The Missouri Historical Society has announced that two of its three locations have been awarded LEED Silver. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the most widely used green building rating system in the world and an international symbol of excellence. The Missouri History Museum and the MHS Library & Research Center are the only museum and library to be publicly recognized as a LEED v4.1 O+M certified project in the City of St. Louis and the State of Missouri. The Missouri Historical Society’s third location, Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, was awarded LEED GOLD in 2019. LEED certification ensures electricity cost savings, lower carbon emissions, and healthier environments where people live, work, learn, play and worship.
“Transforming our buildings and spaces happens one project at a time. The Missouri Historical Society understands the value of LEED and has shown extraordinary leadership in reshaping the market,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “The success of LEED is due to the partnership and support of those committed to advancing green building and sustainability. Each new LEED certification brings us one step closer to revolutionizing the spaces where we live, learn, work and play.”
LEED projects earn points by adhering to prerequisites and credits across nine measurements for building excellence from integrative design to human health to material use. The LEED rating systems work for all buildings at all phases of development and are meant to challenge project teams and inspire outside-the-box solutions.
Meeting the rigorous standards for LEED certification is a difficult task to achieve when it comes to historic structures. The LEED green building rating system has gone through several evolutions since it was originally introduced in 1998. Its current version, LEED v4.1, is the most robust, flexible and transparent rating system ever.
To achieve LEED certification for the Missouri History Museum and the Library & Research center the Missouri Historical Society implemented performance strategies and measurements in the following categories of LEED v4.1 Operations & Maintenance: Existing Buildings:
- Location & Transportation: To reduce pollution while traveling to and from the Missouri Historical Society’s three locations, a transportation survey was conducted to analyze transportation patterns to and from the sites. One of the strategies used to reduce pollution from transit is participation in a guaranteed ride home program for staff with the use of alternative transportation to and from MHS sites.
- Water Efficiency: The Missouri Historical Society measured water performance at the Missouri History Museum and the Library & Research Center through metering and sub-metering, which provided a measurable outcome of water usage to obtain a performance measure that allows maintenance or improvements of water conservation efforts.
- Energy and Atmosphere: From 2016 to 2020, the Missouri Historical Society implemented extensive energy conservation efforts which included an energy audit and implementing the suggested facilities improvement measures identified by the audit. An energy score was benchmarked for both sites. A high energy performance score indicated that additional strategies within the energy and atmosphere category weren’t needed.
- Materials and Resources: In an effort to reduce environmental harm, the Missouri Historical Society implemented an environmentally preferable purchasing policy, a facility maintenance, and renovation policy, and conducted waste audits.
- Indoor Environmental Quality: To ensure that all visitors and staff benefit from high air quality, the air quality was tested at various times of the day and week at both the Missouri History Museum and the MHS Library & Research Center. The Missouri Historical Society enforces its smoke-free policy, green cleaning policies were created and implemented within the housekeeping department, and use of an integrated pest management policy were implemented to maintain optimal air quality at both locations.
LEED certification is proof that buildings are going above and beyond to ensure the space is constructed and operated to the highest level of sustainability.