Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), will present Soldiers Memorial Military Museum with the prestigious LEED green building certification during a ceremony at Soldiers Memorial on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, at 3:30 pm. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, developed by USGBC, is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. The Missouri Historical Society, which operates Soldiers Memorial and led the multi-year, $30 million renovation of the building, was first notified the project would receive LEED Gold on February 8, 2019.
“Soldiers Memorial’s LEED certification is a tremendous example of green building leadership,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC. “LEED was created to make the world a better place, revolutionize our buildings and create spaces that help improve our own living standard. Soldiers Memorial serves as a prime example of how green building strategies can be applied to existing buildings and used to elevate and protect historical buildings while ensuring they meet today’s performance standards.”
During his visit to St. Louis, Ramanujam will also recognize the Gateway Arch, which earned LEED Gold certification for its newly renovated Visitor Center and Museum.
“We are excited to celebrate these two iconic and historic St. Louis buildings, that are now also green and healthy buildings,” said Emily Andrews, executive director of the Missouri Gateway Chapter of the USGBC.
“It’s very rare for two museums within the same region to obtain LEED Gold at the same time,” said Angela Moore, Facilities and Sustainability Coordinator for the Missouri Historical Society. “We’re honored USGBC president and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam chose to personally present LEED plaques to Soldiers Memorial Military Museum and the Gateway Arch Visitor Center and Museum. It’s wonderful to see St. Louis’ sustainable building projects being recognized at an international level.”
Meeting the rigorous standards for LEED certification is a difficult task to achieve when it comes to renovating historic structures. Originally completed in 1938, Soldiers Memorial Military Museum reopened in November 2018 following a multi-year, $30 million renovation led by the Missouri Historical Society (MHS). With the help of Mackey Mitchell Architects and BSI Constructors, MHS worked to address all LEED categories including:
The Missouri Historical Society renovated the Court of Honor at Soldiers Memorial by developing an outdoor space that encourages community connection and engagement. Updates to the Court of Honor were designed to encourage visitors and pedestrians to spend as much time outside Soldiers Memorial as they would inside. The renovations took into account alternative means of transportation and included a new electric charging station for electric vehicles. The use of a white roof reduces the heat island effect, which helps to minimize the effects of greenhouse gases.
MHS optimized Soldiers Memorial’s energy performance by installing an energy efficient HVAC system. Staff continue to benchmark energy usage so the Missouri Historical Society can continue to optimize its operations. all of the original light fixtures were restored and retrofitted for use with LED bulbs.
Materials & Resources
MHS reused materials whenever possible, including granite steps, marble walls, and the original Vitrolite panels in the public restrooms. When it was not feasible to reuse materials, MHS purchased materials that had been recycled, sourced locally, and/or were from a certified responsible source. Construction waste was treated responsibly. Materials were recycled and a local hauler was used to dispose of waste generated.
Indoor Environmental Quality
A priority in the St. Louis region is indoor air quality. MHS addressed this priority by using environmentally responsible materials and effective use of operational equipment. Low emitting materials were used during construction and for permanent features within Soldiers Memorial.
“We are so pleased to have maintained the architectural and historic integrity of Soldiers Memorial while also creating a sustainable and energy-efficient 21st –century museum for the public to enjoy for generations to come,” said Karen Goering, managing director of administration and operations for the Missouri Historical Society and project manager of the revitalization. “We can’t preserve the past without securing our present. The Missouri Historical Society looks forward to continuing our sustainability efforts in the years to come.