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.

K-12 School Registration Open for the 2021-22 Green Schools Quest and Missouri Green Schools

Posted: July 26th, 2021

Registration is now open for K-12 schools to participate in the 2021-22 Green Schools Quest and Missouri Green Schools

Green Schools Quest

The Green Schools Quest is an annual project-based challenge to schools to implement student-driven, no/low-cost sustainability projects with the help of a Green Mentor who assists with project ideas, implementation, and resources. In 2021-22, two program tracks are offered for schools to choose from: engage in one comprehensive six-month-long sustainability project, or participate in themed, monthly sustainability challenges October through March. In both tracks, teams document their work and submit their outcomes for a chance to win. Registration deadline is Sept 15 for Schools and Aug 31 for Mentors. Learn more at www.GreenSchoolsQuest.org

Missouri Green Schools

Missouri Green Schools is a new statewide recognition program which supports schools in taking a systems-based approach to improve student health, reduce environmental impact, and develop a culture of sustainability. It creates a pathway for state and national recognition, including serving as the conduit for the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools award, and provides a variety of one-on-one services to support under-resourced schools in achieving “green” goals and earning recognition. Learn more at www.MissouriGreenSchools.org

Learn More at Sept 8th Virtual Event

Join the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter and the Missouri Environmental Education Association virtually on September 8, from 4:30-5:30 pm to learn more about both programs and how they can be leveraged together for greater impact. Whether your school is just getting started, already a green champion, or especially if you feel your school has been counted out – these programs are tailored to support your school in achieving green goals. 

Support Participating Schools

Community members interested in supporting schools participating in these programs may do so by serving as a Green Schools Quest Mentor or a Missouri Green Schools AmeriCorp VISTA! Click here to learn more about both opportunities as well as an Info Session for prospective GSQ Mentors on Aug 26th!

Help a Local School Go Green: Two Opportunities to Make a Difference This Year

Posted: July 21st, 2021

U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter (USGBC-MGC) and Missouri Environmental Education Association (MEEA) are looking for passionate individuals to help schools improve their students’ health, reduce their environmental impact, and develop a culture of sustainability.

Make a difference in your community this school year by serving as a Green Schools Quest Mentor or a Missouri Green Schools AmeriCorp VISTA


  • The Program: The U.S Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter’s Green Schools Quest is an annual project-based challenge to K-12 schools to implement student-driven, no/low-cost sustainability projects with the help of a Green Mentor. Students document and share their impact, and awards are presented at elementary, middle, and high school levels. The challenge is open to all schools within the USGBC-MGC service area (majority of Missouri – excluding Kansas City area – as well as southern Illinois) and participating schools represent the wide range of geographic, economic, and racial diversity that is found within communities throughout this area.
  • Mentor Role: Green Mentors are community volunteers who assist schools with project ideas, implementation, and resources. Additionally, they serve as role models and community connectors who expand students’ awareness of the wide variety of careers that relate to sustainability.
  • Time Commitment: Roughly 4-6 hours per month between October 2021 and March 2022, plus a 2 hour training in September 2021. 
  • Support Provided: Mentors receive an orientation introducing them to the program and resources which include project idea lists, community resources, checklists and tips to guide them, and more. Mentors may reach out to the GSQ program manager at any time with questions and for support.
  • Learn More: Visit www.GreenSchoolsQuest.org. Prospective mentors are invited to attend a Mentor Info Session on August 26, from 12 – 1 pm via Zoom. All are welcome! 
  • Deadline: Mentor registration is due August 31. 


  • The Program: Missouri Green Schools is a new statewide recognition program which supports schools in taking a systems-based approach to improve student health, reduce environmental impact, and develop a culture of sustainability. It 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. The program is co-managed by the Missouri Environmental Education Association (MEEA) and the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter (USGBC-MGC). 
  • AmeriCorps VISTA Role: VISTAs support low-income schools’ participation in Missouri Green Schools, ultimately helping students and communities to break free from the cycle of poverty. Five openings in the following positions are available:
    • Support VISTA – focus on providing one-on-one support to assist with action planning and progress tracking as well as outreach to expand program reach
    • Partner Network Coordinator VISTA – manage the development of a statewide network of organizations that desire to help schools lower their environmental impact, improve health, and shift to a culture of sustainability
    • Marketing and Communications VISTA – focus on raising awareness, participation and support of MGS throughout the state, and will develop skills in website and social media management
  • Time Commitment: Start October 25, 2021 for a one year term and work 30 hours per week, primarily remotely. VISTAs may also attend school or pursue outside employment during their term if desired.
  • Support Provided: Each VISTA receives a living allowance of $13,399, and will be provided with a laptop during the program service period. All MGS VISTAs will receive training in what it means to be a green school, a school that brings an environmental and equity lens to decision-making, as well as ongoing professional development and networking opportunities.
  • Learn More: Click on the position titles above to learn more about each. Contact Lesli Moylan at moylan@meea.org with any questions.
  • Deadline: Positions are open through September 2021, or until filled.

Seeking Nominations for 2022 Board Members!

Posted: July 16th, 2021

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 2022. Nominations are due by 5 pm Central Time on Monday, August 30, 2021.

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 2021 board meeting.

July Member Spotlight – Lisa J. Reed

Posted: July 14th, 2021

July Member Spotlight

“Isn’t picking a favorite LEED project like picking a favorite child?”

Lisa J. Reed, PE, IALD, MIES, LEED BD+C, Founding Principal of Envision Lighting Design, LLC
USGBC-MGC Member since 2013
Active member of the Membership & Marketing Committee

Sustainability passion: My sustainability passion – same as my “everything” passion – is lighting! I look at everything through a lighting lens. Light creates clarity. It elevates the way we experience space. It gives life. Light also plays a significant role in sustainability, whether we conserve energy by using only the light that we need (don’t overlight spaces) or by being intentional about where we put light (eliminate light pollution) or by using lighting controls to only use light when we need it (turn ‘em off!) Additionally, I’m interested in equity and lighting equity issues. If it has anything to do with light, then it’s my passion!

Most meaningful experience with USGBC: Tough question – there have been many. This is an organization filled with sincere people who truly care about our planet and the people who inhabit it. Nearly every encounter with this organization, its members, leaders, and staff has been meaningful. One highlight has been participating in the Green Shadow Mentor program. I also want to mention the Membership and Marketing Committee. By volunteering on this committee, I have been able to get to know a small group of fantastic people.

What will most impact the future of green building: Communication. If we can rethink how we talk about green building and communicate the importance of it in an inclusive, non-partisan, apolitical way to get everyone rowing in the same direction, that will be pivotal. When people come together, we are unstoppable. As the mother of two young adults, I see the priorities of the next generation and I do have hope that the future is in good hands.

Favorite LEED Project: Isn’t picking a favorite LEED project like picking a favorite child? I don’t think I can do that! That said, the 4220 Duncan building in the Cortex District was special because that was the first time I was able to achieve the Light Pollution Reduction Credit, and the Envision Lighting Design team, alongside HOK and the HOK Lighting Group, worked really hard on the lighting selections, placements, and calculations to get it. Now we attempt and achieve Light Pollution Reduction regularly.

Favorite place in the St. Louis region: Have you seen The Awakening II near Chesterfield Central Park? This giant man (a 70’ aluminum sculpture) appears to be partially underground as he emerges from a long slumber. This has become my favorite outdoor meeting spot. The giant is whimsical and a little terrifying, and along with the Central Park Trail, it is a nice little nature/art combo that’s worth a visit. Tell the giant hello for me when you go. Better yet, let me know you’re going, and I’ll meet you there!

We’re Hiring – Building Energy Exchange St. Louis Director!

Posted: July 7th, 2021

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter seeks qualifications for an individual to serve as the Director of the Building Energy Exchange-St. Louis. The Director will lead the design, development and operation of the Building Energy Exchange – St. Louis (BEEx-STL, formerly referred to as the St. Louis Regional Energy Hub) in order to build a transformational entity to accelerate innovation, create jobs, strengthen the economy and lead an equitable transition to a clean energy future. The Director will work in partnership with the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter’s Executive Director, its board, the BEEx-STL advisory board, the City of St. Louis, partners, and the local building community to identify and overcome barriers that are holding back high performing buildings in the St. Louis region.

To apply, please submit your qualifications, including resume, cover letter and 2 references as a single, electronic PDF to Emily Andrews at emily.andrews@mobot.org by midnight on July 30, 2021.

View the full job description here.

View the Executive Summary of the BEEx-STL business plan here.

Support for BEEx-STL is generously provided by founding sponsors: Ameren Missouri, Washington University in St. Louis, the Leon Lowenstein Foundation and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and technical advisors: Institute for Market Transformation and Building Energy Exchange (New York).

Missouri Green Schools AmeriCorps VISTA positions now open for 2021-2022!

Posted: June 14th, 2021

Missouri Green Schools is a statewide recognition program which focuses on supporting schools in taking a systems-based approach to identify and advance practices throughout their campuses, educational programming, and school culture that reduce environmental impact, improve health and wellness, and provide place-based education.

Additional support is provided for schools that have 60% or more of their students qualifying for free or reduced-priced lunch, including one-on-one support to set goals and track progress and small grant opportunities. Key to providing this support, are AmeriCorp VISTA members!

As we look ahead to the 2021-2022 school year, Missouri Green Schools is hiring AmeriCorps VISTAs to serve in each of the following roles – click on each link to learn more and apply!

Positions are open through Aug 1 or until filled. VISTAs begin August 30th for a one-year term. VISTAs work 30 hours per week and may attend school or pursue outside employment during their term if desired.

Missouri Green Schools is a joint program of the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter and the Missouri Environmental Education Association. Learn more about the Missouri Green Schools program at www.MissouriGreenSchools.org


Sustainable is Attainable

Posted: April 5th, 2021


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. 


Apply for Living Future 21 Conference Scholarships from USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

Posted: February 10th, 2021

Invest in Your Professional Development – Apply for a LF21 Scholarship

Learn new technical information and practical solutions while building relationships with other people and organizations in the green building and sustainability industry when you attend the Living Future 2021 Inclusion + Unity Conference April 20 – 23, 2021 online everywhere.

**Multiple scholarships are available!

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter believes everyone should have access to green buildings and green communities as well as green building education! Those eligible to apply for this scholarship include:

  • Individuals of diverse backgrounds and/or in under-represented socio-economic groups. 
  • Organizations or individuals that serve under-represented socio-economic groups and/or diverse communities. 
  • Emerging Professionals with an interest in the sustainability of our region. For the purpose of this scholarship, we will consider Emerging Professionals to be recent graduates or current students. 

Scholarship applications are due Monday, March 15, 2021 by 11:59 pm. A USGBC-MGC membership is not required.

**Multiple scholarships are available!

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) has been at the forefront of attracting leading thinkers in sustainability, regenerative design, and the built environment hailing from industries ranging from architecture and manufacturing to government and nonprofits. Come together with the shared pursuit of a socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative Living Future, and apply for a Living Future 21 Scholarship today!

The Living Future 2021 Conference, hosted online by ILFI, April 20-23, 2021 provides you the opportunity to choose from over 40 sessions (with the ability to watch all recorded content), including case studies, tours, and networking meetups. View the current schedule here.


View the April 7-8, 2021 EcoCareers Conference, Green Shadow Scholarship Opportunity>

A Unique Pandemic Opportunity – Taking our GREEN SHADOWS to the 2021 EcoCareers Conference

Posted: February 10th, 2021

Attend the NWF’s EcoCareers Conference as a USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter GREEN SHADOW!

The National Wildlife Federation’s ECOLEADERS Community is hosting an EcoCareers Conference preparing students and emerging professionals for wildlife and sustainability careers by providing information on the latest trends from analysts and employers, clarifying career enhancing credentials and academic offerings, and formulating a better understanding of the competencies employers seek in the green sector.

“Really great insight about the soft skills and was inspirational as someone who is currently struggling to find an entry into the sustainability job field.”

Students, faculty, and staff from high schools, colleges and universities and emerging professionals are invited to sign-up for our Green Shadow program and we will fully fund your attendance to the EcoCareers Conference, April 7 – 8, 2021 11:00 – 5:00 pm each day.

2021 Green Shadow applications to attend the April EcoCareers Conference are due Friday, April 2, 2021 by 11:59 pm.

**Know someone who would benefit from this EcoCareers Conference? Encourage them to sign-up for the Green Shadow program to receive FREE attendance! Share this link, bit.ly/greenshadowecocareer

View the April 20-23, 2021 Living Future 21 Conference Scholarship Opportunities>

Brickline Greenway – Connecting People, Places, and Equitable Opportunities in St. Louis

Posted: February 10th, 2021

A Green Buildings Are Better @usgbcmogateway
Coffee Break with Great Rivers Greenway

The Coffee Break Friday, February 5, 2021 featured Mark Vogl, Project Manager at Great Rivers Greenway District. Leading our Green Buildings Are Better community in discussion, Mark Vogl spoke on the development and projects of the Brickline Greenway. Formerly known as the Chouteau Greenway, Brickline will connect Forest Park to the Gateway Arch and provide connections to Fairground Park and Tower Grove Park, running between Boyle Avenue and Sarah Avenue within the City of St. Louis.

View the LIVE recording here!