Archive for April, 2021

Sustainable is Attainable

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U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter is pleased to introduce a new pilot program to our St. Louis region: Green & Efficient Buildings Are Better for St. Louis Neighborhoods! We have partnered with New Missionary Baptist Church, Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU), and St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO) to help make this program successful.

The program is made possible with funding, in part, by the Gateway Regional Environment Fund (GREF). This fund is managed by the St. Louis Community Foundation and seeks to fund projects in the St. Louis metro area that have an end goal of making the region more environmentally sustainable.  

With our specialty at USGBC-MGC being buildings, we proposed a program to focus on making building energy efficiency updates more equitable and accessible for congregations, non-profits, and small businesses. These building types are often overlooked for programs and funding that help increase the energy efficiency of the buildings they operate. We want to support these entities in leading the fight against energy waste, air pollution, and climate change. Additionally, we would like to help these organizations and businesses save money on energy bills. 

According to the City of St. Louis 2018 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report, building energy use is responsible for 65% of the greenhouse gas emissions produced in the St. Louis region. The other major GHG contributors follow far behind, with transportation at 17% and industry at 15%. This energy percentage is higher than the overall average building energy use in the U.S., which is 40%. By reducing building energy use, we can drastically reduce emissions in our region.

Our goal for this pilot program is to assist congregations, non-profits, and small businesses in becoming heroes in the fight against climate change. We also want to secure savings on utility bills, so those savings can be allocated elsewhere to better support the mission, vision, and communities each organization serves. The program is slated to roll-out over the 2021 calendar year in three phases. 

Phase I: Current Phase

We are researching what has worked best for programs like this in other cities. This will be an ongoing effort. We are also holding information sessions and recruiting participants for the program. By the end of this phase, we hope to have roughly ten dedicated participants, each with a point person we can be in continual contact with for this program. 

Phase II: Mid-to-late Summer – Fall 2021

This phase begins in June or July, after we have confirmed the participating organizations. We will have a volunteer or intern working with each organization to gather historical utility information and begin the process of benchmarking. Benchmarking is essential in being able to track and assess energy usage. This will allow us to determine the most effective energy efficiency measures to focus on improving.  

Phase III: Fall 2021 – December 2021

The final phase of this pilot program will take place in the fall when we will focus on implementing energy efficiency measures that benchmarking has identified as the most effective. This will depend on the particular building. We will start with no and low-cost opportunities to save energy. And we will also research funding for larger-scale energy efficiency upgrades together, with the organizations’ point person and the volunteer or intern they were paired with in phase II.

If you are part of a congregation, non-profit, or small business in the St. Louis area, please fill out this interest form and we will be in contact with you. For more information, be sure to take a look at our info session slides: here

As our friends at MCU say, “sustainable is attainable.” We hope you’ll join us. 

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