U.S. Green Building Council - Missouri Gateway Chapter Blog
Welcome to the USGBC-MO Gateway Blog, a place for the Chapter to share information on green building, LEED, sustainability and other "elements of green" in and around the St. Louis area.

Benchmarking & Energy Efficiency Case Studies

Posted: August 3rd, 2020
We’re collecting benchmarking and energy efficiency case studies to showcase how our Existing Buildings can be Climate Heroes. Got a good energy efficiency success story to share? Contact us at usgbc-mogateway@mobot.org.

Bauer Equity Partners is located an eighth of a mile from the I-70 and West Florissant Avenue interchange in the City of St. Louis. Previously a dairy bottling plant, the building has undergone numerous renovations in order to reduce energy consumption, improve access and reduce stormwater runoff. Since the solar panel and white roof installation, the building has realized a 66% reduction of electric consumption.
Read the full case study.

City of Clayton – Bonhomme and Brentwood Parking Garages have both undergone major renovations to reduce overall energy consumption. From lighting improvements to solar panels, these two buildings are seeing significant savings. The Bonhomme Garage saves $3,000 per month and the Brentwood Garage saves $22,000 a year. Read the full case study.

Parkway Schools’ portfolio consists of more than 34 buildings and 3.3 million square feet. In 2017, Parkway School District improved energy performance by 11% from a 2015 baseline, making progress towards a goal of 20% by 2025. Energy savings were achieved by implementing outdoor LED lighting retrofits and dimming controls across all properties. Learn more about their progress to date, implemented projects and more on the Better Buildings Challenge website.

600 Washington

600 Washington, is a 25-story office building. Formerly known as One City Center, it is a 375,000 square foot office building with a variety of tenants, including several large legal and accounting firms. Read the full case study

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. Read the full case study

Unigroup

UniGroup is a $1.7 billion transportation and relocation services company with headquarters in suburban St. Louis. UniGroup has embraced sustainability as a smart way to achieve cost savings. The company’s Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability led the charge to monitor energy usage, enabling the company to identify issues and resolve them quickly. As a result, they achieved the coveted ENERGY STAR certification. The company took full advantage of utility rebate programs to maximize the return on investments in energy-related projects. Read the full case study.




Kickoff the Virtual St. Louis Earth Day Festival THIS SUNDAY, April 19th with the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

Posted: April 16th, 2020

Kickoff the Virtual St. Louis Earth Day Festival THIS SUNDAY, April 19th with the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

We, the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter would like you, your family, your co-workers, neighbors, distant friends, and anyone you can forward this link to, to JOIN US in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day Worldwide! We will be hosting TWO virtual events this Sunday, April 19th, 2020. Come visit our “booth” at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival and learn about the Earth Day Ecochallenge or take a virtual green building tour.

Will You Join Us for a Brown Bag Lunch with our St. Louis Goes Green! Ecochallenge Team?

We are kicking off our renowned St. Louis Earth Day Festival, virtually, this Sunday, April 19th @ 12pm via earthday-365.org/coming-soon/

Join us for an Earth Day Ecochallenge – BROWN BAG LUNCH- with the St. Louis Goes Green! Team

WHEN: this Sunday, April 19th @ 12 pm CST 


WHERE: Online! Via Zoom
Register in advance for this meeting:
https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJModOuspjMsG93ZgjaLhoLs7l0fI_LlMiyz
Meeting ID: 975-3248-8619
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Or simply visit earthday-365.org/coming-soon/ @ 11:40 AM and get access to our virtual Earth Day Ecochallenge – BROWN BAG LUNCH – with the St. Louis Goes Green! Team


WHAT: This Brown Bag Lunch is for anyone interested in learning more about the Earth Day Ecochallenge! We are inviting team members of the St. Louis Goes Green! team to join and continue to share challenges and successes with the Actions and Challenges they’ve committed to this April and how they’ve made progress in creating a better shared future. Let’s get together for lunch, meet one another, enjoy an eco-conversation, and encourage others to learn more and join our Ecochallenge team! We couldn’t be ranked 12th worldwide if it wasn’t for individuals like YOU interested and making a positive impact every day. Think we could be #1 by April 30th, 2020?? Let’s find out together. #stlouisgoesgreen

Join our St. Louis Goes Green! Ecochallenge Team TODAY!

Looking for Something More LEED Specific and Related to Your Green Building Industry?

Join us, virtually, as we kickoff the St. Louis Earth Day Festival this Sunday, April 19th @ 1:30 pm via earthday-365.org/coming-soon/

Join us for a Virtual Green Building Tour of Alberici Headquarters in St. Louis

WHEN: this Sunday, April 19th @ 12 pm CST 


WHERE: Online! Via Zoom
Join Zoom Meeting by clicking on the link below
https://zoom.us/j/93996903123?pwd=bnliVVJwMUQwNFh3bm9HaGlLWmxZdz09
Meeting ID: 939 9690 3123
Password: 202050


WHAT: Has the wind turbine and prairie landscape surrounding the Alberici building near I-170 and Page caught your eye? Take a virtual tour – through the building and through time – exploring the transformation of a structure that previously served as a manufacturing plant into an environmentally responsible, healthy and beautiful office building certified by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2005 as the highest rated LEED Platinum building in the world. Presented by: John C. Guenther, FAIA, LEED AP, Architect. John C. Guenther, FAIA, LEED AP, was a design principal and partner with Mackey Mitchell Architects when he designed the Alberici Corporate Headquarters. Since 2009 he has practiced independently as John C. Guenther Architect LLC. #greenbuildingsarebetter

Become a member of our U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter TODAY!

WILL YOU JOIN US? Tune in THIS Sunday, April 19th at 12 PM or 1:30 PM to help us kickoff the 2020 Virtual St. Louis Earth Day Festival. Go where the WiFi takes you and join us in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day Worldwide! Whether you get inspired to plant a tree on April 22, 2020 like the Nixon’s did in honor of the first Earth Day in 1970, or learn different solutions to reducing waste or more ways to get outside, or even that building the world’s highest rated LEED Platinum green building is possible, we appreciate you taking the time to celebrate Earth Day with us and contributing to the promotion of environmentally responsible, prosperous and healthy places to live, work, and learn. Thank you and happy Earth Day!




Check out our 2019 Annual Report!

Posted: September 22nd, 2020

We are on a mission . . .

for better, greener buildings that will tackle the challenge of climate change, while creating better places for living, working, and learning. From existing buildings to new construction, we know that buildings play a crucial role in meeting the urgent challenge of climate change.

Annual Report Cover

Download a PDF of our 2019 Annual Report to learn more!

We are so proud of our accomplishments towards a greener future for our community, which is generously supported by our sponsors, leaders (board of directors committees), members, volunteers, and donors. Thank you to all who made 2019 a success.




USGBC-MGC Seeks Nominations for 2021 Board of Directors

Posted: August 10th, 2020

Be a part of the green building movement & help us make every building a green building!

USGBC-Missouri Gateway is currently seeking nominations for At-Large board directors. All terms begin in 2021. Nominations are due by 5 pm Central Time on Friday, September 5, 2020.

Self nominations are accepted and encouraged. Nominees must be a member in good standing with USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter and must currently serve or have previously served on a Chapter committee or as a Chapter volunteer. The online nomination form, can be found here.

For more information, please see: 

In 2015, USGBC-Missouri Gateway shifted our board nomination and election process, and no longer hold general elections. Nominations are still accepted from the membership. The Governance Committee collects nominations and ensures eligibility of nominees. The committee then consults a matrix of leadership needs to determine a slate to present to the board for approval. The committee expects to present a slate to the board for discussion at the October 2020 board meeting.




Call for Proposals: 2021 Educational Programs

Posted: July 22nd, 2020

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter is accepting proposals for 2021 educational programs.

While proposals on all topics related to green building and sustainable communities will be considered, preference will be given to those that address one or more of the following:

  • Climate Solutions: Action Beyond Commitments
  • Health & Wellbeing
  • Equity & Inclusion

Engaging, interactive approaches to enhance learning are desired.

Timeline

  • Call for Proposals Issued July 22, 2020.
  • Proposals due by Monday, September 14, 2020 at 11:59 PM CST.
  • Selected Speakers notified by December 4, 2020.


CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL TO USGBC-MGC!




Missouri Green Schools is hiring support VISTAs!

Posted: June 22nd, 2020

Missouri Green Schools (MGS) is a program to help schools improve health, reduce environmental impact, and develop a culture of sustainability. Managed by the Missouri Environmental Education Association and the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter, MGS creates a pathway for state and national recognition and provides a variety of one-on-one services to support under-resourced schools in achieving “green” goals and earning recognition.

Four AmeriCorp VISTAs are currently sought to help develop and launch the MGS program during the upcoming school year.

VISTAs will work in St. Louis but have the opportunity to interact with schools throughout the state. VISTA members’ service will revolve around:

  • providing one-on-one support for under-resourced schools to achieve green goals and
  • conducting outreach to schools and partners.

VISTAs will receive training to guide schools in using a systems approach to become a green school–a school that brings an environmental and equity lens to decision-making.

For more information, please contact Lesli Moylan at moylan@meea.org or visit the job posting on the My AmeriCorps website.




RFQ for Energy Resource Hub Business Plan

Posted: June 12th, 2020

USGBC-MGC seeks qualifications for a Regional Energy Resource Hub business plan.

For the past several years, we have been working closely with the City of St. Louis to advance policies that help the City meet its climate goals, focusing on policies that drive energy efficiency in our largest buildings. In 2017, the City passed a Building Energy Awareness policy requiring buildings that are 50,000 square feet and greater to report their energy and water use to the City annually. More recently, the City passed a Building Energy Performance Standard, which requires large buildings to make improvements to meet an energy performance target by 2025. The City’s work has been a catalyst for greater energy efficiency in the built environment for the City and the entire region.

As building owners begin working to comply with the City’s proposed performance standard, we anticipate they will need support. To assist building owners comply with the City’s Building Energy Performance Policy and to assist other buildings throughout our region make energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in their buildings, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter would like to launch a Regional Energy Resource Hub.

Qualifications are due July 17 at 5 pm.

Read the full RFQ here.

FAQs as of July 1, 2020




Winners of the 2019-20 Green Schools Quest

Posted: May 15th, 2020

The Green Schools Quest is an annual project-based challenge to PreK-12 schools to implement creative, effective and low-cost sustainable practices at their schools with the help of a Green Mentor.

68 school and mentor teams participated during the 2019-20 school year, and 44 of these schools submitted materials detailing their work to be reviewed by a panel of impartial judges utilizing this scoring rubric.

While we were not able to join together for our annual culminating event, we’re excited to celebrate participants and projects virtually! New highlights and insights are being posted each day during the week of May 18.

Announcing the 2020-21 Focus of the Year: Health & Wellness

The actions of individuals, organizations, and communities affect not only the planet, but also human health. Green Schools can be powerful promoters of health and well-being. Improving health and wellness addresses physical, emotional, and social issues students and their communities may be facing.

In this video, we’ll introduce you to the 2020-21 focus of Health & Wellness along with project ideas and resources.

Hear from School Leads on Why They Engage

Each school is required to have one adult leader from within their school to sponsor their team – this could be a teacher, administrator, or parent.

School Leads facilitate student engagement, collaborate with the mentor and determine how to best plug him/her into the project, integrate the project into school curriculum and culture, and lead the behind the scenes coordination that supports the project’s success.

In this video, a handful of School Leads share why they feel participating in the Green Schools Quest is valuable for their schools and students . . .

Mentors Share Their Experience

Mentors play an important role in the Green Schools Quest, each contributing guidance and resources that address the unique needs of their school team and project.

In this video, you’ll hear directly from mentors on how they plugged into their schools’ projects and why they feel the mentorship role is such an important piece of the Green Schools Quest.

Student Interviews

In this video, students reflect upon their experience engaging in a Green Schools Quest project this year.

– What did you learn?
– What did you enjoy about your project?
– Who helped you?
– What are you going to do now?

Project Focus & Collective Impact

This video highlights the diverse range of projects that took place and their collective impact. Included are clips from digital presentations the school / mentor teams prepared. 

2019-20 Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019-20 Green Schools Quest! View this video to learn more about each of their projects.

Elementary School Category

1st Place:
A Green Wave of Change,
Crestwood Elementary (Lindbergh)

2nd Place:
Transportation Pollution Solution,
St. Margaret of Scotland

3rd Place:
Brown School Waste Warriors,
Brown Elementary (Hazelwood)

Middle School Category

1st Place:
RMS Earthletes Make Long-Lasting Change,
Rogers Middle School (Affton)

2nd Place:
Making a Difference in Our School,
The St. Michael School of Clayton

3rd Place:
Cafeteria Waste Reduction,
Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School

High School Category

1st Place:
Impact Challenge,
Principia Upper School

2nd Place:
‘Not I, but We’ Environmental Justice,
St. Joseph’s Academy

3rd Place:
Reintroducing Recycling: Students Reduce Cafeteria Waste,
Ladue Horton Watkins High School

Spotlight Awards

Rookie of the Year:
KIPP Victory Garden,
KIPP Victory Academy

Sustainability Champion:

Bye, Bye Bags,
W.W. Keysor Elementary (Kirkwood)

Focus of the Year – Environmental Justice:

SLPS Can’t Afford Styrofoam Anymore,
Bryan Hill Elementary & Columbia Elementary (St. Louis Public School District)

Judges’ Choice:

Green Team,
Truman Elementary (Meramec Valley R-III)

Innovation:

Going Beyond,
Sunrise R-IX Elementary

2019-20 Participants & Projects

Kudos to all of the participating schools and mentors. Each and every one has taken significant action towards creating greener, healthier learning environments and positively impacted their communities!

Help us celebrate the accomplishments of participants the week of May 18. Stay tuned for more information and insight to be release each day,  including a summary document highlighting all submissions received and digital messages that will be shared at 10am daily:

  • Project Focuses & Collective Impact – May 18
  • Student Interviews About Their Work – May 19
  • Mentors Share Their GSQ Experiences – May 20
  • Hear from School Leads on Why They Engage – May 21
  • Announcing the 2020-21 Focus of the Year – May 22




City of St. Louis Passes Building Performance Standard

Posted: April 24th, 2020

Earlier this week, the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen unanimously passed a Building Energy Performance Standard. USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter couldn’t be more proud of our City and the work of our staff and members in developing the policy, engaging stakeholders in the process, and getting this groundbreaking policy across the finish line on the very last day of the Board of Alderman’s 2019-2020 session at their first virtual meeting! This is a real accomplishment all around. St. Louis just the fourth jurisdiction – and the first in the Midwest – to pass such a policy. More importantly this policy means better, greener buildings; improved public health; increased environmental protection and climate change mitigation; and savings on energy bills for building owners and occupants.

In light of the current public health crisis, it is more important than ever to address air pollution and climate change – which are very closely connected. Most of the activities causing air pollution also contribute to climate change – like emissions from vehicles and power plants. Energy used in buildings is typically created through the combustion of fossil fuels at power plants and in buildings. In the United States, commercial and residential buildings are responsible for nearly 40% of greenhouse gas emissions. In the City of St. Louis, the percentage is even higher at 80% (residential, commercial and industrial).

Even though addressing climate change and air pollution may seem like insurmountable problems, we know that green and energy efficient buildings are a SOLUTION. Energy efficiency is a win-win solution because it reduces harmful pollution and saves money at the same time. It also creates job opportunities related to energy efficiency improvements. Policies like the City’s benchmarking requirements and now a Building Energy Performance Standard make St. Louis’ existing buildings heroes in the fight against air pollution and climate change.

But now you’re probably wondering – what exactly is a building performance standard and what does it mean for St. Louis? Plus, what buildings will have to comply? And what will they have to do to comply? I’m going to address a few of these questions along with others that have come across my virtual desk.

What Buildings Have to Comply? All commercial, institutional, multi-family and municipal buildings that are 50,000 square feet and above must comply. These are the same buildings that have to comply with the City’s benchmarking requirements under the Building Energy Awareness Ordinance.

What is an energy performance standard?  A building energy performance standard creates a legal requirement for building owners to ensure their buildings meet a minimum level of performance (the standard). The City’s standard will be reviewed and updated every four years to consistently drive improvements in the building stock.

What IS the standard? The standard isn’t actually set yet. Over the next year, the City will work with stakholders to set standards for the different building types based on benchmarking data. The performance metric will be site Energy Use Intensity (EUI) and the standard will be set no lower than the 65th percentile of site EUI for similar buildings in St. Louis. The standards will be set by May 4, 2021.

By when will buildings have to meet the standard? Most buildings will have four years to meet the standard (May 4, 2025). Qualified affordable housing buildings and houses of worship will have six years to meet the standard (May 4, 2027).

How will this be measured and tracked? Building owners will use the free, online ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool to document compliance with the BEPS as part of the existing annual benchmarking reporting process. Data verification will be required when compliance is due.

How will buildings comply? To put it simply, buildings will comply by meeting the target set for their building type. Many buildings may already be meeting the target or close to meeting it. They may just need to implement a few operational changes or updates. Other buildings may be a little further from the target and will need to upgrade heating and cooling systems or improve the building envelope. Every building will meet the standard in a different way.

What kind of specific improvements will a building have to make to comply? As mentioned above, every building will meet the standard differently – depending on the building type, the baseline performance of the building, and what kind of improvements have already been made. Some buildings will make simple operational changes, others will need to invest more on building updates to comply.

What if a building can’t meet the standard? In addition to creating a building energy performance standard, the recently passed legislation also calls for the creation of a Building Energy Improvement Board to oversee the implementation of the standard. One of the Board’s role will be to administer a process for buildings unable to meet the standard so that building owners can propose an alternative compliance method for board approval.

How can a building owner get help? If a building owner is interested in making improvements, the City has collected resources here. Ameren Missouri and Spire Energy offer incentives / rebates for energy efficiency improvements. And Set the PACE St. Louis offers Property Assessed Clean Energy financing for energy efficiency improvements. USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter continues to offer assistance with benchmarking and also connects building owners with energy solutions through this Energy Efficiency Checklist, GPRO Operations & Maintenance training and other educational programming. USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter, the City of St. Louis and other partners are currently working to create an Energy Resource Hub that can assist building owners in their efforts.

How can I be considered for the Building Energy Improvement Board? The legislation calls for the creation of a nine-person Building Energy Improvement Board with representation from the building industry, utilities, and building owners. The City will be soliciting nominations or you can submit your nomination here.

There’s still a lot of work to do in implementing this new policy, but we are excited about moving forward. I expect there will also be many more questions as well, so stay tuned for a more formal FAQ.

There are many people to thank for this green building win – including our partners in the City’s Building Division and Sustainability Office, the board bill sponsor Alderwoman Heather Navarro, national partners through the American Cities Climate Challenge (Bloomberg Philanthropies, Natural Resources Defense Council, Institute for Market Transformation, and the Energy Foundation), and the many stakeholders who participated in the process. The list is long, but you can check out a list of Building Energy Performance Standards Supporters here.

And be sure to read other articles about the City’s new standard from Alderwoman Heather Navarro, IMT, and NRDC.




Online Learning Opportunities

Posted: March 30th, 2020

With in person events postponed, we thought we’d compile some of the many online and virtual learning opportunities. Stay engaged and maintain your professional credential while practicing social distancing!

Check out this Google Doc for more details.

Know of opportunities that aren’t listed in the Google Doc? Email us at usgbc-mogateway@mobot.org with your suggestion.




Stay Safe & Engaged

Posted: March 23rd, 2020

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Activity Updates

National Updates

Connect Remotely, Support Locally

Public health is important. Your health is important for better buildings, and better buildings equal better lives. Our vision is that buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation. Help us make that happen by staying safe during this rapidly changing environment with the worldwide response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The most important thing you can do for the economy and the health and safety of our community is to slow the spread of the virus.

Grab-and-Go Food Sites

slps.org/meals Students 18 and younger must be present for grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meals 8am-12pm in the Gym at 33 select city schools.

Operation Food Search

St. Louis Area Foodbank 

Good Life Growing
2720 N. 14th St. 63106 10am-7pm

STL Take It Home

Just because you can’t grab a meal inside your favorite local restaurant right now, doesn’t mean you can’t support local businesses in other ways. Purchase gift cards, make a donation, purchase merchandise, tip generously and visit Curbside STL for information on restaurants providing pickup, curbside and delivery services.

However you choose to support the local food and drink scene, you’re not just helping small business owners you’re also helping their employees, food suppliers, and the St. Louis economy at large. The service industry is highly affected by this change in environment, give them confidence and support local.

Support local farmers, buy fresh veggies, and stay healthy!

Shop @localharveststl @stlcitygreens @macslocaleats and Old North Provisions. Visit @tgfarmersmarket‘s website to sign-up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program) food box starting Tuesday, March 24th or Fair Shares CCSA. Pick-up fresh produce from @legacycirclefarms online farmer’s market. Check out eatherestl.com for delivery of locally-grown food and @knownandgrownstl to see what other farmers offer online ordering and where to get local, Known & Grown farmers’ products during the pandemic.

Support local businesses and stay in the know, join #314together ‘s Facebook group and be part of the conversation using #314together. A local business yourself? Stay informed with business updates: stlregionalchamber.com/covid-19. Learn about the emergency legislation passed to assist businesses.

Connect with Green Building and the Community

If you have pictures you would like to share on how you’re keeping green, building green, or going green this pandemic please send your photo(s) and a sentence describing your experience to fbrandt@mobot.org or join the conversation with #greenbuildingsarebetter. Follow us online @usgbcmogateway. Instagram. Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Email.

We thank you for the work you do to contribute to safer and healthier conditions for everyone, everywhere. Thank you.

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