There’s a lot going on in the solar realm. As a botanical garden, we deeply know the impact of the sun. We are thrilled to partner in kicking off the new Grow Solar St. Louis program, a twin of the Grow Solar Metro East program. These solar group buy programs make things easier for you and less expensive to install this great resource. Read more about it in our fall e-newsletter (coming soon)! If you want to figure it all out on your own, check out Ameren MO and Ameren IL for solar rebates. If installing solar on your property isn’t a good option, check out Community Solar - a growing idea. Learn more of the background here, then check out your Missouri local utility or Illinois local utility to see how you can participate. There may be a waiting list, but take the time now to learn more, like what Ameren MO is doing up by the airport. Or find out some of what’s happening in IL since they have one of the Monsters of the Midwest Solar Installs – a very large single site project is in Champaign, IL! One of the benefits of the solar work happening is in new jobs – check out how IL Solar work is providing economic job training!
Buildings have been on my mind as well. Clean air, water and soil are deeply impacted by creating building materials and construction. That’s why Congratulations are in order to the Soldiers Memorial and the Gateway Arch Museum as both of them achieved LEED Gold Certification! Good news is great to hear. Staff from multiple divisions representing the Missouri Botanical Garden were pleased to spend time with the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) CEO, Mahesh Ramanujam, when he was in town on Wednesday, August 7 to present LEED Gold plaques to both the Arch and the Soldiers Memorial. Our group talked about telling the sustainability story – an incredible topic! (Image below.)
I’ve also been thinking about designing homes to be resilient. It may have made a difference in the homes that survived some of the natural disasters this past Fall. In the tragedies of the Paradise, CA Camp Fire in November of 2018 in some cases it mattered how those buildings were constructed - types of roofing; building materials; windows; size, shape and materials of eaves; and size of mesh on rooftop vents – all very important details especially if you live in areas prone to natural disasters. The same thing happened in the October 2018 Hurricane Michael that hit the Florida Panhandle – read about the design of the home that survived. With our changing climates, you can design for what might be happening in your areas. It’s not always fail-safe, but why would you not take this into account if you can?
How about the rise in interest of shipping container buildings – there’s a brewery in the Grove, a home in Old North St. Louis and a home in St. Charles. Check out this re-use idea!
Of course one of the biggest sustainability efforts is the Regional Recycling Message. Recycling is still a good business when there are good sources to buy the recycled commodities. Make sure you put the right things in your recycling bin! One of the best ways to improve recycling is to look at how products are made before they get to the point of needing to be recycled – and in that view we say Go Nestle – working towards 100% recyclable product packaging by 2025!
And our friends at Terracycle are up to something new: “Loop” reusable packaging and they have some giants of the packaging world already on board – keep an eye on this in the future.
Congratulations to our friends at Earth Day who have rebranded on this 30th anniversary of the local Earth Day Festival, they are now earthday 365; and what’s old is new again – an article from 2001 is circulating once more and is just as true now as then: Green is Good for You - Psychologists' research explains the mental and physical restoration we get from nature, with important implications for how we build our homes.
And finally, stop by the St. Charles Home Show September 20-22 and visit us at the EarthWays Center Energy Efficiency Demonstration Wall (image below). Get actionable intel, from BPI Certified Professionals and HVAC Techs on readying your home for a winter with increased comfort and lower bills!