Greater St. Louis needed a voice for green building. A voice for change. To transform its landscapes, interiors, new and historic buildings into more enduring, respectful, sustainable spaces and public places. With the national U.S. Green Building Council established during the 1990s, several local organizations expressed interest in a metro-wide green building initiative. In just a matter of months, the St. Louis Regional Chapter took shape as the one of the first six USGBC chapters in the nation.
First Steps to Chapterhood
It was January 2001: the first organizing meeting for the soon-to-be USGBC-STL, initiated by John Hoag of Hoag Associates, was held at the Missouri-DNR (MO-DNR). There had been several efforts to create a regional green building coalition over the years, but they never stuck. This time, the stars aligned – and over the next six months, with support from the AIA-St. Louis Committee on the Environment (COTE), the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) and representatives from local companies and government agencies, the team moved quickly to pursue chapter status within the U.S. Green Building Council. Funding from MO-DNR supported Deb Chollet Frank, with MBG’s EarthWays Center, to serve as chapter coordinator. By December 2001, the Chapter was a legal corporation holding its first Board member elections in January 2002. The rest, as they say, is history.
A few highlights of the chapter’s early days:
- The St. Louis Regional Chapter’s Inaugural program, held at the Missouri Botanical Garden, featured Bob Berkebile of BNIM, who gave an overview of green building principles to an audience of nearly 100 professionals
- LEED for New Construction training offered to a sell-out classroom
- St. Louis Regional Green Building Council granted provisional chapter status by USGBC at its annual conference in Scottsdale, AZ
- USGBC-STL and ASHRAE team together to promote a webinar about ASHRAE 90.1 held at University of Missouri-St. Louis
- St. Louis Regional Green Building Council incorporated within the State of Missouri
- Chapter structure established to include Communications, Membership, Outreach, Finance, and Program committees
- Election of chapter officers, including Dan Hellmuth (Hellmuth3) as Chair, John Hoag (Hoag Associates-Architecture & Planning) as Vice Chair, and Suzanne Johnson (Parsons-Brinkerhoff) as Vice Chair
- First local LEED Intermediate Training sponsored by the chapter
Thanks to the vision and hard work of Chapter founders and leaders, the organization flourished. With monthly programming engaging members and the community, regular LEED workshops, and subcommittees of the Advocacy Committee working with a variety of audiences, the Chapter has grown to over 600 individual members. The continued support and hard work of members and Chapter leaders over the years has brought us many honors and recognition as well as new initiatives.
In July 2010, the Chapter entered into a new phase by merging with the USGBC-Missouri Heartland Chapter to become the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter. The merged Chapter territory covers the St. Louis metropolitan area, Southern Illinois (which has always been a part of the St. Louis Regional Chapter territory), eastern Missouri and southwestern Missouri. Cities in the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter territory include Springfield (MO), Carbondale, Columbia (MO), Rolla and Jefferson City. With the merger of the two Chapters also came the formation of the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Ozarks Branch, serving the Springfield (MO) metropolitan area and the 417 area code.