By Laurie Burstein
The St. Louis Region has made an exceptional effort in the "green building" movement according to Tom Schultz, Manager Utilization Engineering at Laclede Gas Company.
And the 150 year-old utility company is helping to lead the way to support and promote the design and construction of energy-efficient, environmentally responsible "green" buildings in our area.
Schultz says, "Laclede strongly supports the initiatives and progress in developing 'greener buildings.' Our customers truly benefit from the conservation and energy-efficiency improvements available in 'green building' designs. And, we believe in assisting our customers in managing their energy programs."
Laclede Gas will be hosting a workshop targeting commercial and industrial applications for green building. Information on energy management programs and energy conservation recommendations for existing buildings will also be presented.
The workshop, entitled, "Energy Action Workshop Fueling a Cleaner Environment— The Energy Component in Green Building Design," takes place May 9, at the St. Charles Convention Center.
The free half-day seminar is open to all companies. Speakers include representatives from the American Gas Association, the
Gas Technology Institute, HOK St. Louis, Architectural Energy Corporation and others.
Schultz says he expects approximately 200 attendees. "It's important to keep our commercial customers informed of the latest trends and information in natural gas," Schultz says. "Our customers are asking for energy efficient buildings and are really helping to drive the process."
"At the commercial and industrial level, Laclede Gas Company has joined the National US Green Building Council (USGBC) and also serves on the Board of the St. Louis Regional Chapter of the USGBC. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, provides a complete set of standards for environmentally sustainable design of commercial, industrial and now residential building applications. Commercial buildings as defined by standard building codes are eligible for certification under the LEED for New Construction, LEED for Existing Buildings, LEED for Commercial Interiors, LEED for Retail, LEED for Schools and LEED for Core & Shell rating systems."
"Laclede Gas is involved in promoting LEED certification programs which have really set the stage for successful buildings," Schultz explains. "We work closely with our commercial customers to show them ways to meet LEED guidelines with high efficiency natural gas applications and systems."
Another important upcoming regional conference is the 2008 USGBC Greening The Heartland Conference (see sidebar below) to be held at the America Center in St. Louis on June 22nd through 24th, where an estimated three to four thousand people from 12 states will attend. Laclede Gas Company is a sponsor of this event as well.
"At the residential level, Laclede Gas has strengthened its partnership with the Home Builders Association of St. Louis and Eastern Missouri (HBA) in 2007 to promote innovative green programs for new home construction. Laclede Gas has, during the last two years, assisted the HBA with its Green Building Initiative (GBI), which encourages builders to construct homes that are environmentally friendly, with a focus on resource, energy and material conservation. Through our partnership with HBA, we assisted with the development of the GBI program in St. Louis by designing the third-party verification process and several training programs for interested builders. The program passed an important milestone in 2007 when we certified the first Bronze awarded home in the United States."
Schultz continues, "Our partnership with the HBA received a first place Best Practices award from the Southern Gas Association in recognition of the success of the GBI program. Currently, Laclede is expanding its involvement in the Green Building Initiative by assisting the National Association of Home Builders to establish a national standardized verification protocol."
"At Laclede, we participate in green building program initiatives to ensure continued awareness of the inherent environmental benefits of natural gas. We consider our leadership in green building to be an additional service for our commercial and residential customers." Schultz says. "Everyone benefits from the conservation and energy-efficiency improvements available through green building designs and, as such, we encourage innovative improvements in energy-management practices and energy-efficient equipment."
"Our St. Louis Area can be proud of our strong leadership in green building programs for both commercial and residential construction."
For more information on the Energy Action Workshop, contact Tom Schultz, Laclede Gas Company, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (314) 342-0684.
|GREENING THE HEARTLAND
By Linda F. Jarrett
Green building and sustainability will take center stage when the United States Green Building Council holds its fifth annual "Greening the Heartland" conference in
St Louis on June 22 to 24 at America's Center.
The conference will feature speakers with expertise in four areas: Corporate, community, government and education.
Ray Anderson, founder of Interface, will address sustainability in the corporate sector; Leith Sharp, Harvard Green Campus Foundation, will speak to the educational aspect; Jaime Lerner, governor of Parano, Brazil, will talk about how communities can incorporate sustainability into their development; and George Heartwell, mayor of Grand Rapids, Mich., will speak about ways that the government can forward sustainability concepts.
Program Committee Chair Steve Coffey, principal of The Coffey Group, says, "They will try to identify ways in which we can change the way our businesses and lives develop and do it in a meaningful way, by highlighting corporations that have developed sustainable practices."
"We're trying to highlight how sustainable and green practices can influence all of our lives and not doing it in a subtractive, but in an additive manner," he says. "There has always been criticism of the green movement in that you have to go back to the Stone Age and wash your clothes at the stream in order to be green. That's not the case. You don't have to give up your light bulbs, but you may carry your bag with you to the store, and buy more eco-friendly solvents."
Purchasing food that is grown within 500 miles of your home is another way to practice green living, he says.
Chairman Dave Bertorelli, director of space planning and design at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, says the conference is open to anyone who is interested in how the built environment can either negatively or positively impact the environment.
"We have many LEED certified buildings in the St. Louis area, and we"ve decided to focus on a celebration of the Midwest in terms of what we've done environmentally," he says. "The reality is that the way to initiate change or a paradigm shift in the built environment methodology is to engage the corporations who are building these facilities."
The "Greening The Heartland" conference is one of five regional conferences held by the USGBC in the United States each year.
The Heartland Region of the USGBC encompasses nine Midwestern states and the "Greening the Heartland" conference rotates annually between these states.