Building Forward: Regional Green Building Challenges and Successes

By Paul Todd Merrill,
USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

The US economy appears to be moving along at a good clip – unemployment is low; construction activity is strong and companies are recording record profits – how can the green economy and green design and construction continue to keep pace with this growth?

We have made much sustainability progress in our region with the great leadership from organizations like the USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter. Since the Chapter was founded over 15 years ago, the number of LEED certified buildings has grown from a handful to over 350. And efforts continue to bring green building design and operations strategies to all buildings, not only those pursuing sustainable certification. The City of St. Louis passed the Building Energy Awareness Ordinance in 2017 with the stewardship of the USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter. This will help assure monitoring and tracking (and reduction) of building energy use – and green job opportunities to implement energy efficiency measures. The City of St. Louis also adopted the most recent and energy efficient building codes in the region (2018 IBC, IEBC, IECC, & IRC), meaning that all buildings built in the City going forward will be more energy efficient.

At the same time, the annual number of USGBC LEED Registered/Certified buildings have declined by over the past several years. Why is this so? Has the luster of “green building” worn off? Do construction projects now incorporate sustainable attributes because it has become “standard practice”? Has the industry actually begun to “transform the built environment” according to the USGBC Mission? Are building owners now satisfied with just being “a good effort” rather than pursuing a formal third-party verified certification program?

We still have much more to do and must work even harder to keep and build momentum within the green building movement. Current and relevant independent research and studies are available to help support the business case for building green. What used to be anecdotal references now is backed by scientific studies and data. We need to be getting this information in front of project decision makers. Regionally, we have many national leaders in design and construction and their experience and leadership must be made available to all.

These topics and others will be covered in an upcoming panel discussion including regional industry leaders from the design, construction, development and business ownership industry to discuss national and regional green building progress to date; regional success stories and challenges; as well as opportunities and examples of how to regain momentum. Breakout roleplaying sessions and group discussion will be utilized to challenge participants ability to strategize and attempt to convince a mock “building owner” as to the benefits of building green. Participants will be able to take away convincing methods for planning and educating potential customers on building green.

Join the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter for Regional Green Building Challenges and Successes; May 14, 2019 5:30 – 7:30PM.

Learn more and register online at www.usgbc-mogateay.org/calendar.