Webster University Earns Highest Score in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge

Dec. 12, 2013

Webster University Earns Highest Score in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge

ST. LOUIS - Webster University was presented the Award of Merit in the Owner category for Greatest Gain and overall highest point total among the 80 participating businesses in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge Awards Ceremony, held Tuesday morning.

The award was presented to President Elizabeth “Beth” Stroble and Webster Sustainability Coordinator Brad Wolaver by the St. Louis Regional Chamber and the EarthWays Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden. This is only the second year that Webster University has submitted an entry in the annual challenge.

“It was truly an honor for our university community to be recognized for the many efforts made to become better stewards of the environment,” President Stroble said. “Our Sustainability Coalition has provided leadership for advocating and implementing changes at all of our locations, and this award reflects the enthusiasm with which our students, faculty and staff have adopted the culture of sustainability and, in many cases, exceeded all expectations.”

"Our second year of participating in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge has been marked by significant progress made in integrating our sustainability operations into the everyday culture and planning across the campus and community,” Wolaver said. “We benefited from the resources, participating businesses and access to experts that have aided us in advancing our sustainability plans.”

The St. Louis Green Business Challenge assists member-companies and organizations in adopting sustainable business practices that help grow the region's green economy, reduce environmental impact and improve bottom lines.  Sustainability teams work through a scorecard of strategies to reduce energy, waste and water consumption, engage employees, improve indoor environmental quality, expand clean transportation options, increase biodiversity, and improve the built environment.

“Advancing sustainability and growing the region’s green economy help achieve the Chamber’s purpose of St. Louis to be one of the top 10 U.S. regions in prosperity,” said Eric Schneider, senior director of policy development at the St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce. “With our St. Louis Green Business Challenge Awards, we are proud to recognize these green leaders in our community who make St. Louis a more attractive place to live, work and invest.”

Significant accomplishments achieved by Webster University this year include receiving LEED Gold certification for East Academic Building, the first new academic building on the Webster Groves campus since 1998, and the first LEED Gold certified building in Webster Groves. The LEED Green Building Rating System is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. The program was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. Certification levels are no-color, silver, gold and platinum.

The East Academic Building previously was recognized for numerous sustainability features, including The Anheuser-Busch Foundation Native Plant Rain Garden, which was awarded "best in category" by the St. Louis chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects to garden designers, SWT Design.

Commonly known as the “Natural Area,” the pond behind the parking garage also demonstrates Webster University’s sustainability efforts. Students, faculty, and staff are using green infrastructure on campus to create a series of diverse, terrestrial and aquatic habitats that can benefit from storm water runoff while offering an educational, research, and recreational natural space to enjoy. The Missouri Department of Conservation awarded the university the Community Stewardship Grant in recognition of Webster’s sustainability efforts and to support the development of habitats and outreach efforts for the Natural Area.

Close up photo of the award

Webster University took a significant step this summer when it retrofitted the gymnasium with all LED fixtures. This upgrade, in partnership with Ameren, Lighting Associates, and Bell Electric, resulted in a 60 percent energy savings, increased lighting levels for athletic competitions, and provided much needed lighting controls. Ameren, St. Louis Public Schools, and other organizations have visited to see one of the first LED installations in a university gym in the St. Louis area.

St. Louis area Webster University students, faculty, and staff may also take advantage of St. Louis’ growing alternative transportation options. The Webster University UPass allows all members of the Webster University community to ride both the Metrobus and Metrolink for free. It’s part of the University’s commitment to making transportation more accessible, affordable, and sustainable.

In past years, Webster has installed solar-powered recycling compactors and instituted a comprehensive recycling program that includes recycling baskets in every office, in building hallways, and through a waste diversion program that removes further recyclable materials from waste such as electronics and organic compostable.

Webster University, also hosted two important regional events since 2011; the Annual Global Sustainability Conference and the Annual Sustainability Institute for kindergarten through 12th grade educators. These efforts have a combined reach of more than 1,500 educators, professionals, and students throughout the region. Next year, Webster University will host the "Critical Conversations on Sustainability" conference, with the theme of energy. This event will promote innovative thinking about sustainability by fostering critical discourse and respectful conversations representing a variety of viewpoints. The keynote speaker is Sandra Steingraber, an anti-fracking leader and renowned ecologist. To learn more about Webster University’s conference and other sustainability initiatives, visit http://www.webster.edu/sustainability.

The 80 participating businesses in this year’s challenge included Ameren, Tarlton, Novus, SWT Design, Microgrid Solar, Lambert St. Louis Airport, Washington University in St. Louis, and others. For more information about the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, visit http://www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com, or read their story about the event at https://shop.stlregionalchamber.com/SBAWEB/forms/ONE/index.html

With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University (www.webster.edu) is the only Tier 1, private, non-profit U.S.-based university providing a network of international residential campuses and a robust online learning program. Founded in 1915, Webster University’s campus network today includes metropolitan, military and corporate locations around the world, as well as traditional campuses in Asia, Europe, North America, and Africa. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.