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Green Buildings Are Better!

By Nancy Rodney,
USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Development Committee Chair

As Americans, we spend 90% of our time indoors. The buildings where we live, work, learn, and play have a huge impact on our health. Can you imagine if there was no one advocating for greener and healthier buildings? No one bothering to save energy or reuse building materials? No one paying attention to the way indoor environments affect building occupants? What if there was no green building movement?

We know that green buildings are better – better for people, better for the environment, better for our bottom line. They steward natural resources and are sensitive to environmental impacts. For 15 years, the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter has been educating and advocating for better, greener buildings. When volunteer came together to found one of the first six USGBC Chapters in the country 15 years ago, the green building movement was relatively new. There were only a handful of buildings whose developers were even thinking about LEED certification. And those volunteer founders often discussed how hard it was for people to wrap their heads around what it meant to be a green building.

Fast forward to 15 years later and the USGBC- Missouri Gateway Chapter has grown from an idea to a community of over 500 members. 375 commercial and 113 residential LEED certified buildings now make our region a better place to live – on college campuses and in cities, towns and neighborhoods across the state. Over 1300 individuals have cared enough about green building to earn a LEED professional credential. USGBC-Missouri Gateway has brought together our community for 130 monthly educational programs, reaching nearly 14,000 participants. We have hosted 40 in-depth green building workshops and seminars, 26 LEED exam prep courses, 15 LEED webinar series, and two Midwestern regional conferences – all because green buildings are better!

Beyond education, USGBC-Missouri Gateway has provided numerous opportunities for volunteers to use their green building knowledge and passion to serve our community. Volunteers on standing committees have served countless hours to support the organization’s mission. Speakers Bureau volunteers have given presentations to audiences interested in sustainability and green building; Green Shadow mentors have hosted students and emerging professionals for job shadows; and LEED Community Project volunteers have completed LEED documentation for non-profit partners.
In 2013 we launched the Green Schools Quest, challenging public and private schools to implement low or no cost sustainability projects with the help of green mentors. Now in its third year, the Green Schools Quest has engaged nearly 7,000 students and staff members from almost 80 schools, who report impacting over 40,000 additional students, staff, and community members – all because green buildings are better!

We can look back 15 years and imagine what it would be like without the hard work of our volunteers, partners, staff, and sponsors. We would rather focus on the future! We are excited to celebrate 15 years of achievements; but our work is far from over. Our goal is that every building is a green building within this generation – and that is only possible with widespread community support from all of you! We would like you to be intentional in your support and join us with action and urgency.

Join us at our annual State of the Chapter and Social on January 12 at HOK to help us look forward towards a future where every building is a green building! Visit www.usgbc-mogateway.org/calendar to learn more and register for this free event.

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