Green Buildings are Better – Celebrating 15 years (Archive)

Dec 1, 2016 | Member Network

We live, work, learn, and play better in green and healthy spaces

Green buildings are better for people, the environment, and the bottom line. They steward natural resources and lower our environmental impacts. And they are healthier places for building occupants, which is especially important because Americans spend 90% of our time indoors.

Starting with just 15 volunteers in 2001 . . . 

In 2001, 15 committed volunteers came together to form one of the first six USGBC Chapters in the country – because they believed that green buildings are better. At that time, you could count the number of LEED buildings on your fingers. Your USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter has been educating and advocating on behalf of green building ever since then. As of 2016, we can celebrate:

  • 283 commercial LEED certified building
  • 113 residential LEED certified buildings
  • More than 1300 individuals with a LEED professional credential
  • Over 500 chapter members

But our work is far from over. Our goal is that every building is a green building within this generation. This is only possible with widespread community support. Join us in our work to support buildings of all types to green their design, construction & operations!

Healthier and more comfortable, green buildings are better for living.

Take a deep breath. Is this the air you want to breathe while eating dinner, reading a book or watching TV, or sleeping? Green buildings can help you create a healthier, more comfortable home that also saves money on energy and water bills and lowers your environmental impact.

Cleaner indoor air reduces asthma symptoms in children

Nine million children in the U.S. under the age of 18 have been diagnosed with asthma (source: American Lung Association). Healthier indoor environmental quality can help reduce asthma symptoms.

In Seattle, 60 “Breathe Easy Homes” were built to decrease asthma symptoms for the children living there. And it worked! Children with asthma had more symptom-free days in the Breathe Easy Homes than those in older homes. (data source)

Closer to home, Habitat for Humanity –St. Louis builds green homes for their clients ensuring healthier indoor environments, healthier kids and families, lower utility bills and a cleaner planet.

Americans spend 90% of our time indoors, much of that at work.

Take a deep breath. Is this the air you want your employees to breathe at work? The air you want to breathe at work? Green buildings can help you create greener, healthier spaces that are good for your employees and your bottom line.

Green buildings save money and protect the environment

According to the 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study prepared for USGBC by Booz Allen Hamilton, between 2015 – 2018 green buildings in the U.S. have the potential to save $4.8 billion dollars on energy, water, trash disposal and building maintenance. Here are some real life examples…

  • PNC Bank saves money and creates better work environmentPNC Bank built 53 LEED certified buildings by 2009. In a post occupancy evaluation of the LEED branches compared to “legacy” branches, they learned that Green Branches saw direct energy savings of more than 34% and water savings of 29% compared to legacy branches. Additionally, Green Branch occupants are more satisfied with office layout, lighting, air quality, temperature, and acoustics than legacy branch occupants. (Source: Greening Our Built World: Costs, Benefits, and Strategies by Greg Kats)
  • Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 save on utilitiesSheet Metal Workers Local 36 moved into their LEED Platinum building in late 2011. Their utility costs have been consistently less than the two buildings they previously occupied, even though the new building is much larger.
  • Alberici, a shining example of a green buildingAlberici achieved the first LEED Platinum certification in St. Louis for their building in 2005. After ten years, people still seek out their building for tours and events. With continuous improvement, including retro commissioning and impressive landscaping improvements, it still stands as a shining example of a healthy, green building: “There is always air movement and light in this building – especially where I am seated. I love the open feeling. If I am having a bad day, I look up or around and see the beauty in the sky and it changes my focus”– Employee @ Alberici Group 

Get your LEED certification, keep your edge

Earning and maintaining your LEED credential and being involved in the green building movement through USGBC-Missouri Gateway will help you keep your edge at work. Amanda, a USGBC-Missouri Gateway member, was recently invited to join a non-profit board because of a connection she made at an Emerging Professional service project. Erik, a board member, believes that earning his LEED professional credential gave him the advantage in landing his current job. The network you build and the knowledge you gain through involvement helps you build connections, stay connected, and gain exposure through our volunteer opportunities, Green Building Experts recognition, and more.

Happy, healthy kids make better learners.

Take a deep breath. Is this the air kids and teachers should be breathing at school every day? 25% of Americans attend school every day – where we learn matters!

We all want healthier schools, but how?

We all want our kids to be healthy and contribute to a greener world. And most schools want to “go green” but often don’t know where to start. We launched the Green Schools Quest in 2013, which challenges public and private schools in Missouri and Southern Illinois to devise and implement, with the help of Green Mentors, the most creative, effective and no or low cost sustainable practices for their schools.

Now in its third year, the Green Schools Quest has engaged nearly 7,000 students and staff members from almost 80 schools, who report impacting over 40,000 additional students, staff, and community members – all because green buildings are better!

Green buildings protect our natural resources to enjoy for generations to come.

Take a deep breath. Isn’t this what it’s all about? Isn’t this why we are saving the planet? So we can breathe clean, healthy air when we finally get to play in the sunshine and enjoy the amazing world outside of buildings.

Green buildings strategies reduce energy consumption and encourage the use of alternative energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and their contribution to climate change. Green buildings conserve water and handle wastewater and stormwater in an environmentally sensitive manner. And green buildings produce less waste and encourage material reuse. They restore and create habitats, integrate nature into their designs, and rekindle our connection with the natural world.

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