Building Energy Efficiency

Desired Trend

Up

Current Trend

Up
Baseline (2013): 32.3 million sq. ft.
Current (2015): 43.1 million sq. ft.

Theme Efficient

Definition

Square footage of 3rd party verified green commercial and institutional buildings and sites (LEED, ENERGY STAR, and Sustainable Sites)

Why is it Important?

Buildings account for nearly 40 percent of energy use in the United States1, which means increasing the energy efficiency of buildings is a critical way to reduce energy use and pollution. While buildings need energy for heating, cooling, and lighting, the average commercial building wastes 30 percent of its energy through ineffeciencies.2 Green buildings have lower energy use compared to average buildings. They also tend to have minimal impacts on ecosystems, better indoor environmental quality, and lower water usage. In the St. Louis region, the Regional Chamber and the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter organized a regional initiative to increase the square footage of third-party verified green space. The initiative promotes the use of a variety of green building programs, and measures success by calculating the total square feet of green buildings and sites that are verified by Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), ENERGY STAR, or Sustainable Sites. 

How are we Doing?

The square footage of 3rd party verified green space increased from 32.3 million square feet in the baseline year 2013 to 43.1 million square feet in 2016. The majority of the verified green space is certified by Energy Star (53.7 percent in 2016), 45.3 percent is certified through LEED, and 1.0 percent is certified through Sustainable Sites. 

Within the region, two efforts are working with buildings on benchmarking energy usage.

The St. Louis High Performance Building Initiative:25x20 Campaign is challenging buildings in the region to reduce energy use by 25 percent by 2020. The 25 by 20 campaign encourages buildings to benchmark their energy use using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio manager, a free online tool that tracks energy and water use, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more about the campaign here. View a map of buildings that have taken the 25x20 pledge here

In January of 2017, former city of St. Louis mayor, Francis Slay, signed the Building Energy Awareness bill, which requires buildings 50,000 square feet or larger to benchmark their energy and water usage. According to the city’s press release, this ordinance will apply to 900 buildings throughout the city.3 The city of St. Louis also secured funding from the City Energy Project to help implement the project. This project is supported through a collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter. This collaborative effort was recognized and received an Outstanding Local Government Achievement Award (OLGA) at East-West Gateway’s Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon in November of 2017. The new ordinance is expected to have a positive impact on the direction of this performance indicator. 

Geographic Level

St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). View map.

Notes

1U.S. Energy Information Administration, Frequently Asked Questions: How much energy is consumed in residential and commercial buildings in the United States?, 28 May 2013; accessed on 20 December 2013 at http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=86&t=1

2 ENERGY STAR, Save Energy, accessed on 20 December 2013 at http://www.energystar.gov/buildings/facility-owners-and-managers/existing-buildings/save-energy

3City of St. Louis. Mayor Slay Signs Ordinance to Help Large Building Owners Reduce Energy Bills, Produce Cleaner Air and Generate Jobs. 16 February 2017; Accessed February 5, 2018 at https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/mayor/initiatives/sustainability/news/stl-joins-national-energy-project.cfm

Data Sources

Regional Chamber and the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter (USGBC – MG)