Building Energy Efficiency

Desired Trend


Current Trend

Baseline (2011): 15.1 million sq. ft.
Current (2015): 22.6 million sq. ft.

Theme Efficient


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 15.1 million square feet in the baseline year 2011 to 22.6 million square feet in 2015. The majority of the verified green space is certified by LEED (78.6 percent in 2015), 19.5 is certified through ENERGY STAR (34.6 percent), and 1.9 percent is certified through Sustainable Sites. The square footage would have likely increased more but the ENERGY STAR program requires buildings to recertify on an annual basis. Although some buildings would likely still qualify, it does not appear that they have renewed certification.

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

Geographic Level

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


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

2 ENERGY STAR, Save Energy, accessed on 20 December 2013 at

Data Sources

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