Spotlight On: Ameren Missouri

While many of us are giving thanks to Ameren Missouri for heating our homes as frigid temperatures  settled in the region, you might also be interested to learn about their outstanding commitment to keep pace with future energy needs by implementing green business practices.

A returning participant of the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, Ameren Missouri was recognized as a Challenge Champion for completing work with the Leader scorecard in past years and committing to continued implementation of deeper sustainability strategies. During the 2020 Challenge, Ameren Missouri elected to develop and report on their Champion Innovation Project – Advancing Our Sustainability Initiatives – that focuses on the company’s internal greening efforts and customer-based work.

As part of the St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation, Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, powering the quality of life for 1.2 million electric and 130,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company is proud to serve, support and invest in the communities they call home, and they also value the importance of balancing the needs of our environment, customers and economy. From preventing and controlling pollution, reducing greenhouse gases and creating renewable energy initiatives to developing innovative technologies that help the company operate cleanly, Ameren Missouri is dedicated to building a legacy of environmental stewardship.

Additionally, the company is taking transformative steps towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Last year, the company published its award-winning 2020 Sustainability Report, which is a comprehensive view of action taken on key environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters. Ameren Missouri announced more than 75% of their current coal-fired energy centers will be retired by 2040, with all centers being retired by 2042 to help reduce harmful emissions and improve air quality. While building on their existing carbon free initiatives, they also announced plans to add 3,100 megawatts of new clean, renewable generation by 2030 and a total of 5,400 megawatts by 2040.

Through Ameren Missouri’s CommunitySavers® Program, property owners, community managers and income-eligible customers can receive energy-saving products for their home, along with rebates when they make eligible energy efficient upgrades. In 2020, the program distributed 240,000 LEDs and 1,700 window AC units to income-eligible customers. The company also announced it will invest $240 million through the year 2024 to fund energy efficiency and demand response programs though BizSavers®, Residential and Community Savers® programs.

To further reduce environmental impact, Ameren Missouri updated parking areas with new electric vehicle charging stations, introducing 65 co-worker spaces at their St. Louis Headquarters and 27 spaces at other facility locations to support regional electrification initiatives. Moreover, the company established a Fleet Electrification Goal for 100% of new light-duty vehicle purchases by 2030 to be electric, in addition to setting a goal for 35% of overall vehicle fleet to be electrified by 2030.

The Clean Air Partnership is pleased to recognize the efforts of businesses such as Ameren Missouri that continue to take action for cleaner air by channeling their time and energy towards practicing sustainability. For additional information on how your company can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, subscribe to their weekly E-Newsletter or visit www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com. To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Celebrating a Greener Carnival in the Age of COVID

While St. Louis would normally be gearing up for the crown jewel of the Soulard Mardi Gras season this weekend, those celebrations have a very different look this year. Despite the challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the show must go on – but in a virtual format designed to protect public health and adhere to the latest safety recommendations from federal, state and local officials.

Though revelers from far and wide won’t be gathering in the streets of Soulard for the Grand Parade on Saturday, area residents can still look forward to celebrating this fun treasured tradition in a safe and responsible way, all while appreciating that hosting the event online also benefits air quality and helps people all across the region breathe easier.

Thankfully, St. Louis Mardi Gras organizers are making it easy for community members to participate in the Bud Light Derby Day on Saturday with limited edition “Mardi Gras Safe at Home Party Boxes” available for purchase. The boxes are fully equipped with a food voucher to be redeemed at any participating Soulard establishment, in addition to all the beverages, beads and swag you’ll need to celebrate with a small group of friends or family in the safety and comfort of your own home.

It wouldn’t be a proper Mardi Gras celebration without beads, but these traditional accessories made up of cheap plastic strings and other toxic materials like polystyrene and lead pose an unnecessary threat to the environment, especially when littered on the streets or thrown into trash cans. If you have a growing collection and don’t plan on saving them to use for next year, consider recycling your beads to do your share for cleaner air. Furthermore, setting up separate containers to properly dispose of waste during your at-home celebration – including plastic and non-biodegradable Styrofoam cups, aluminum cans, glass bottles and more – will help improve air quality. The more material that gets properly recycled, the less that goes into landfills, ultimately reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions for cleaner air.

Other upcoming festivities include the virtual pinewood derby-style racing series and the virtual Tito’s Wiener Dog Derby, where everyone’s favorite pint sized pooches will contend for the “fastest hot dog in town” title. These popular events will be streamed via Facebook Live @STLMardiGras on Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. Pet lovers can also tune in to the first-ever virtual Purina Pet Parade Costume Contest on Fat Tuesday, where a panel of celebrity judges will choose the Mardi Paw-ty champion to win $500 cash and (12) $40 coupons good for Purina Pet food products.

We encourage you to incorporate sustainability into your unique Mardi Gras celebrations this year to help fight for cleaner air, because that’s something everyone can celebrate! To learn more about the link between living greener and our air quality, visit our website tips section at http://cleanair-stlouis.com/air-quality-tips/, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Spotlight On: The City of Alton

For more than a decade, the St. Louis Green Business/Green Cities Challenge has provided local businesses and municipalities with a clear and measurable road map to integrate sustainability measures into their everyday practices. Despite the many unforeseen challenges presented in 2020, the City of Alton continued to create a cleaner, greener environment for its constituents and the Clean Air Partnership is pleased to shine a spotlight on these tremendous efforts making the city a great place to live, work and play.

As a returning participant of the Green Cities Challenge, Alton addressed sustainability within the range of operational requirements unique to their local government. Throughout the course of the Challenge, participating municipalities incorporate a sustainability policy and practice fundamentals, including addressing measures defined by OneSTL, the regional plan for sustainable development. Among the city’s impressive accomplishments to receive recognition in the Challenge are work by their Climate Protection Energy Efficiency Committee, improved recycling, promotion of solar panel placement and the Cool Cities Committee continuing to make the city more livable through sustainability.

Other exciting initiatives included a Riverbend Trash Tag Challenge, which was sponsored by Alton Mainstreet to encourage trash pickup during the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the community were urged to walk around their Alton neighborhood, favorite nature routes, and/or a littered area around town – all while practicing safe social distancing – and pick up any trash they saw along the way. The person who collected the greatest amount of trash and filled the most bags received a $100 gift card to any downtown restaurant, which not only benefited the environment but also supported local businesses.

To further reduce environmental impact, the city placed recycling bins throughout central areas of downtown to increase recycling efforts and make it accessible for all residents. Additionally, the City of Alton updated its Solar Panel Ordinance to simplify the permitting process and is currently working on a Solar Farm Proposal for the closed Alton landfill. This proposal would make good use of lost space and create new job opportunities within the clean energy workforce.

The future continues to look bright for Alton as the Public Works department recently installed energy efficiency lighting in their public building to cut down on energy costs and help improve air quality. The city also completed a Great Streets initiative to create places that improve the atmosphere of the downtown corridor, providing an attractive and refreshing environment by working with natural systems. This initiative will address environmental concerns about planting maintenance, air pollution and more to help reduce the amount of harmful waste and overall energy consumption.

Registration for the 2021 St. Louis Green Business Challenge opens on Feb. 15. For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by the City of Alton and how your organization or municipality can get involved in the Challenge, subscribe to the weekly E-Newsletter or visit www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com. To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.