Archive for the ‘Spotlight’ Category

Missouri Green Schools Honors 17 Schools for Sustainability Strides

Missouri Green Schools Honors 17 Schools for Sustainability Strides

Missouri Green Schools Honors 17 schools for their commitment to improving the health and wellness of students and staff, lowering their environmental impact, and providing place-based education. We’re thrilled to announce the 2022 Missouri Green Schools (MGS) honorees.

“By achieving Sprout, Seedling and Sapling level recognition these Missouri schools are embracing green and healthy practices within their campuses, curriculum, and culture,” said Hope Gribble, MGS co-director.

MGS is a state level recognition and support program co-managed by the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter and the Missouri Environmental Education Association. MGS annually recognizes schools for initiatives ranging from designing accessible gardens to establishing diverse Green Teams which foster Whole-School Sustainability.

Image of logos with white background. Left, circle logo with thick outer dark blue border reading, "Missouri Green Schools Wellness For All" in white and inner circle is green with outlined graphic of white dogwood flower shape. Right reading, "A joint program of" with two different logos stack; Missouri Environmental Education Association and Missouri Gateway Chapter.

Sprout

  • Bermuda Primary (Ferguson-Florissant)
  • Bridgeway Elementary (Pattonville)
  • Brittany Woods Middle (University City)
  • Central Primary (Ferguson-Florissant)
  • City Garden Montessori Elementary & Adolescent Education Center
  • Crestwood Elementary (Lindbergh)
  • Hixson Middle (Webster Groves)
  • Holland Elementary (Springfield)
  • Marvin Elementary (Ritenour)
  • Patrick Henry Downtown Academy (St. Louis Public Schools)

Seedling

  • Chaminade
  • Flance Early Childhood Center
  • Forsyth School
  • Herculaneum High School (Dunklin R-5)
  • Principia
  • St. Francis of Assisi School

Sapling

  • Sunrise R-9 School

Read comments from Missouri Green Schools honorees on why they’ve committed to this whole-school sustainability journey.

Photograph with grey wash of bee box with logo in the top left and line graphic on right side. Logo reading, "Missouri Green Schools promoting wellness for all"

Sprout schools are honored for involving school administration, beginning to benchmark and track improvement, and setting goals towards further advancement of green and healthy practices. Seedling schools additionally document a sustainability-related achievement in at least one educational program. Sapling schools additionally document their long term impacts, such as reduction of energy or water usage over a 1 to 3 year period.

Missouri Green Schools will continue to support these 17 schools as they track achievements, set new goals, and strive to make a difference in the lives of their students and staff and in their communities.

Interested in learning more about becoming a Missouri Green School or assisting schools in the program? Visit MissouriGreenSchools.org or contact program directors Lesli Moylan (moylan@meea.org) and Hope Gribble (hope.gribble@mobot.org). 




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).




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!




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!




August Member Spotlight – David Charles

August Member Spotlight

“Collaboration amongst people from many demographics will hopefully shed light on these inequities”

David Charles, Resource Center Manager, American Institute of Architects.
USGBC-MGC Member since 2020
Active member of the Education Committee

Sustainability passion: My dual passion is infrastructure and the building materials used to execute it. Over the past couple years, I’ve really become interested in Green Building practices – including LEED and Passive House – that help improve quality of life for its users throughout the built environment. I’m equally fascinated by how rapidly new sustainable building products (for its envelope to interior finishes) enter the market every day! What I find inspirational about sustainability is a universal goal of improving how we interact with each other, our communities, and the greater planet.

Most meaningful experience with USGBC: While first acquainted years ago during my time at the Missouri History Museum, my most meaningful is as a current active member of the Education Committee. As now Resource Center Manager for AIA (American Institute of Architects) St. Louis, I am proud to exchange ideas and collaborate with dynamic people on educating the community on Green Building. Some meetings have gone past time due to our collaborative efforts – the knowledge I come away with is always worth the extra time!

What will most impact the future of green building: Accessibility (world-wide). While long-term global plans are in place, more consideration is needed for exactly where these changes will occur. New advances usually require ample research, technology, and (quite frankly) plenty of money. Most underserved demographics worldwide (some St. Louis neighborhoods included) benefit much later – if at all – from these life-improving advances. Collaboration amongst people from many demographics will hopefully shed light on these inequities and we can best improve the planet at once, realizing our responsibility to be global citizens.

Favorite LEED Project: What a hard choice – especially from the array in the St. Louis region. My top has to be the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum located in Downtown St. Louis. As part of the Missouri Historical Society’s long-term project to gain LEED status for each building (Missouri History Museum, Library & Research Center, & Soldiers Memorial), I was proud to see the MHS team (including Facilities & Sustainability Coordinator, Angela Moore) earn LEED Gold certification for Soldiers! shout-out to the architecture firm Mackey Mitchell for earning a 2019 AIA Design Distinguished Award on their work for Soldiers!

Favorite place in the St. Louis region: Forest Park! Without a doubt!! Especially in the last year, its vast space and beauty helped center me during an unsettling period. Prior, I worked in Forest Park almost half my life and allowed the unique opportunity to form my own special relationship with the gem! It was an honor to be profiled as a “Human of St. Louis”, in partnership with Forest Park Forever, to further share what it means to me. I advise you to click HERE because rewriting my whole story may take up more space than this profile allows.




July Member Spotlight – Lisa J. Reed

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!




Advancing Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy & Electric Vehicle Policy

We are excited to officially release Advancing Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy & Electric Vehicle Policy in the St. Louis Region – a toolkit to help advocate for action and policy in the built environment that will help reduce climate change. We know this toolkit doesn’t provide all of the answers, but it sure does focus on a few of the most impactful and accessible actions – some of which have already been implemented locally.

Cities around the world have stepped up to set aggressive climate goals. Over 289 cities and counties have signed on to We Are Still In, an effort to support climate action at the local level by reducing greenhouse gas emissions 28% by 2025 and 80% by 2050, relative to a 2005 baseline. Locally, the City of St. Louis, Maplewood, and University City are signatories to We Are Still In. In October 2019, the City of St. Louis adopted an even more aggressive commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 100% by 2050. But we still have a lot of work to do to meet these goals – so let’s get to work!

Advancing Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy & Electric Vehicle Policy in the St. Louis Region focuses on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Renewable Energy Strategies, and Electric Vehicle Infrastructure. The City of St. Louis is leading on many of the strategies outlined in this toolkit, thanks to support from programs like Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge and the City Energy Project. By compiling these resources, we hope to amplify the City’s work and the work of other local governments to encourage action for climate protection.

Download Advancing Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy & Electric Vehicle Policy in the St. Louis Region and help us work towards a healthier, more equitable, more sustainable and more resilient region for all of us who live, work, learn and play here.

A big THANK YOU to Washington University in St. Louis and Bloomberg Philanthropies for their support in developing this toolkit!




Online Learning Opportunities

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.