ST. LOUIS – It has been a momentous first two decades of the millennium for advocates of greater energy efficiency and sustainability in the built environment. LED lighting, solar and renewable forms of energy, smart buildings, smart cities and smart infrastructure including electric vehicle charging stations are just a few of the innovations that blossomed over the past 20 years. That served as the backdrop as IBEW Local 1 hosted the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) - Missouri Gateway Chapter’s State of the Chapter event on Jan 23, 2020.
Since the USGBC launched the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in 1999 more than 300 buildings in St. Louis have achieved LEED certification. “Our USGBC membership also continues to drive innovation, including the Living Building Challenge which strives for net-zero water, waste and energy in structures, the WELL Building Standard which aims to improve the health and wellness of building occupants and our Better Buildings Through Benchmarking initiative which encourages deeper energy efficiency in existing buildings,” said Emily Andrews, executive director, USGBC – Missouri Gateway Chapter. “As green design and construction has evolved, we’ve had great supportive partners like IBEW and its Electrical Connection partnership with the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).”
“LEED energized a new way of thinking about the environmental impact of what we build and innovations in greater energy efficiency,” noted Frank Jacobs, business manager, IBEW Local 1. “That, in turn, spurred the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center to adapt its program to develop the skills needed to engineer and build renewable forms of energy and all types of smart infrastructure.”
Jacobs noted that IBEW/NECA played an instrumental role in developing a national curriculum for electric vehicle charging stations. It is also is a strong advocate for the next generation human-centric LED lighting which delivers better color and visual acuity and healthier circadian rhythm. Last year, the Electrical Connection donated services to install human-centric lighting in three St. Louis Public Schools in partnership with PLANLED, Cardinals Care and the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation.
“At the start of the millennium 20 years ago, we had just completed a $1 million upgrade to our training center to meet the ever advancing needs of the information age, including digital technology and voice/data/video,” said Frank Jacobs, business manager, IBEW Local 1. “As LEED and other green design initiatives developed, we continued to invest to create a highly adaptable learning laboratory, including a rooftop solar array.”
“We appreciate the Electrical Connection and IBEW/NECA’s leadership in not only delivering the skills needed to build the innovations driving greater energy efficiency and sustainability in the built environment, but they have also been a strong advocates of these innovations,” said Andrews, executive director, USGBC – Missouri Gateway Chapter. “It is also great to have our state of the chapter meeting in IBEW’s newly renovated historic union hall, which is a showcase for energy efficiency.”
The 40,000-square-foot union hall at 5850 Elizabeth Ave. is on the National Register of Historic Places for modern design. Renovations have included a solar array topping a parking lot canopy over electric vehicle charging stations. It also features other cost saving systems, including a new HVAC system, a white roof and new windows and water efficient fixtures.
Andrews unveiled the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Education Calendar for 2020, which is focusing on three themes: A Just & Equitable Environment; Climate Solutions: Addressing Urgency & Taking Action; and Resilience & Innovative Recovery. The February 11, 2020 program will feature Lisa Conway, the vice president of sustainability for Interface. For more information on programming visit www.usgbc-mogateway.org.
The Electrical Connection is a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). It represents more than 5,000 highly skilled and safe IBEW electricians and the more than 150 NECA electrical contractors who employ them. For more than 75 years, the IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection partnership has trained more electricians/communication technicians than any education program in Missouri. Its award winning work provides safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world. Learn more at www.electricalconnection.org .