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 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 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 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, like the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook or follow @gatewaycleanair on Twitter.