoped that mechanisms for sharing wealth and technology with the developing and least developed countries would be established. It was hoped that the countries most ravaged by climate change gain assistance for adaptation. It was hoped that a legally binding agreement be forged. Bold actions from ALL parties to satisfy these hopes were not realized.

I do think there were some positive outcomes from the conference:

  • All parties acknowledged that climate change is real and we need to act
  • Honest open discussions between parties took place
  • Some developing countries established emission goals
  • China agreed to some form of inspection/verification, exact form yet to be determined
  • $30 billion was pledged over the next three years to assist the poorest
    countries needing assistance for adaptation due to climate change

The Copenhagen Accord (CA) was only “noted” by the conference. The CA has been agreed to by countries that are responsible for over 50% of worldwide CO2 emissions. The CA may develop into a meaningful agreement, and then it may not. In its absence the conference would have ended in total failure. Don’t forget that the Kyoto Protocol was presented in 1997 and did not take effect until 2005. It is still the only legally binding agreement by the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change.

The US agreed to the Kyoto Protocol at the conference, only to have the US congress retract the offer. Only 39 of the 189 countries under the Kyoto Protocol have any tangible responsibilities under the protocol, many of which are not living up to their commitments. There are no consequences for not living up to their commitment. The developing nations not only create the most green house gases (GHG) annually but are predicted to have the greatest annual growth in GHG emissions as well. They have no responsibilities under the Kyoto Protocol.

I think progress has been made at Copenhagen in 2009, but not as much as we had hoped. I think our planet is eager for a major country to step up and take the leadership role in the battle against climate change. I believe the present administration in Washington is ready and able to accept that role if it has the support of our legislature and our people. With strong support maybe the US can provide that leadership role at COP !6 in Mexico City in 2010.

– Submitted by Frank Lorberbaum. Frank is a long time member of USGBC-STL, former board member and former Green Homes Subcommittee Chair. He served as the Sierra Club delegate to the Copenhagen Conference.