USGBC Growing Green Awards Honor Those Transforming the Community and Built Environment

by Katie Rietz,
Growing Green Awards Committee Co-Chair

On March 28th the Missouri Gateway Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council held their fifth annual Growing Green Awards banquet at the Palladium to announce and celebrate 2013 winners. Nearly 200 attendees joined to celebrate the accomplishments of all the nominees. Winners and nominees are outstanding individuals and organizations that are active in transforming the built environment. They share a passion for making our region more sustainable.

The Community Champion award went to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group. For Old North, community is more than a collection of buildings and sustainability is more than the built environment. As a result they have developed programs and activities to cultivate relationships among long-time residents and newcomers. Many programs, such as a farmers’ market, community gardens, and a neighborhood-owned grocery co-op enable residents to enjoy healthier lifestyles and enhance community connections. These are a few examples of Old North’s commitment, community spirit, and leadership in creating a diverse, vibrant and sustainable community in the city of St. Louis.

Southwestern Illinois College won the Education award. The Sustainability and Green Economy Center at SWIC provides leadership, guidance and resources to help the college implement sustainability projects, which fall into five areas: green curriculum, green campuses, green communities, green collaborations, and green careers. SWIC is recognized as a statewide leader in sustainability and runs its campus in ways that minimize environmental impact while reducing costs. The Liberal Arts Building Addition was designed to comply with LEED Gold Certification standards.

Recognition for Innovation was awarded to SWT Design for their commitment to sustainable design and environmental stewardship through their involvement in the Sustainable SITES InitiativeTM (SITES). For over 15 years SWT Design has sought after and implemented innovative technologies to solve complex design problems. Solutions have brought to fruition environmental, social and financial advances in the St. Louis region with impacts recognized worldwide. The firm led the site design and construction of Novus International Headquarters, one of the first projects to be certified by SITES. As of today, this 3-star rated project is currently the highest-rated landscape project in the world. SWT Design became the first design firm whose campus certified under SITES, earning a two star rating. SWT Design’s team members have played an integral role in the advancement and adaptation of the SITES rating system, using measurable evidence from its projects as examples.

Courtney Howard from Cannon Design was awarded the Emerging Leader award. Courtney volunteers at community gardens in St. Louis and has chosen to reduce her own carbon footprint by not having a personal vehicle. Instead, she gets around town by walking, riding the Metrolink or using a hybrid WeCar. At work, Courtney is also in the process of developing a food waste composting system that can be implemented by a 100 person office. Courtney’s dedication and enthusiasm prove that she is an emerging leader in initiatives to improve to the environment.

The award for Operational Excellence went to Parkway School District. Due to their diligence and dedication to improving the environment, Parkway saw a 1.2 million kilowatt hour reduction in electricity use in 2012. Also in 2012, Parkway contracted the largest solar project in the state, enacted single stream recycling and composting programs that together topped 960 tons of materials diverted from landfills, and developed a water bottle filler program that logs the number of bottles of water that have been avoided since installation. Parkway School District models sustainability for all of us. Even more impressive, they are instilling habits in their students that will last a lifetime.

Patty Maher from Tiger Lily Development won the Restoration category for her dedication to city revitalization by preserving St. Louis’ architectural treasures. Tiger Lily Development has been committed to preserving historical properties by applying Missouri Preservation Historical and ENERGY STAR standards. This ensures that the restorations have cost effective utilities while maintaining the buildings historical integrity. Patty is dedicated to continuing quality craftsmanship which can only come from hiring quality trades people. This focus ensures that these homes will outlast us; their longevity measured in centuries rather than decades.

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter congratulates all the 2013 Growing Green Award winners and nominees for their work to make the built environment a more environmentally friendly, prosperous and healthy place to live, work and learn. Learn more about the winners and nominees at www.usgbc-mogateway.org.