Five Reasons You Should Care About Air Pollution

Even as concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic remain top of mind, there is no doubt that air pollution is also a global public health emergency to be conscious of during the remaining summer months when the potential for poor air quality conditions is higher. In recent weeks, the St. Louis metro area has seen its fair share of scorching temperatures and a related increase in the number of days when the air quality has been in unhealthy ranges, particularly for those sensitive populations who are more vulnerable to ozone pollution.

While ozone is not visible to the naked eye, the fact that it can negatively affect one’s health is crystal clear; and those effects can be from both short-term and long-term exposure to ozone pollution. With that in mind, here are five important things to consider when it comes to air pollution:

  1. Children, older adults and those with existing lung conditions are most at risk. Children and the elderly with developing or weakened immune systems are at greater risk from breathing in polluted air. According to the American Lung Association’s 2020 State of the Air report, nearly 22 million adults age 65 and over and 34.2 million children under age 18 live in counties that received an “F” grade for at least one pollutant. Likewise, more than 2.8 million seniors and 5 million children live in counties failing all three tests.
  2. Nearly five in ten people live in counties with unhealthy levels of ozone pollution. Heat and sunlight combined with hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides emitted by automobiles, smokestacks and other sources react and form a dangerous ground-level layer known as ozone (smog) that is harmful for everyone to breathe. A shocking 150 million Americans live in 257 counties that are breathing in this unhealthy air. Here in St. Louis, we ranked 28th in the nation overall for most ozone-polluted cities.
  3. Where you live matters. Studies show that many different pollutants along busy highways may be higher than in the community as a whole, increasing the risk of harm to people who live or work near busy roads. Exposure to traffic pollution can cause asthma attacks in children and a wide range of other effects including poor cognition, impaired lung function, increased risk for dementia as an adult and even premature death.
  4. Air pollution and poverty go hand in hand. Growing evidence shows that people who have low incomes may face higher risk from air pollution. For example, pollution sources tend to be located near disadvantaged communities, increasing exposure to harmful pollutants. More than 18.7 million people in the U.S. with incomes meeting the federal poverty definition live in counties that received an “F” grade for at least one pollutant.
  5. You can take action for cleaner air. With the risks from airborne pollution being so great, the Clean Air Partnership encourages area residents to continue their efforts to take voluntary steps to reduce emissions as those actions play a critical role in improving air quality conditions. Walking and biking instead of using a vehicle for short trips, telecommuting, avoiding vehicle idling, as well as carpooling and taking transit once it is again safe to do so can all greatly impact the amount of ozone-forming emissions generated on any given day.

The more you know about the air you breathe, the bigger the difference you can make to help people across the St. Louis region breathe easier. To learn more about health effects of exposure to air pollution and actions you can take to reduce emissions, visit our website at www.cleanair-stlouis.com, like the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook or follow @gatewaycleanair on Twitter.

Spotlight On: Meridian Village – Lutheran Senior Services

Even in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, various local businesses, municipalities and individuals across the St. Louis metropolitan area are working hard to become better stewards of the environment, and the Clean Air Partnership is recognizing those that continue to pave the way for a more sustainable future. This month, we are delighted to shine a spotlight on Meridian Village-Lutheran Senior Services for their noteworthy green achievements and innovations that are helping clear the air in the region.

Meridian Village, a vibrant senior living community located in Glen Carbon, Ill., focuses on an approach that puts people first. This guiding principle drives the organization to help every resident live a life free of worry and full of opportunity. As a proud participant of the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, Meridian Village continues to set the standard for senior living facilities going green and taking action to reduce environmental impact. During the 2019 Challenge, the organization received the Star Circle of Excellence Achievement Award and secured the third place title at the Leader Level – Owner Category.

With a commitment to make sustainability the core of their community culture, Meridian Village formed a Green Team comprised of residents and the Staff Director of Operations to assess and address residents’ sustainability interests and needs. The team developed materials and staffed collection stations to educate employees and fellow residents about plastic bag recycling and reducing contamination in the single stream. Other sustainability learning opportunities included guest presentations on recycling and carpooling from the EarthWays Center and RideFinders, an ENERGY STAR webinar viewing, and various field trips to the Missouri Botanical Garden and Watershed Nature Center for an up close and personal educational experience.

To further reduce environmental impact, the organization implemented special recycling support services, including an outreach program to evaluate recycling efforts and educate participants individually, as well as a “homebound pickup” service for physically disabled residents who still wish to participate. Group travel on company vehicles has also been an efficient option for both human energy and fuel use, including bus shuttles to grocery and other shopping locations, resident outings and special events.

Additionally, Meridian Village consulted with Heartlands Conservancy about developing a pollinator garden to attract a variety of bees and help flowering native plants grow, which also positively impacts our air quality!

Other impressive innovations include controlling light-spill from the property and a light/sleep hygiene project completed last year that allowed light dimming at the facility at night. This not only encourages better sleep patterns for residents, but also reduces energy usage to help keep the air quality in healthy ranges.

For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by Meridian Village-Lutheran Senior Services and how other organizations can get involved in the Challenge, subscribe to the bi-monthly 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.

Spotlight On: The Village of Godfrey

As the summer season heats up, the Clean Air Partnership continues to recognize various local organizations and municipalities that have worked hard to better the environment and create a sustainable way of life. Over the past decade, 233 businesses, municipalities and non-profits have participated in the St. Louis Green Business/Green Cities Challenge, influencing more than 155,000 employees and nearly 470,000 residents in total. This month, we are excited to shine a spotlight on the Village of Godfrey, Ill., for their ongoing sustainable efforts and green innovations that are having a great impact on the region’s air quality. 

During the 2019 Challenge, Godfrey was recognized with the Award of Achievement for their work in the Green Cities Challenge component of the programGreen Cities participants work with a menu of fundamental sustainability policy and action options geared toward greening municipal business operations, including various resources to educate and engage residents. 

Founded in 1991, the Village of Godfrey is one of Illinois’ newest municipalities and has been rapidly developing in recent years. While practicing sustainability is good for the environment, it’s also good for the municipal budget bottom line, which is a win-win for the Village of Godfrey. The village partnered with Grow Solar Metro East to promote clean, renewable solar energy for homes, business and farms in Madison, St. Clair and Monroe Counties. Godfrey also teamed up with Madison County to secure a Solar Parks Grant for Glazebrook Park to help offset the cost of high electricity usage for athletic fields and reduce emissions that lead to poor air quality.  

Additionally, the Village of Godfrey vowed to cut down on waste and go paperless in all village board meetings by using BoardDocs, which is a tool that allows users to access information and conduct meetings virtually.  

To further reduce environmental impact and lead local bars and restaurants down the path of sustainability, Godfrey hosted the Green Business Forum with Old Bakery Beer Company to emphasize the importance of composting all food waste and using energy efficient appliances.  

Among their many eco-friendly innovations to receive recognition in the Challenge is the institution of a Village Stormwater Committee to address flooding and erosion solutions that features green infrastructure methods. Since the committee identified the prevention of water pollution a top priority, the village partnered with Heartlands Conservancy to conduct the Piasa Creek Watershed Study and contribute to the forthcoming Watershed Plan. The plan will assist with flood risk management and long-term planning to repair the fish and wildlife habitat in the area. 

For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by the Village of Godfrey and how your municipality can get involved in the Challenge, subscribe to the bi-monthly 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. 

Beating the Heat This Summer to Help St. Louisans Breathe Easier

While the region continues to respond to the ongoing pandemic, and fewer automobiles on the roads are keeping emissions at bay as many workers continue to telecommute to minimize the spread of COVID-19, warmer temperatures are signaling a higher risk of poor air quality conditions in the bi-state area. Having already experienced more “orange” days earlier in the ozone season than last year, the importance of keeping the region’s air clean is at an all-time high as weather conditions continue to play a significant role in our region’s daily air quality.

Over the last several decades, cities all across the nation have made significant strides in cleaning up harmful air pollution; however, the American Lung Association’s 2020 State of the Air report reveals that many communities are still breathing unhealthy air. The three years covered in this year’s report (2016-2018) ranked among the five hottest years on record globally, and that climate change poses current and growing threats to protecting human health.

Many areas in the United States – including the St. Louis metropolitan region – produce enough ozone during the summer months to cause health problems that can be felt right away. Immediate problems include shortness of breath; wheezing and coughing; asthma attacks; increased risk of respiratory infections; increased susceptibility to pulmonary inflammation; and increased need for people with lung diseases, like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), to receive medical treatment or go to the hospital. Studies also show that long-term exposure to ozone and particle pollution may increase the risk of premature death.

The Clean Air Partnership releases daily air quality forecasts that are color-coded to let residents know what the air quality will be during the summer months. Signing up to receive the air quality forecast via email at www.cleanair-stlouis.com helps to ensure area residents know what the next day’s air quality will be and if they should alter their outdoor activities to minimize exposure to polluted air, particularly on orange or red “ozone action days.” These warnings are especially important for sensitive populations, including children and teens, anyone 65 or older, people who work or exercise outdoors, and those with existing lung or cardiovascular disease.

Given that transportation-related emissions have always been one of the biggest contributors to air pollution, the Partnership encourages area residents to do their share for cleaner air by choosing not to idle your vehicles, avoiding topping off your gas tank, telecommuting and combining errands into a single trip. Carpooling, ridesharing and taking advantage of the region’s public transit system as people continue transitioning back to commuting to work can also greatly impact the amount of ozone-forming emissions on any given day and improve lung health overall.

For more information and a host of additional tips for taking action to clear the air this summer, visit our website at www.cleanair-stlouis.com, like the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook or follow @gatewaycleanair on Twitter.

 

Spotlight On: Forest Park Forever

As we prepare to settle into summer when the importance of taking action to help keep the air clean is at an all-time high, we’re continuing to recognize local businesses and organizations that have gone to measurable lengths to reduce environmental impact through their participation in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge. Like the Clean Air Partnership, Forest Park Forever is proud to keep sustainability and conservation at the forefront of their work, and this month, we’re thrilled to shine a spotlight on the organization for their commitment to make clean air a priority throughout their business practices.

A private nonprofit conservancy, Forest Park Forever has spent the last 34 years working to restore, maintain and sustain Forest Park as one of the nation’s greatest urban public parks, in partnership with the City of St. Louis and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry. In the 2019 Challenge, Forest Park Forever received the Star Circle of Excellence Achievement Award and secured the second place title at the Leader Level – Owner Category for having the greatest gain from their baseline to final point totals.

From identifying strategic sustainability wins within restoration projects to encouraging today’s youth to connect to nature, Forest Park Forever considers this work vital to their mission and the future well-being of Forest Park and all green spaces. The organization has led major fundraising efforts to restore many landmark destinations in Forest Park, such as the Emerson Grand Basin, the Boathouse and the Jewel Box, including securing $139 million for Park restoration projects and an expanded endowment. Along with preservation of the park, they also provide information and guides for its 13 million annual visitors, as well as an array of educational opportunities for all ages.

Among Forest Park Forever’s impressive accomplishments to receive recognition in the Challenge is construction on the Forest Park East Waterways project, which is designed to enhance water quality, biodiversity, fishing habitat and access. Working with the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD), the project will remove thousands of gallons of water from the stormwater system. Late last year, Forest Park Forever also installed an 11,500-watt solar array to power the organization’s shop building. The new unit is expected to supply 40% of the building’s energy and yield about $1,200 in annual electrical savings!

Other noteworthy innovations include the construction of Forest Park’s new Nature Playscape, which is scheduled for completion later this year. The experiential Playscape will transform 17 acres of turf grass into family activity areas inspired by the region’s natural landscapes. Children will be able to explore eight natural activity areas including a meadow, spring, bottomlands and more. Adding hundreds of majority native trees and plants will help to improve the region’s air quality and reconnect families with nature, all while continuing Forest Park Forever’s work to restore sustainable landscapes.

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. For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by Forest Park Forever and how your company can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, subscribe to the bi-monthly E-Newsletter or visit www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com.

Keeping Lung Health Top of Mind as the Fight for Cleaner Air Presses On

Our lungs are always hard at work to keep us alive and well, but oftentimes we take them for granted. During the coming summer months, when weather conditions create a risk for higher ozone pollution levels and ozone-related health concerns, it is especially important to prioritize lung health by minimizing exposure to air pollution and taking action to reduce harmful emissions that contribute to the problem.

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, those who suffer from existing lung conditions and older adults are more at risk for severe disease than others. When it comes to poor air quality, those same individuals are also at risk, along with children who are more susceptible to air pollution as their lungs are still developing. Even though cities all across the nation have made noteworthy strides towards cleaning up the air, millions of Americans – including St. Louis residents – are living in communities impacted by unhealthy levels of pollution in the form of high ozone days, more particle pollution days and higher annual particle levels than ever before. According to the American Lung Association’s 2020 State of the Air report, 2.5 million children and 10.6 million adults with asthma live in counties that received an “F” grade for at least one pollutant. Likewise, more than 316,000 children and 1.4 million adults with asthma live in counties failing all three tests, meaning there is still much work to be done to protect local communities from the growing risks to public health.

With that in mind, there are a number of things individuals can do to promote lung health and minimize exposure to ozone and particle pollution. For starters, the Clean Air Partnership releases daily air quality forecasts to let residents know what the air quality will be during the prime of summer. Signing up to receive the color-coded forecast via email at www.cleanair-stlouis.com helps to ensure St. Louisans know what the next day’s air quality will be and if they should take precaution by altering their outdoor activities to avoid being exposed to polluted air. Avoiding exercising near high-traffic areas with excess pollution and avoiding working out outdoors when poor air quality is forecasted are also crucial steps for preserving lung health as heat can trigger an asthma attack or cause symptoms of COPD to flare up.

While weather conditions do play a significant role in our region’s daily air quality, transportation-related emissions have always been one of the biggest contributors to air pollution, and the choices people make on how to get around affects air quality and the health of the region. Actions like walking and biking instead of using a vehicle for short trips, combining errands into a single trip, not topping off your gas tank and avoiding vehicle idling can all greatly impact the amount of ozone-forming emissions generated on any given day.

For more information and a host of additional tips to clean the air so individuals all across St. Louis breathe easier this summer, visit our website, like the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook or follow @gatewaycleanair on Twitter.

 

Spotlight On: The Village of Glen Carbon

The St. Louis Green Business/Green Cities Challenge supports the integration of sustainability measures into the kinds of everyday operational practices common to every business and those unique to local governments. This month, the Clean Air Partnership is delighted to shine a spotlight on the great work underway by the Village of Glen Carbon, Illinois, to reduce their overall carbon footprint and keep the region’s air quality in healthy ranges.

With the motto of “Honoring our Past, Building our Future” guiding the village’s efforts to become more eco-friendly, Glen Carbon continues to pursue various strategies to be a more sustainable community and uphold their rich tradition of being a great place to live, work and play. In 2019, the village received the Award of Achievement in the Green Cities Challenge, where participants advance their green efforts by implementing a sustainability policy and practicing fundamentals, including addressing measures defined by OneSTL, the regional plan for sustainable development.

During the 2019 Challenge, Glen Carbon established a Community Garden next to Village Hall with eight raised beds for village residents, featuring pollinator gardens, wildflowers, vegetable gardens and more. Furthermore, the installation rain barrels at the Village Hall Municipal Building has helped to capture excess rainwater from the roof and conserve it for later use. The village also installed refillable water coolers for employees and staff at Village Hall and stopped purchasing single-use water bottles for board meetings to help cut back on pollution caused from plastic waste that ends up in landfills.

Additionally, Glen Carbon hosted two village-wide shredding events – one in spring and one in fall – to reduce environmental impact while protecting residents from identity theft. Because 100% of the shredded paper was recycled, these events prevented the paper from otherwise going into a landfill and allowed the recycled content to be turned into daily-use products like paper towels, kitchen towels, bath tissue, writing paper, egg cartons, lamp shades, shopping bags, and more.

Other exciting initiatives include a Plastic Straw Reduction Project that asks local restaurants to stop automatically handing out plastic straws and to only provide upon request, helping the environment one sip at a time. This voluntary program is supported by both the City of Edwardsville and Village of Glen Carbon. In terms of energy conservation, Glen Carbon budgeted funding for this year for an LED lighting upgrade to all village buildings. LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than traditional lighting such as fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, meaning that less energy use will result in decreased greenhouse gas emissions to help improve air quality within the town.

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. For more information about the ongoing sustainable efforts by the Village of Glen Carbon and how your municipality can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business/Green Cities Challenge, subscribe to the bi-monthly E-Newsletter or visit www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com.

Greening Your Memorial Day Weekend Cookout to Help Clear the Air

While Memorial Day weekend may have a different look this year with no big parades or neighborhood block parties due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, there are still ways to celebrate the holiday while sheltering in place and obeying social distancing guidelines. Breaking out the grill for a cookout at home is a fun and leisurely way to get outdoors and spend time with the family; however, grilling poses a unique set of environmental challenges and oftentimes comes with a hefty price tag for the environment.

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways area residents can take a greener approach to cooking outdoors by igniting a few changes to the way you grill and the kinds of products you buy. Commemorating Memorial Day in an eco-friendly manner is a great way to honor the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our country. With that in mind, here are a few tips to consider for reducing environmental impact this weekend to help improve the region’s air quality:

  • Opt for a gas grill – When it comes to the grill itself, you have options to reduce your carbon footprint. From an air pollution standpoint, natural gas and propane grills burn the cleanest in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter. They also leave behind less waste than charcoal or wood grills. If you must use a charcoal grill, avoid using petroleum-based lighter fluids and self-lighting charcoal that release petrochemicals into the atmosphere, and opt for an electric charcoal starter instead.

  • Avoid disposable dishes and utensils – When shopping for supplies, look for recyclable or compostable plates, cups and utensils rather than the kind that end up in the trash. Otherwise, instead of buying tableware for one-time use, opt for your favorite set of dishes for the cookout this year. While this may lead to a little extra time spent at the kitchen sink, this small change can help save you money in the long run and keep the air quality in healthy ranges.
  • Choose locally grown produce – Consider sourcing as many of your ingredients as possible locally to help reduce emissions produced by large transport trucks. The less your produce has to travel, the less waste is produced, and the smaller the impact on the environment. Since consumers can easily access local homegrown produce without having to leave their own community, many shoppers are also able to walk or bike to their local market instead of driving, which helps to minimize car use and cut down on emissions that lead to poor air quality.
  • Set up recycling containers – Even if you’ve closely followed these tips, you’ll still probably end up with items to recycle after your barbecue. You can do your part to keep waste at a minimum by putting out labeled bins for recycling. If your area doesn’t take mixed recycling, include a label for items that can go in the bin: glass only, cans only or paper only. If you compost, consider setting up covered bins for food scraps, charcoal ashes and other biodegradable items, too.

Take action for cleaner air by making sustainable choices this Memorial Day and continue to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle to help people all across St. Louis breathe easier every day, not just on special occasions. To learn more about the link between living greener and our air quality, visit our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

7th Annual Green Schools Quest Honors Champions for Sustainability in the St. Louis Region

The U.S. Green Building Council–Missouri Gateway Chapter (USGBC-MGC) announced on Friday the winners of its 2019–2020 Green Schools Quest. Like the Clean Air Partnership, the Green Schools Quest is focused on encouraging and inspiring voluntary steps to help improve the environment and air quality in the bi-state area, and we’re pleased to highlight its tremendous impact by recognizing the impressive accomplishments of this year’s winners and participating schools.

This innovative program challenges public and private school students at the pre-K, elementary, middle and high school levels within the St. Louis metropolitan area to devise and implement the most creative, effective and no or low-cost sustainable practices for their schools. With the help of Green Mentors, who are professionals with an interest or expertise in sustainability, participating schools formed a Green Team and had the opportunity to engage in projects fitting their schools’ unique needs and resources. Green Teams then documented their overall impact, such as energy and resource savings or increased biodiversity, and submitted their final project for judging by an impartial panel.

“The Green Schools Quest is a unique way to engage the K-12 schools and the future leaders of our region, and it’s also a great way to involve our members who are really passionate about sustainability and green building and the mission of the organization,” said Emily Andrews, executive director of the USGBC-MGC. “Having that connection has been a lot of fun and seeing what the students come up with is always the most rewarding as they work to create greener, healthier learning environments.”

For the 2019-2020 school year, 2,000 students representing 68 St. Louis-area schools worked on Green Schools Quest projects from October to March. Collectively, the projects implemented by this year’s participants positively impacted more than 45,000 students, faculty and community members. A national panel of judges selected the first, second and third-place winners in the elementary, middle and high school categories. Trophies and cash prizes of $600, $400 and $200 will go to the top three finishers in each category. Winners were also chosen by a local panel of judges for five spotlight awards and $100 cash prize, including Rookie of the Year, Sustainability Champion, Judges’ Choice, Innovation, and Focus of the Year.

In the elementary school category, Crestwood Elementary School in the Lindbergh School District received first place recognition for their project, A Green Wave of Change. With a focus on rolling out education in waves that will help the students, community and school make better choices, students created bulletin boards, PowerPoints and videos that were presented to every classroom and the district’s board of education members to engage them in a recycling program. Rogers Middle School in the Affton School District was awarded first place for their project, RMS Earthletes Make Long-Lasting Change, which established a daily use waste station in the cafeteria, banned single-use plastics being used and sold, and strengthened the existing single-stream recycling system throughout the school. Principia Upper School, located in Town and County, Mo., worked to support students as change agents by introducing them to the UN Sustainable Development Goals through their winning project, the Impact Challenge. The project culminated with an event showcasing the good work done by all and highlighting the top projects from each grade level.

Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, the USGBC-MGC had to cancel its Green Schools Quest awards ceremony, but to publicly recognize all 68 schools that participated, the organization has also created an assortment of video compilations to be released each day this week and remain available to view here.

For a full list of winners and to learn more about the Green Schools Quest and this year’s final projects, visit www.greenschoolsquest.org. To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, check out our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Spotlight On: Commerce Bank

As cities, businesses and individuals in the St. Louis metro area make strides toward becoming better stewards of our environment, the Clean Air Partnership continues to recognize those that are helping to take action for cleaner air in the region. This month, we are shining a spotlight on Commerce Bank for their green innovations, achievements and corporate responsibility to reduce environmental impact.

Commerce Bank is a proud participant of the St. Louis Green Business Challenge and received the Achievement Award in the Star Circle of Excellence and Award of Merit at the Leader Level – Owner Category in 2019. When it comes to keeping our planet healthy and clean, Commerce Bank aims to be as efficient as possible, measuring their consumption and waste each year to ensure the company remains mindful stewards of the Earth’s resources and encourages its customers, employees, suppliers and communities to do the same. The company’s Corporate Social Responsibility report from last year noted that their “Green Team” is focused on monitoring paper consumption, energy usage and green cleaning supplies usage in its offices, as well as brainstorming solutions and implementing change in the areas where they feel they can do better for the environment.

Last year alone, the company decreased its printer usage by 13%, which ultimately led to a 27% decrease in overall paper usage. After taking inventory last fall, the company also discovered that its list of unused office supplies resulted in over $11,000 in savings. While these impressive accomplishments saved Commerce Bank money, they also condensed the amount of supplies needed to be manufactured, reducing harmful emissions and preserving valuable resources.

To further reduce environmental impact, the company has been working to decrease energy consumption by making the switch to LED lighting. As a result, the new Commerce Connect Branch is operating with 100% LED lighting, all lighting on the 12th floor of its corporate headquarters has been updated to LED, and an additional 10 Commerce Bank branches have switched to LED signs, too. With the lifespan of LED bulbs lasting 25,000 hours compared to 1,200 hours for an incandescent bulb, these eco-friendly updates will allow Commerce Bank to significantly reduce their energy consumption in the offices and improve air quality.

At the company’s Vandeventer-Chouteau branch, Commerce Bank updated their Rainscapes Report to help reduce storm water runoff on the property and store it for future use. Additionally, electric vehicle charging stations were installed in the parking garages, making it possible for more employees to drive electric vehicles to work and do their share to reduce emissions from gas-powered engines.

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. For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by Commerce Bank and how your company can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, visit http://stlouisgreenchallenge.com/.