Archive for the ‘News and Notes’ Category

Sacred Heart Catholic School Shines Light on Benefits of Energy Efficiency Measures

Sacred Heart Catholic School, located in Florissant, is a K-8 school specializing in Roman Catholic Education. Last summer, an LED retrofit of the entire building was executed, which has saved the school just over $11,000 in energy costs, 113,000 kWh of energy, and 93 tons of CO2.

Read the full case study here. Or check out some of our other case studies!




Check out our 2019 Annual Report!

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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.




Stay Safe & Engaged

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.

St. Louis Flag

 




Charlotte’s Transition to a Circular Economy – March 10th

Envisioning a Circular Economy

As humans we’ve adapted a linear approach to economics; we take, we make, we dispose. Yet, does this activity benefit our living system? Does it benefit you? Or your business? Probably not. We need to redefine growth, focus on positive society-wide benefits and build economic, natural, and social capital. How is this possible? The Circular Economy. The circular economy is based upon three principles; design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems. It’s a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design, according to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation.

At the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter (USGBC-MGC), we challenge the St. Louis region to be an innovative part of the solution, generating sustainable solutions that address the current needs and challenges we face, without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. Sustainable development plays a significant role in shaping the future of our environment and society. So that we might learn from another community taking innovative action, we’ve invited speaker Amy Aussieker, the Executive Director of Envision Charlotte, to share the successes and challenges Charlotte, North Carolina has had since launching their circular economy plan.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Aussieker will speak at Alberici Headquarters in St. Louis, MO about Charlotte’s Transition to a Circular Economy. This evening program aligns with the USGBC-MGC’s 2020 educational theme, Climate Solutions: Addressing Urgency & Taking Action. We are excited to welcome Aussieker and discuss how Charlotte’s local government, utilities, universities and businesses are addressing the four environmental pillars of energy, air, water, and waste.

Charlotte's Transition to a Circular EconomyA circular economy is all about energy, all the interconnecting companies that form our infrastructure and economy and how that energy is extracted, used, reused, and returned to the Earth and the people; building economic, natural, and social capital. For example, Envision Charlotte’s inaugural project tackled “Smart Energy,” helping 61 of the largest commercial buildings reduce their energy use by 19%, equivalent to 26 million dollars in savings and taking 11,000 cars off the road (Forbes, 2019). What about waste?

How can our waste build capital, rather than reduce it? What if the goods of today became the resources of tomorrow? Instead of the throw away and replace culture, we accept a new method of return and renew (Re-thinking Progress video, Ellen Macarthur Foundation). Charlotte came up with an action plan to make the city more circular, tying in with their sustainable energy goals to reduce carbon dioxide, they have begun to harness valuable materials, that would have been headed to the landfill like plastics, textiles, concrete and organics. REthinking the operating system and REdesigning the way Charlotte’s economy works – REpresenting a systemic shift that builds long-term resilience, generates business and economic opportunities, and provides environmental and social benefits.

Please be sure to join us March 10th, 2020 5:30 – 7:30 pm for Charlotte’s Transition to a Circular Economy and learn about the short and long-term strategies, community participation, and benefits of developing a circular economy. Follow us @usgbcMOgateway and register at www.usgbc-mogateway.org/events!