Spotlight On: Ameren Missouri

The Ameren name may be top of mind as we give thanks for air conditioning during the lingering heat of summer, but you might also be interested to learn about their outstanding commitment to keep pace with future energy needs and bringing renewable energy to the region.

Ameren Missouri is part of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation and has provided electric and gas service for more than 100 years.  As a company that is proud to serve, support and invest in the communities they call home, 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.

As a proud participant of the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, Ameren Missouri earned the Achievement Award in the Star Circle of Excellence and the first place title at the Champion Level in 2019. To achieve the title of Challenge Champion, businesses must have completed work with the Leader scorecard in past years and commit to continued implementation of deeper sustainability strategies, such completing a greenhouse gas inventory, reducing energy use by at least 25% and striving towards a 75% or greater waste diversion rate.

Through partnerships with various non-profits, schools and institutions, Ameren has spread solar power generation across the state of Missouri. As part of the Neighborhood Solar Program, the company has committed to installing solar generation facilities in available open spaces at no cost to their partners. For customers who want to take part in solar generation without installing equipment at their own home, Ameren is offering a simple solution to serve customers clean, renewable energy through the Ameren Missouri Lambert Community Solar Center, which is the first of its kind in the Community Solar program. Their effort to promote renewable energy doesn’t stop there, as Ameren Missouri recently launched a new program to bring electric vehicle charging stations along state highways, expecting to open 11 new charging stations by the end of the year.

Among Ameren Missouri’s impressive accomplishments to receive recognition in the 2019 Challenge is the establishment of an official biodiversity policy to aid in conserving natural habitat and native species in the regions they serve. Under this policy, the company strives to reduce, minimize or avoid impacts on biodiversity as they develop infrastructure and conduct operations, which is also beneficial to our air quality! Furthermore, Ameren’s Climate Risk Report – Building a Cleaner Energy Future takes a comprehensive look at the steps the company is taking to meet its obligation to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy in an environmentally responsible manner to its customers and communities they serve while effectively balancing climate-related risks.

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 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: Granite City

With the region continuing to experience sizzling summer temperatures and the importance of keeping the region’s air clean at an all-time high, the Clean Air Partnership is showing appreciation for local organizations and municipalities that are stepping up for the environment and the region’s air quality in a big way. This month, we are pleased to shine a spotlight on Granite City, Ill., for their ongoing sustainable efforts and tremendous work to reduce their carbon footprint.

Founded in 1896 and known for its rich and varied history, Granite City has become a prime location for industrial growth due to its central location and access to the Mississippi River. As a proud participant of the Green Cities Challenge, a program providing local municipalities with the opportunity to learn how to incorporate sustainable policies and practice sustainable fundamentals within their local government business operations, the city continues to build a more sustainable community, both now and for future generations. It’s all part of their effort to achieve the goals set forth by their Sustainability Plan.

Among Granite City’s impressive accomplishments to receive recognition in the 2019 Challenge is hosting two Grow Solar Metro-East power hours, which informed property and small business owners throughout Madison, St. Clair and Monroe Counties about solar power opportunities and how to pool their buying to secure discounts for solar technology in an effort to Solarize the Metro East.

Furthermore, the city conducted a greenhouse gas inventory and installed LED lights at City Hall, the police station, three fire stations and the Port Authority District to do their share for cleaner air by reducing harmful emissions. LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, with around 95% of the energy converted into light, wasting only 5% of energy in the form of heat.

Additionally, the city converted its Ozone Garden into a Native Pollinator Garden, designating it as a Monarch Waystation to create educational outreach programs and add to the current native plantings. The city also received a grant through the Heartlands Conservancy to identify and evaluate existing trees in selected areas and provide recommendations for new plantings to help keep the air clean.

Communication with area residents played an important part in Granite City’s journey to sustainability. Through a “Listen, Lead, Share” event hosted by the city, local residents were able to share their thoughts and views on improving the quality of life for community members as ambassadors of sustainability and offer legislators ideas for shaping Illinois policies on Clean Energy Jobs. In order to better communicate the city’s green initiatives to members of the community, the Cool Cities Committee also revamped its website, providing quick and easy access to various resources promoting clean energy solutions within Granite City and the surrounding area, as well as sustainable alternatives that benefit the environment.

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 Granite City 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

Turn the Key on Vehicle Idling for a Healthier School Environment

While many students across the region will experience virtual learning this fall due to concerns related to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, thousands of area schoolchildren are back in the classroom or soon will be. Though the start of the upcoming school year comes with many unanswered questions, one thing we know for certain is that idling engines are one of the main contributors to air pollution, with schools across the nation being identified as hot spots for unhealthy air.

Each year, idling engines produce thousands of tons of toxic pollution, including nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds that are found in vehicle exhaust and contribute to the formation of ozone smog and particulate matter. Monitoring at schools has shown elevated levels of benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and other harmful air toxins during the early morning and late afternoon hours, coinciding with parents picking up and dropping off their children. Therefore, it’s especially important to remember to avoid vehicle idling in school zones as children with developing lungs are more susceptible to air pollution, which poses a greater risk for acquiring asthma, respiratory problems and other adverse health effects.

You might also be surprised to learn that:

  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, eliminating personal vehicle idling would be equivalent to taking 5 million vehicles off the road.
  • Idling for longer than 10 seconds uses more fuel than restarting your engine.
  • Two minutes of idling uses that same amount of fuel as driving one mile.
  • Every gallon of gas wasted produces over 20 pounds of air pollution.
  • Idling vehicles emit 20 times more pollution than a car traveling at 30 mph.
  • Many buildings have fresh air intake systems to pull outdoor air into the indoor environment. If vehicles are idling alongside or near the building, indoor air can become polluted with exhaust.

In an effort to curb the amount of vehicle idling in the St. Louis metropolitan region, the Clean Air Partnership’s “Turn Your Key, Be Idle-Free” campaign helps encourage area businesses, schools, governmental entities and other organizations to implement No Idling Policies and post No Idling signs, demonstrating their continued commitment to helping our community “Be Idle-Free.” The Partnership also provides customized bookmarks and rack cards at no charge for organizations to put on display for informational purposes.

If you represent a business, government entity, school or other organization, consider engaging your constituents in making the pledge to “Turn Your Key and Be Idle-Free” by placing no-idling signs in your parking lots, near bus and carpool lanes, passenger drop-off lanes, delivery areas or any other location where idling is an issue. By working together, we can help eliminate unnecessary idling to improve overall lung health in the region!

To request a no-idling sign, contact Susannah Fuchs of the Clean Air Partnership at 314-449-9149, or via email at [email protected]. For more information on other anti-idling initiatives and additional steps you can take to do your share for cleaner air, visit our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @gatewaycleanair.

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