Creve Coeur is now officially on its way to seeing if it can become the second city in the state of Missouri to be designated as a Green Power Community. City officials and community business leaders formally kicked off a campaign Wednesday at Mercy Hospital St. Louis that was approved by the city council in December.
The goal is to be able to offset 3 percent of all energy usage (business, government and residential), or a total of 1,523 megawatt hours by April 2013 with renewable energy sources, either by using solar panels or purchasing Renewable Energy Credits.
Clayton became the first community to reach that benchmark in 2011.
Mercy Hospital St. Louis, The Koman Group and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center were saluted Wednesday for making commitments to the challenge, helping the city get to more than 600 megawatt hours so far.
"Our commitment will prevent more than 9 million pounds of carbon from entering the atmosphere this year," said Jeffrey Johnston, Mercy St. Louis Hospital CEO, equating the impact to taking two thirds of the cars in the hospital's Conway Road garage and parking them for a year. He also called the move "a drop in the bucket," compared to what else could be done.
Melanie Bernds, a spokeswoman for the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center said the Center's commitment would boost the Creve Coeur facilities use of renewable energy to 7 percent. Using the car analogy, Bernds said it would be like taking 133 cars off the road for an entire year.
The Koman Group was not represented at Wednesday's event, but a spokeswoman for a public relations agency involved in the effort said the real estate firm had pledged to offsetting 1,236,000 kWh of electricity each year with wind energy, saving 1.8 million lbs. of CO2. In car terms, it equates to 166 gas powered-cars.
Organizers of the challenge will be handing out green power ribbons to residents who get on board with the project and hanging posters in participating businesses. Creve Coeur Mayor Barry Glantz noted that the city was the first in the St. Louis region to set out and to take an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of reducing them 20 percent by the year 2015.
Clayton became the first Missouri community to reach EPA Green Power Community status when it did so in 2011.