Happy Energy Efficiency Day October 6 & Energy Efficiency Month!

Emily Andrews

By Emily Andrews, LEED AP O+M, GPRO O+M
Executive Director, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

Did you know that October 6 is Energy Efficiency Day, and the entire month of October is Energy Awareness Month? Did you also know that energy efficiency in our buildings is one of the best ways we can fight climate change? Many may consider climate change an existential threat that we don’t have the power to do anything about. But that’s not true! We have a lot of power — individually and collectively — to make a difference. 

USGBC-Missouri Gateway has been around for 20 years advocating for greener and healthier buildings because we know that Green Building Are Better for the planet, for our health and for our pocketbooks. We also know that Green Buildings Are Solutions to the climate issues we face at all stages of a building’s lifecycle. Buildings are responsible for 38% of global energy-related carbon emissions – this includes the energy it takes to heat, cool, and keep the lights and computers running as well as embodied carbon emissions, which are the carbon emissions released during construction and in the manufacturing of building materials. 

By designing, constructing and operating buildings more efficiently, we can take a big step in reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are combusted to create energy. This means saving money on energy bills while also taking a big step to mitigate climate change – seems like a win-win solution to me. By coupling energy efficiency measures with renewable energy, we can go even further. This is why cities across the country – including the City of St. Louis – are enacting requirements for our largest buildings to track and report energy use, to make improvements to be more energy efficient, and to make newly constructed buildings that are “solar-ready.” 

Here at USGBC-Missouri Gateway, we are doing our part to move energy efficiency forward and we are excited to announce a new initiative: the Building Energy Exchange St. Louis. The Building Energy Exchange St. Louis will serve as a centralized resource to provide information, education and connections to building owners and the building industry to improve performance of existing buildings. This includes providing assistance to building owners whose buildings are required to meet the City of St. Louis’ new Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS). 

As part of our Energy Efficiency Day and Energy Awareness Month celebrations, we are thrilled to announce that we have hired Cara Spencer as our new director of the Building Energy Exchange St. Louis! Cara grew up in St. Louis and has a B.S. in mathematics from Truman State University. She was an analyst and mathematical modeler for more than 12 years before being elected to the City of St. Louis Board of Alderman in 2015, a role she will maintain. We are excited to have Cara on board leading the Building Energy Exchange St. Louis and helping our buildings become healthier and more efficient places to live, work, and learn. 

If you want to take action for Energy Efficiency Day or Energy Awareness Month, the US Department of Energy has some great energy checklists for homes and offices available here: https://www.energy.gov/eere/femp/energy-awareness-month. You can also research energy efficiency incentives offered by local utilities or learn more about how you can take action at www.energyefficiencyday.org