By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

Nonprofit groups have established resource centers in St. Louis and the Kansas City metro to help building owners upgrade properties as advocates press cities to adopt more stringent energy efficiency standards.

Energy efficiency advocates in Missouri’s two largest cities have launched new efforts to help building owners comply with the more demanding building efficiency standards that are gradually taking hold across the country.

In St. Louis, where the City Council passed a building energy performance standard in spring 2020, the local chapter of the Green Building Council won financial support from the Institute for Market Transformation and Ameren, the local utility, and hired an executive director to run a new building energy exchange hub. She began work a few weeks ago.

In the Kansas City region, although no community has adopted the building performance standards, an energy exchange executive director began working in April. After the group Climate Action KC drafted a regional climate plan, “people turned around and said, ‘How are we going to implement this?’” said Ashley Sadowski, the new executive director. Having learned that buildings account for 63% of the region’s carbon emissions, the climate group decided to pursue a building hub.

Building hubs, comprised usually of one or a few staff members working under the auspices of an energy or broader environmental not-for-profit, typically are tasked with advancing building efficiency by connecting building owners and managers with contractors, education and financing avenues.

Although hubs have been around for several years, the Institute for Market Transformation has given them a new spin. As the changing climate has gained traction and urgency, the institute has been pressing cities to adopt more stringent building standards. To help owners meet those standards, it has provided guidance and funds from the Leon Lowenstein Foundation to foster the creation of building hubs.

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