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City Energy Project Lauded for Work in St. Louis

Published: Nov 20, 2017 Policy | Blog Post

The City of St. Louis and City Energy Project have been awarded a 2017 Outstanding Local Government Achievement Award for Exemplary Public/Private or Public/Non-Profit Collaboration from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.

The award honors unique achievements in the creation and implementation of exemplary government programs or projects and exceptional public sector contributions. This year’s award recognizes the efforts of the City of St. Louis and the City Energy Project to promote energy efficiency in buildings, reducing energy costs, protecting public health, and reducing buildings’ impact on climate change.

The City Energy Project is a national initiative from the Institute for Market Transformation and the Natural Resources Defense Council that is working with 20 leading U.S. cities to create healthier, more prosperous American cities through energy efficiency. Working in partnership, the Project and cities support innovative, practical solutions that cut energy waste, boost local economies, and reduce harmful pollution. St. Louis joined the City Energy Project in 2016.

St. Louis is making its buildings more energy efficient thanks to strong leadership from the City and local groups. City Energy Project empowers communities that want to cut pollution and energy bills with the technical support they need to do it. We are proud to have St. Louis as an active partner that is carving out a leadership position on efficiency in the Midwest.

RAISING AWARENESS OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY OPPORTUNITIES

In most large American cities, buildings account for the majority of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. In St. Louis, buildings are the source of 77 percent of citywide greenhouse gas emissions, with 96 percent of those buildings in the private sector. 

Recognizing this, the City Energy Project is working with local leadership and stakeholders to find ways to encourage and facilitate building energy improvements.

A first step is this process is raising awareness of energy use and among the various initiatives underway through the City Energy Project is the implementation of St. Louis’s Building Energy Awareness bill, which was signed into law on January 27, 2017. This ordinance requires municipal, institutional, commercial, and multifamily residential buildings whose square footage is equal to or greater than 50,000 square feet to track and report their energy and water usage annually to the City’s Building Division. This process, commonly referred to as “benchmarking,” helps building owners better understand how their properties use energy and track return on investment when it comes to reducing usage and cutting energy costs.

St. Louis Alderman Jack Coatar praised the project, saying, “I really feel benchmarking these large buildings benefits St. Louis in so many ways; our citizens will be breathing cleaner air, living healthier lives and we help our local economy by building markets for green industry jobs.

(Pictured above accepting the award are City Energy Project City Advisor Rajiv Ravulapati, City of St. Louis Sustainable Director Catherine Werner, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Executive Director Emily Andrews, and St. Louis Alderman Jack Coatar.)

CREATING A STRONGER, MORE COMPETITIVE ST. LOUIS

Each City Energy Project participant’s efforts are rooted in local stakeholder engagement. In St. Louis, the U.S. Green Building Council—Missouri Gateway Chapter and other building environmental stakeholders have been key partners in the passage and implementation of the Building Energy Awareness bill, as well as other ongoing efficiency efforts.

“We are so excited to be a part of a team that is moving energy efficiency in buildings forward. Our success so far can be attributed to many individuals and organizations coming together towards a goal of making our buildings and our community greener and healthier,” said Emily Andrews, Executive Director of the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter.

In addition to this award, St. Louis continues to lead by example by applying for ENERGY STAR certification for three of its municipal buildings: City Hall, Carnahan Courthouse, and the 1520 Market Building. ENERGY STAR certification is awarded to facilities whose energy performance among the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide.

“I am extremely proud of our City being recognized for implementing benchmarking as it truly is a public policy that positively impacts the health of our citizens, but it really made me smile to find out we have three of own municipal buildings that qualify for ENERGY STAR certifications,” said Frank Oswald, Building Commissioner.

To learn more about St. Louis’s Building Energy Awareness ordinance and its implementation, visit www.stlbenchmarking.com.

To learn more about City Energy Project, visit www.cityenergyproject.org.

This piece was co-authored  by Christina Angelides of the Natural Resources Defense Council and also appeared on NRDC's web site. Julie Hughes and Christina Angelides are co-directors of the City Energy Project.