Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Get on our 2023 Education Calendar!

Call for Proposals 2023 – Buildings As Climate Solutions

Call for Proposals 2023: Are you a change maker in your industry? An advocate for climate protection, racial equity, and community? “SHOW ME” your Green Building SOLUTIONS. We can build our way out of climate change disasters. Review our Call for Proposals and get on our 2023 Education Calendar!

Your local U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter is now accepting 2023 PROGRAM PROPOSALS presenting immediate solutions to our communities’ immediate problems. Having the latest green building education is an ongoing feature of Missouri Gateway events. Are you taking actions beyond commitments? Then, you are ready to SUBMIT HERE to get on our 2023 CALENDAR BY: Monday, October 3, 2022 @ 5:00 pm CT. Together, we can transform our built environment.

Engaging, interactive approaches to enhance learning are desired!

Call for Proposals 2023. Circle logo with white background and light green, teal, and dark green colors reading, "Green Buildings Are Better" with a skyline of a windmill, three buildings, and school of same colors as graphic icons. Arched at top of circle inside reads, "I am a Green Building Professional."

Do you know a project or professional that is addressing immediate solutions to our communities’ immediate problems? Share this SUBMISSION APPLICATION by using the URL, https://bit.ly/ShowMeYourSolutions

In order for us to maximize collaboration with green building professionals and communities, and ensure our exchange of information benefits from the diversity, talent and expertise of our Missouri Gateway region*, preference will be given to educational content of a 200 – 300 level addressing:

1.) What needs to change with the way we build today? (Or don’t build?)

2.) Specific examples of Climate Adaptation & Resiliency

3.) Connecting Green Building and Environmental Sustainability Governance (ESG)

4.) Adaptive Reuse of our Buildings and Built Environment

5.) Shifting from Energy Efficiency to Carbon Reduction

6.) The national focus on Infrastructure – How do Buildings fit in?

The climate crisis is now, and resiliency in our built environment cannot be true without equity in our built environment. The “pandemic, high heat, flash floods, and electrical outages taught us that we need each other. We have solutions, we need public will; and public policy,” says USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter committee member Susan Armstrong MS, PE. Our Green Buildings Are Better community is asking, do you have the engineering and architectural solutions? Then,

“SHOW ME” your Green Building SOLUTIONS. 

*USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter territory covers the St. Louis metropolitan area, Southern Illinois, mid-Missouri and southwestern Missouri. Cities within Missouri Gateway’s territory also include Columbia (MO) and Springfield (MO).




Energy Efficiency & the Split Incentive Problem

Energy Efficiency & the Split Incentive Problem: Reframing Investment in Energy Efficiency for Building Owners and Tenants

YouTube thumbnail image of cover for event recording. Photo of brick houses in background with text on top in white with blue background reading, "Tuesday July 12, 2022 Solving the Split-Incentive Problem - Reframing Investment in Energy Efficiency for Building Owners & Tenants. Presented in partnership with Building Energy Exchange St. Louis and U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter. Register for monthly evening programs: usgbc-mogateway.org/calendar. Right side with Missouri Gateway Chapter logo at top and BE-Ex STL logo on bottom right and salmon colored background with navy text reading, "@usgbcmogateway SPEAKER - Aaron Michels, Director of Operations, Energy Resources Group, Inc. PANELISTS - Kevin Bryant, Executive Founder, Developer & President, Kingsway Development. Jon Nichols, Director of Sustainability, Antheus Capital & Mac Development. Tristan Walker, Principal, Heritage Properties St. Louis."
LIVE recording, July 12, 2022 – Solving The Split Incentive Problem presentation and panelist discussion.

On the evening of July 12th, 2022, U.S. Green Building Council—Missouri Gateway Chapter hosted our monthly educational program with Building Energy Exchange St. Louis, a project of Missouri Gateway Chapter, at Rockwell Beer Company. Fueled by delicious appetizers and an open bar, the 53 attendees of the event listened to speaker Aaron Michels, Director of Operations at Energy Resources Group, Inc., discuss energy efficiency and energy inefficiency. Michels’ presentation first defined for us what the split incentive problem is, before going into consequences, case studies, and potential remedies of the issue. As defined by Michels,  

the split incentive problem is when landlords lack the appropriate incentives to implement energy efficiency measures, not only costing their tenants money, but also negatively impacting the environment by releasing more pollutants than necessary.  

Michels also highlighted how low-income tenants face energy poverty or a higher energy burden, meaning they allocate significantly more of their household income to energy expenditures than other renters. Since tenants have little power in the rental arrangement, this is a difficult situation to absolve. 

Photograph of audience in beer brewing event space. Attendees, sitting at high top tables, foreground, and in chairs with presenter and presentation screen in distance.
July 12, 2022 evening educational program attendees at Rockwell Beer Company while Aaron Michels presents, “Solving The Split Incentive Problem – Reframing Investment in Energy Efficiency for Building Owners & Tenants.”

However, Michels did provide some ideas for eliminating the issue. First, he proposed a need for increased awareness, education, and outreach among owners, tenants, and the brokerage community about the value of green leases. A green lease, in simple terms, is   

a rental agreement whereby a tenant shares the cost burden of sustainability initiatives with the building owner1.

These initiatives include expenses such as water and energy conservation, waste reduction, and recycling. Initially these investments will likely infer a cost on the parties, but will ultimately lead to savings down the line, as energy bills can be greatly decreased. 

Another remedy could be energy efficiency mortgages (PACE financing)—externally funded loans attached to the property. A benefit of this action is that capital improvements can be done at one time but paid off in installments. A third solution is on-bill financing, where capital improvements are tied directly to utility company payments and for large residential; increased incentives to counter the split incentive. On a more macro level, green building codes can be stricter, which has the potential to benefit all new housing developments, including buildings for low-income tenants. An additional policy response that has the potential to be effective is a weatherization assistance program, engaging tenants to help improve their leased space.

Photograph of 3 panelists and 1 presenter sitting at a table, inside a beer brewing event space, while attendees, 4 people pictures crowd the table for conversation. Five, large silver beer cellar tanks in background.
Speaker far right in blue, Aaron Michels and panelists from right to left; Tristan Walker, Jon Nichols, and Kevin Bryant with program attendees after Q&A at Rockwell Beer Co.

After we had a clear and comprehensive perspective on the split incentive problem, members had the opportunity to ask questions to a series of panelists who are experts in their field. The panelists included: 

  • Kevin Bryant, Executive Founder, Developer & President of Kingsway Development 
  • Jon Nichols, Director of Sustainability at Antheus Capital & Mac Development  
  • Tristan Walker, Principal of Heritage Properties St. Louis 

There were multitudes of questions ranging from “how can landlords/management companies be incentivized to improve energy efficiency” to “what can individuals do if they have a short-term lease, but still want to improve energy efficiency.”  

It was clear from the diversity and number of questions that the audience was engaged and excited to learn about the tangible changes that can be made to improve our energy footprint. I believe it is fair to say that every attendee left the program with new ideas and hope for a more equitable and environmental future. If you were not able to attend this event and would like to see what you missed, view the July 12, 2022 program recording, Solving the Split Incentive Problem – Reframing Investment in Energy Efficiency for Building Owners & Tenants.

YouTube thumbnail image of cover for event recording. Photo of rooftop solar panels with St. Louis Arch in background with text on top in navy blue with orange-yellow background reading, "Tuesday July 12, 2022 Building Energy Performance Standards - Info Session. Presented in partnership with Building Energy Exchange St. Louis and U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter. Register for monthly evening programs: usgbc-mogateway.org/calendar. Right side with Missouri Gateway Chapter logo at top and BE-Ex STL logo on bottom right and salmon colored background with navy text reading, "@usgbcmogateway SPEAKER - James Kelly, Civil servant for the City of St. Louis, Office of Building Operations. Cara Spencer, (previous) Building Energy Exchange St. Louis (BE-Ex STL) Director, Alderperson, City of St. Louis."
LIVE recording, July 12, 2022 – Building Energy Performance Standards Info Session & Building Energy Exchange St. Louis presentation.

Sources: 

Bird, S., & Hernández, D. (2012, September 1). Policy options for the split incentive: Increasing energy efficiency for low-income renters. Energy policy. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4819331/  

Building Energy Performance Standards Info Session – Building Energy Exchange St. Louis, City STL. YouTube. (2022, July 23). Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://youtu.be/2i8cK095ZL8  

YouTube. (n.d.). Usgbcmogateway YouTube. YouTube. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMyElVIJligezzBnnIOsORw 

A reflection post of the July evening educational program, “Solving The Split Incentive Problem – Reframing Investment in Energy Efficiency for Building Owners & Tenants” with resource links and live event recordings; written by Avery McCammon, Washington University in St. Louis undergrad student, summer 2022.




USGBC Product Solutions Showcase

Join USGBC for a three-day dynamic and interactive event to learn about sustainable products that reduce carbon emissions, energy, water and waste consumption while also enhancing health, resiliency and circularity AND improve LEED performance and process. Win – Win – Win!
Plus earn continuing education credit!

Learn more or register!

Flyer promoting 2022 USGBC Prodcut Solutions Showcase. Rectangle with U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) logo top left and illustration of woman on laptop sitting down with illustrated product icons floating. Title reads, "2022 Community Education Series - Product Solutions Showcase"

WHEN:
July 26 – 28, 2022
12:00 pm – 2:30 pm CT each day

WHERE: Online!

COST:
If you are a current USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter member, you can attend for FREE. E-mail emily.andrews@mobot.org for the promo code to attend for free. Not a Missouri Gateway Member? JOIN OR RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP NOW!

  • USGBC Community Members – FREE
  • Student / Emerging Professional – $5.00
  • Non Member – $10.00

TOPICS:

  • Tuesday, July 26 – Energy & Carbon
  • Wednesday, July 27 – Waste & Circularity
  • Thursday, July 28 – Water & Health




Nominations Open for 2023 Board Members!

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 seats on our Board of Directors. All terms begin in 2023. Nominations are due by 5 pm Central Time on Monday, August 8, 2022.

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 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 September 2022 board meeting.




Building Energy Exchange STL – Hiring it’s next Director!

We are hiring!! We are searching for our next Building Energy Exchange STL Director!

View Job Description or Apply!

Logo. Building Energy Exchange St. Louis with salmon and grey colored block text and 'BE-Ex' letters for logo.

The Building Energy Exchange St. Louis (BE-Ex STL) is a project of USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter. BE-Ex STL (pronounced ‘B’ ‘X’ STL) aims to advance building energy performance by mobilizing the professional expertise, funding, and technical resources our local real estate industry needs to address affordability, improve the health and comfort of residents, and position St. Louis as a resilient and carbon neutral region. Now that this new local energy hub supporting high performing buildings is up and running, we are seeking an ambitious and passionate candidate to accelerate the growth and success of Building Energy Exchange STL. 

This is a full time position with a full benefits package – APPLY NOW!

Thank you to Cara Spencer, the inaugural BE-Ex STL director, for setting us up for success. She has recently resigned and we have named Jessica Deem, NCARB / LEED AP BD+C as interim director as of June 27, 2022.




Winners of the 2021-22 Green Schools Quest

We applaud each school/mentor team that participated in the 2021-22 Green Schools Quest and worked hard over the past six months to plan and implement a sustainability project at your school!

31 schools and 28 mentors participated (see who!) and, according to the numbers in their final reports, 1,788 students and 118 faculty and staff were directly involved, and an additional 10,672 students, staff, and community members were impacted through the projects this year! Additionally, our Connect on the Quest included a total of 143 participants: 85 Speaker Series attendees & 58 YouTube Channel views.

Learn more about all of the 2021-22 GSQ participants’ projects by watching the 2021-22 GSQ Project Showcase & Winners video!

This year, we are honoring 3 elementary, 2 middle, and 1 high school projects as division winners. Each will receive a trophy and $300 prize. Additionally, five Spotlight Awards are presented across the age divisions. Spotlight Awardees receive $100 each. Congratulations to our winners!

Elementary Division Winners

Bryan Hill & Columbia Elementary Schools for Surviving, Not Thriving: A Quest for Justice – The pandemic exposed the health and wealth inequities many students are living with. Bryan Hill & Columbia focused on the immediate needs of their students, improvements to support health and wellbeing of their communities such as repairing and repainting walls to cover lead paint and re-vamping their outdoor learning spaces, as well as the need for systems-level sustainability solutions.

Carman Trails Elementary School for Reducing Landfill Waste – Two 3rd grade students wanted to reduce waste sent to the landfill, so they created a video and games to teach how to correctly sort waste. They measured the results and saw a substantial reduction.

Sunrise R-9 School for OINK! – Sunrise’s new “Feed The Pigs” program takes waste diversion to a whole new level! Food waste from lunch is collected in the “Feed The Pigs” bin, then hauled to a local farm and fed to pigs. Students named three of the pigs and watched them grow over the year. These pigs were then auctioned off to school families for their consumption. The program emphasizes multiple sustainability principles and has reduced lunch waste by nearly 31%.

Middle School Division Winners

Brittany Woods Middle School for U City Schools Pollinator Squad! – The Brittany Woods Pollinator Protection Squad knows humans need to value and protect pollinators. Through problem-based learning, students identified one of their first steps needed to be removing the stigma associated with stinging insects. Squad members educated fellow middle schoolers and PK-1 students on the benefits of pollinators using an old van they rehabbed called the Pollinator 3000 as a backdrop to build their Squad’s visibility.

Nipher Middle School for A Year of Growth: Sustainability in Homeroom – Nipher students set out to improve existing outdoor spaces that are part of their sustainability initiatives. Four Homeroom classes collaborated to raise funds and implement their plans, improving areas with chickens, vegetable gardens, native plants, and beehives.

High School Division Winner

Ladue Horton Watkins High School for Student Action for a Greener Earth – Ladue’s existing environmental club focused on long-term sustainability, devoting significant energy towards underclassman recruitment in addition to larger projects which included looking at the school building itself to find ways to reduce energy, stream cleanups, and honeysuckle hacks.

Spotlight Award Winners

Rookie of the Year:
St. Paul’s Lutheran ECC for Caterpillars Compost! – Pre-K students researched, raised money and bought a compost tumbler, then designed compost buckets for other classrooms. Students retrieved the buckets and composted the material inside. They also started a worm bin.

Judges’ Choice:
Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School for Tikkun Olem: Repairing the Space
– Students worked to revitalize a garden, centering Tikkun Olem, or healing the world. Garlic and rye are being grown now, and students of all ages are now using the garden and other outdoor spaces year round.

Innovation:
Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School for MRH Pollinator Problem (and Solutions)
– Using data they collected, MRH students identified the decline in native pollinators as a problem and set out to make habitat improvements on their campus. They created several products from beeswax to raise money for the improvements. They also developed a series of lessons for elementary school classes and performed pollinator raps in the STEAMaster rap battle.

Sustainability Champion:
Sunrise R-9 School for OINK!
– Sunrise’s new “Feed The Pigs” program takes waste diversion to a whole new level! Food waste from lunch is collected in the “Feed The Pigs” bin, then hauled to a local farm and fed to pigs. Students named three of the pigs and watched them grow over the year. These pigs were then auctioned off to school families for their consumption. The program emphasizes multiple sustainability principles and has reduced lunch waste by nearly 31%.

Focus of the Year: Health & Wellness:
Bryan Hill & Columbia Elementary Schools for Surviving, Not Thriving: A Quest for Justice
– The pandemic exposed the health and wealth inequities many students are living with. Bryan Hill & Columbia focused on the immediate needs of their students, improvements to support health and wellbeing of their communities such as repairing and repainting walls to cover lead paint and re-vamping their outdoor learning spaces, as well as the need for systems-level sustainability solutions.

Winners’ Submission Materials

Each school submitted a digital presentation and written report detailing their projects. You can access each winner’s full final submission material here.

Some schools posted their digital presentations on YouTube. We’ve created a playlist with these videos, which you can access here.

Event Recording: 15th Annual Green Schools Event

Students from Carman Trails Elementary, Brittany Woods Middle, and Ladue Horton Watkins High School shared about their GSQ project experience during our 15th Annual Green Schools Event. If you missed the event – or would like to watch it again – you can access a recording here.

Thank you GSQ Green Mentors!

Our volunteer Green Mentors play a huge role in this program – supporting schools in a variety of ways, from helping with project ideas, providing technical expertise, connecting schools with community resources, or simply lending an ear and helping with timeline reminders. Thank you to all of our Green Mentors for their service!

Interested in participating next year?

We hope so! Registration is now open for both schools and mentors for the 2022-23 school year. Mentor registration is open through August 31 and School registration is open though September 15. Visit www.GreenSchoolsQuest.org for more details on the program and to register!




June Member Spotlight – Shane Healey

June Member Spotlight – Shane Healey

“We teamed up with the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter to provide a pro bono energy audit for the Grace + Peace Fellowship congregation.”

Shane Healey, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, Associate Architect, Lawrence Group
USGBC-MGC Member since 2015

Sustainability passion: My interest for Sustainability began during a sustainable design undergrad course at SIU Carbondale in 2009. I really enjoy being able to help connect a building to the surrounding community, as well as connecting the building to the surrounding landscape and environment. Since becoming a LEED AP, I have worked on a LEED Gold, Silver, and Certified, as well as a half dozen pseudo-LEED certified Projects for the military.

Most meaningful experience with USGBC: In 2014 I was an Architectural Designer at Ross & Baruzzini. We teamed up with the USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter to provide a pro bono energy audit for the Grace + Peace Fellowship congregation. The Ross & Baruzzini Committee assembled a multi-discipline team of volunteers to survey the mechanical and electrical systems, survey the building envelope, and completed a thermal imaging survey.

What will most impact the future of green building: I believe moving toward Net Zero buildings will have the greatest impact on the future of green building. The use of on-site renewable energy is possible with the many renewable energy technologies available today. However, the amount of technologies needed for Net-Zero are expensive, especially for existing buildings that require retrofitting. Our final report described the inefficiencies, how they could be corrected, and the associated costs.

Favorite LEED Project: My favorite LEED project would have to be the S.T.A.R Building located at John Burroughs School. I worked very closely with Todd Bunden on this LEED 2009 Gold Certified building. The building houses science labs, rooftop greenhouse, a library, research rooms, engineering labs, and a 3d printing area. The S.T.A.R Building was intended to fit contextually within the campus. The new building frames the central quad and minimally impacts the surrounding campus landscape.

Favorite place in the St. Louis region: My favorite place to be in the St. Louis area has to be Ballpark Village and Busch Stadium. Like so many people in this area, I have infinite memories from meeting Jason Isringhausen and Tony Twist, attending opening day, seeing the Clydesdales, spending time with family and friends, attending concerts, and the Winter Classic. Let’s just say I will be attending multiple Cardinal games in 2021.




Member Spotlight of the Year – Brandon Verhoff

2021 Member Spotlight of the Year
– Brandon Verhoff

“As education plays a crucial role in the adoption of sustainable development in society, we must ensure the next generation is sustainability literate.”

Brandon Verhoff standing with painted flower mural, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter 2021 Member Spotlight of the Year

Brandon Verhoff, PH.D., Manager, Budgets & Reporting, Caleres Inc.
USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Member since 2015
Chair, Education Committee

Sustainability passion:

Sustainability Literacy: To ensure future generations are armed with the right information to make the best possible decisions in their future professions, we must educate our society on sound environmental, social, and financial reasoning. As education plays a crucial role in the adoption of sustainable development in society, we must ensure the next generation is sustainability literate. This passion for sustainability literacy was at the core of my dissertation when completing my Ph.D.

Most meaningful experience with USGBC:

Being the Chair of the Education Committee, I’ve been able to meet wonderful experts in their fields, learn from their expertise, and keep up with the latest trends. The reason I joined the USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter was to network and provide my expertise to our community. I’ve gained much more by participating with amazing members of our Chapter. I believe the Missouri Gateway Chapter is a beacon of sustainability success in St. Louis and I’m proud to be involved with the success it has created.

What will most impact the future of green building:

Wellness will be a main driver for future building projects. With the on-going pandemic, companies will focus more on how to improve the mind and body when designing spaces. Providing a space that caters to wellness will give building owners a competitive advantage in the marketplace. We’ve already started to see big campaigns from celebrities focused on the WELL building standard, but we can expect more attention on combining energy efficiency with creating a more welcoming, safe, and just space for its occupants.

Favorite LEED Project:

Edward A. Doisy Research Center at Saint Louis University. This project is close to my heart because of my involvement as the past Director of Sustainability & Benchmarking for the University. It was the University’s first endeavor into LEED and is an anchor of research in the St. Louis region. We learned a lot through the certification process and how to improve other construction projects on campus.

Favorite place in the St. Louis region:

My favorite place in St. Louis is the Missouri Botanical Garden. I love plants, so I visit the garden regularly to see the changing seasons, flowers, festivals, and events; like the Best of Missouri Market, Japanese Festival or Garden Glow. It’s a wonderful place in the City that is transformative, all while still being located in the heart of St. Louis. I instantly feel relaxed and at home while visiting.




October Member Spotlight – Cara Spencer

October Member Spotlight – Cara Spencer

Help us welcome Cara Spencer to the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter! Cara is Director of the new Building Energy Exchange STL (BE-Ex STL) which will expand existing local resources for energy efficiency and building performance resources and services; a force multiplier for climate action and local economic development.

“Financing and Affordable housing. Giving property owners access to the capital they need to improve efficiency is key to making retrofit projects happen.”

Cara Spencer on a Missouri river, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter October 2021 Member Spotlight

Cara Spencer, Director, Building Energy Exchange STL & Alderman, City of Saint Louis
USGBC-MGC Member since 2021

Sustainability passion: I love growing my own food. Right now our figs are producing nicely and we eat them right off the bush. Nothing beats home grown tomatoes and basil in the summer and I’m a year round micro-green enthusiast.

Most meaningful built environment experience: I’d have to say the O’Fallon Commerce Bank. Its just a regular, everyday bank building but its the first LEED certified banking facility in MO. What’s most meaningful about it is just its everyday-ness. That a bank made the community conscious decision to lead with LEED certification is incredibly inspiring.

What will most impact the future of green building: Financing and Affordable housing. Giving property owners access to the capital they need to improve efficiency is key to making retrofit projects happen. This is especially important in the affordable housing space where energy savings are not experienced by the property owners but by tenants for whom energy savings greatly impacts quality of life.

Favorite Sustainability Project: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. People often (erroneously) confuse sustainability with boring. But the Crystal Bridges building is absolutely stunning and architect Moshe Sadie’s attention to detail is impeccable. It incorporates so much of its natural environment in its construction materials and in its landscape design. Walking through it, the visitor gets the sense of being in and outside all at once – a truly magical experience.

Favorite place in the St. Louis region: The arch. It just never gets old. I am there most mornings on a run or bike ride and I never tire of seeing it. The museum renovation is phenomenal and I love the native plantings on the north side, the trails throughout and the energy pulsing through the many daily visitors.


Cara Spencer is a native St. Louisan who studied math at Truman State University. She loves hiking, cycling and as of late – paddle boarding on MO rivers. She has a 10 year old son who loves drawing and Legos. Together they love eating breakfast outside and bike commuting most days to school and work. Cara is looking forward to helping reduce our community’s carbon footprint. Being a resource to our developer community in achieving energy efficiency goals and helping make St. Louis a climate ready city with a global sustainable reputation that can attract new residents and new employers.




September Member Spotlight – Julie Villa

September Member Spotlight – Julie Villa

“I believe local cities and municipalities requiring improvements to the existing building stock will serve as a major push to reduce overall energy consumption and make our neighborhoods healthier places.”

Julie Villa LEED AP BD+C, NCARB, Associate Architect, Ittner Architects
USGBC-MGC Member since 2014
Chair of the Higher Education & Emerging Professionals Committee

Sustainability passion: Green school design: as an educational planner and architect, I have the opportunity to create healthy and inspiring environments designed to be tools to teach sustainability to our next generation of learners. From early childhood through adults, green schools can be a hands-on method of incorporating important sustainability principles into the curriculum, in addition to being great spaces to learn.

Most meaningful experience with USGBC: As the chair of the Higher Education and Emerging Professionals committee, I’ve helped organize a lot of great events and volunteer opportunities, but my favorite are our recurring Community Garden Workdays at Fresh Starts Community Garden in the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood. This month’s volunteer day will be our fourth workday there, and it will be great to see what’s growing in the beds we prepped in the spring. It’s always rewarding to get my hands dirty!

What will most impact the future of green building: I believe local cities and municipalities requiring improvements to the existing building stock will serve as a major push to reduce overall energy consumption and make our neighborhoods healthier places. It’s now easier than ever to design a new energy efficient building, but unless we make improvements to our existing buildings to make every building a green building, we won’t be able to make real strides. I’m so proud of our Chapter’s work in getting the City’s BEPS ordinance passed!

Favorite LEED Project: I helped design the tenant finish for 700 Market, the historic mid-century Philip Johnson building, now Spire’s headquarters, which was certified LEED Gold. It was my first ID+C project, and I found it very rewarding to revitalize a long-vacant building into a modern collaborative workspace, keeping a major employer in the urban core instead of building new office space outside of the city center.

As far as other LEED projects that I admire, the East End transformation of Washington University’s campus is a truly innovative re-envisioning of that iconic end of campus. As a graduate, I’m proud to say it exceeds every expectation I had for the transformation, and I expect it to set new standards for future campus improvements.

Favorite place in the St. Louis region: The Green Rock trail at Rockwood Reservation. Hiking trails are my happy place, and this is a favorite in the region – rocky, hilly, and so very green!