City of St. Louis Awarded American Cities Climate Challenge Grant

By Johanna Schweiss, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator,
USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

I don’t know about you, but I have been ready for some good news. And a few weeks ago, we got some!

The City of St. Louis has been selected for an American Cities Climate Challenge Grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. As one of 20 winning cities, St. Louis will receive more than $2.5 million in resources, and has been accepted into a two-year program that accelerates efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for residents The City of St. Louis identified existing buildings and transportation as focus areas for their climate work going forward. “We know that 97 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions community-wide come from the building and transportation sectors,” Lyda Krewson said in a statement on www.stl-mo.gov. “The resources associated with this climate challenge grant are a game-changer. Thanks to Bloomberg Philanthropies, St. Louis will be positioned to accelerate our work on our Climate Protection Initiative.”

Since the City of St. Louis’s first greenhouse gas inventory, it has taken multiple steps to encourage existing buildings to reduce their energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts. In January 2017, the City of St. Louis’s Board of Aldermen passed the Building Energy Awareness Ordinance, which requires buildings over 50,000 square feet to annually benchmark and disclose how much energy and water their buildings use. Energy benchmarking is the process of tracking how much energy a building consumes, comparing that energy use to typical and historical levels to understand where there may be waste or opportunities for energy savings!

Energy and water benchmarking is widely considered a building management best practice, and similar benchmarking and disclosure policies have been passed throughout the country (full details of the City’s requirement are available at www.stlbenchmarking.com). You know the saying – you can only manage what you measure.

St. Louis plans to leverage its existing benchmarking and financial programs to significantly improve energy efficiency of private-sector buildings, as well as develop and execute a comprehensive solar action strategy for the community. Additionally, St. Louis will work with Bloomberg and partners to reduce transportation sector emissions by performing an analysis on vehicle electrification, and conducting outreach to accelerate the uptake of Electric Vehicles.

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter has supported the City’s work to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings for several years, providing technical assistance, stakeholder engagement and support for the Building Energy Awareness Ordinance, the adoption of energy efficient building codes, and the American Cities Climate Challenge Grant. We look forward to the important work ahead!