We’re On A Mission – for Better, Greener Buildings That Will Tackle the Challenge of Climate Change!

By Nick Bristow
Chair, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Board of Directors

From existing buildings to new construction, we know that buildings play a crucial role in meeting the urgent challenge of climate change. According to the Energy Information Administration, buildings in the United States are responsible for over 40% of national greenhouse gas emissions. The City of St. Louis’s 2015 greenhouse gas inventory revealed that local impacts are much higher; residential and commercial buildings are responsible for over 60% of greenhouse gas emissions.

The critical time for climate action is now, and now more than ever, it’s critical that we change the way we build and operate our buildings. We must focus on wellness for building occupants and the planet, addressing existing and new buildings, inside and out.
It was with this imperative in mind that the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter’s Board of Directors drafted our 2018-2020 Strategic Directions. We plan to build on our 2017 momentum and move forward with three focus areas: foster green building leaders of the future, lead green building professional education, and advance green building through advocacy and community outreach.

I want to share some of our 2017 accomplishments today, and invite you to join us in the work ahead.

We continue to push for Better Buildings with Benchmarking. You know the saying, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure!” Energy and water benchmarking is the first step toward improved performance, cost savings, and reduced environmental impacts.
We significantly expanded our benchmarking work this year by helping the City of St. Louis with the passage and implementation of their Building Energy Awareness Ordinance. This work received recognition just last week with an Outstanding Local Government Achievement Award from East-West Gateway Council of Governments in the public-non-profit partnership category.

Once again we were blown away by the creativity and passion of students participating in our Green Schools Quest. Our Green Schools Quest paired 47 school-mentor teams for the 2016-2017 school year. Over 5,500 students and staff participated in sustainability projects, reaching an additional 20,000 community members. Projects ranged from energy audits & window weatherization to waste audits, material reuse & cafeteria composting! Participation in the 2017-18 school year is our highest levels yet; 57 school and mentor teams are participating in the fifth year of the Green Schools Quest!

And we continue to provide excellent educational opportunities. From inspirational to in-depth, we covered a lot of topics this year – materials transparency, sustainability in construction administration, landscape performance, project delivery mapping, historic preservation & sustainability, lighting controls and much more!

We are on a mission – a mission to make every building a green building – and we cannot get there without your help. For over 15 years, we have been part of your community; advocating and educating for better, greener buildings.

Join us at the State of the Chapter and Social on January 9 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm to learn how you can get involved in the work ahead! Visit www.usgbc-mogateway.org/calendar to get full details and register.