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CRETE House Makes The Argument For Energy-Efficient Concrete

in News

Concrete is the most widely used construction material in the world. Billions of tons are produced annually.

But for the 2017 Solar Decathlon, “we wanted to demonstrate a new approach,” said Dylan Weber Callahan, a master’s candidate in both architecture and construction management at Washington University in St. Louis. “We wanted to show that concrete could be used in more sustainable ways.”

Over the last two years, more than 100 students from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (InCEES) have worked with industry partners to design, fabricate and now finally construct CRETE House.

The solar-powered, 995-square-foot residence — which currently is being assembled on the university’s North Campus — is built almost entirely from pre-cast concrete. Water coils embedded within the floors and ceiling, rather than a traditional HVAC system, provide heating and cooling. Large gutters foster shade and direct run-off to a hydroponic garden capable of feeding residents for much of the year.

Ethan Miller, one of two student construction managers for CRETE House the Team WashU entry in the 2017 Solar Decathlon competition. (Photo: Clark Bowen/Washington University)

“Concrete is extremely durable, so we have a very resilient house,” said Ethan Miller, likewise a master’s candidate in architecture and construction management. “We also took into account, in the steel connections, seismic forces, so that this house will not only be able to withstand tornados and hurricanes, but also earthquakes.”

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the biennial Solar Decathlon challenges university teams from around the world to design and build full-size, energy-efficient houses. This year’s competition will take place Oct. 5-15 in Denver.

Students will spend the next several weeks at North Campus, completing initial assembly and testing and refining systems. In September, they’ll take the house back apart, drive the components to Denver and reassemble the house on site.  After the competition, CRETE House will be permanently installed at the university’s Tyson Research Center as a residence for visiting scientists.

“Concrete is typically used on larger commercial projects,” Callahan concluded. Yet the material’s durability, thermal properties and ubiquity could also hold the key to making residential construction more sustainable.

“We wanted to create a catalyst for how concrete might be used more efficiently in the future.”

For more information about Solar Decathlon, visit or follow Team WashU on Facebook and Twitter.

Faculty advisors
Hongxi Yin, InCEES, Sam Fox School
Pablo Moyano, Sam Fox School
Ryan Abendroth, Sam Fox School
Tim Michels, Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering
Chenyang Lu, Engineering & Applied Science
Steve Bannes, construction management

Industry sponsors
Architectural Design Guild
Ben Hur Construction
BFW Contractors
Bon Appetit
Chicago Contractor’s Supply
Continental Cement
Dukane Precast Inc.
Eisen Group
EnCon Design
Energy Resources Group
Enterprise Precast Concrete
Frieze & Associates
Gate Precast
Gibbons Crane Rental
Hard Rock Concrete Cutters
Icon Mechanical
Lombard Architectural Precast Products Company
McMillan Cabinetmakers
Metro Lighting
PCI Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute
PCI Foundation
Peak Building Products, LLC
Pitzman’s Co.
Rocky Mountain Prestress
Sika Corporation
St. Louis Prestress
St. Mary’s Cement
Sumiden Wire Products Corporation
Tarlton Corporation
Texas Design Concepts, Inc.
The Portland Cement Association
The Unico System
U.S. Formliner
Votorantim Cimentos
Wieser Concrete
Winco Windows

Synergy Group Receives Construction Marketing Association’s STAR Award

in Companies/News

Synergy Group recently was recognized by the Construction Marketing Association (CMA) annual STAR Awards for marketing excellence in the construction industry. Synergy Group was awarded the CMA STAR Award for Brand Identity for a new logo they designed for Integrated Facility Services (IFS).

Synergy Group created a complete rebranding for Integrated Facility Services (IFS), a full-service HVAC, plumbing, fire-protection, and building automation firm that was consolidating four companies. The marketing agency led a fast-track rebranding campaign (less than three months) including strategic planning, new logo, corporate materials, new website, publicity, and employee and client communications.

To capitalize on existing brand equity, Synergy Group stylized an icon from the company’s previous logo, with four sections to represent the focus areas of the newly consolidated organization.

“Synergy Group designed a clear and structured plan for our re-branding, which led to a cohesive and successful effort,” said Arthur Bottorff, Sales & Marketing Manager for IFS. “The rebranding supports our operations and business development goals.”

The CMA STAR Awards showcase the very best in construction marketing effectiveness and creative execution, according to CMA Chairman Neil M. Brown.

Synergy Group is a single-source marketing communications firm that develops marketing strategies, improves branding, gains exposure and implements marketing campaigns to support business development for corporate, government and not-for-profit clients. 

B.O.S.S. Event – Is Your Business Protected?

in Associations/News

Four Government Agencies are Targeting Your Business – You Need to Know!

As of 2017, there were 40% more enforcement officers than in 2016.  They have changed from being guardians of safety and equality to compliance police dedicated to revenue generation for the government.

  • Do you know if you are protected?
  • Do you know how easy it is to be audited?
  • Do you know what your rights are if they come knocking?

Every kind of company in every industry is a target!  In our next B.O.S.S. event we will cover the top 4 things you can do TODAY to protect yourself, your employees, and your business.

  1. ICE – How to protect your operation from the latest ICE crackdowns after they ramped up their enforcement staff by 3X.
  2. OSHA – How to identify the TRUE cost and risk of injuries in your work place.
  3. DOL – Let’s understand the Wage and Hour issues, plus the new laws and restrictions. Find out what they haven’t told you yet.
  4. EEOC – How to uncover your risks as much as you can – but you’re never truly protected.

We encourage you to join us and other business leaders for this important topic.  All business owners are welcome – feel free to extend this invitation to others you care about.

Register Now

Wednesday, October 18th

Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) West

7:30 am to 9:00 am

Andrew Caruso of TriNet has been in the Professional Employer Industry for more than 10 years.  He holds a PHR certification from SHRM as well as a MLE certification from Harvard Square. Currently he is the Midwest Director of Sales for TriNet.

Rebecca Finch of TriNet has been with TriNet 3 years and in business development and sales leadership, working with C-level executives and business owners throughout a number of industries for more than 30 years. Both Andrew and Rebecca work with business owners to help them manage and reduce their risk in many areas, including their exposure when it comes to compliance and regulations.

Tri-Net works with over 14,000 clients nationwide, helping them manage risk, reduce and contain costs, and increase productivity.

Arcturis Receives National Recognition from AIA

in Companies/Homepage Primary/News

Arcturis, celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, has received recognition from the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as part of the 2017 AIA annual awards.

Arcturis received an AIA Distinguished Award for the St. Louis Science Center’s GROW Pavilion. Inspired by the simple elegance of typical farm structures and evoking the profile of a plow or scythe the Agriculture Pavilion is envisioned as a graceful curvilinear structure opening to and connecting with the surrounding outdoor exhibitions where visitors can study about food production from farm to fork.

Arcturis also received an AIA Distinguished Award for their Service Center project. The design embraces a minimalist aesthetic that celebrates the utilitarian nature of the program and elevates the user experience through transparency, access to natural light and connections to the outdoors.

Design & Construction Technology Conference

in Associations/News

Discover Leading Technology Plan now to attend for inspiring presentations, hands on labs and networking opportunities.. Design & Construction Technology Conference 7th Annual Design & Construction Technology Conference Friday, November 2, 2017 Orlando’s Event & Conference Center 2050 Dorsett Village Maryland Heights, MO.

Hosted by Inspiring Presentations   Focus on current and emerging technology related to design and construction Hands on Labs   Get hands on experience taught by AEC professionals.

Meet with other professionals and leaders in the AEC industry   Sponsorship opportunities are available.  Contact us to showcase your products:

St Louis Council of Construction Consumers

180 Weidman Road, Suite 127

Manchester, MO 63021

EDM Awarded 5-Year IDIQ Contract With NGA

in Companies/News

EDM Incorporated was awarded a 5-Year IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity) Contract with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. This is the third 5-Year IDIQ NGA Contract awarded to EDM.

About EDM Incorporated

Headquartered in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, EDM Incorporated is a 44year old full-service engineering firm providing civil, structural, and mechanical/ electrical/plumbing engineering to private sector clients throughout the Midwest, as well as local, state and federal governments. EDM is a mid-sized firm that employs approximately 30 employees, of which are 15 licensed professionals.

EDM also has affiliate offices in Collinsville, IL and St. Charles, MO

North Hanley Metro Market on Oct. 11th – Free Event

in Associations/News

Citizens for Modern Transit and AARP in St. Louis to Host Free, Pop-Up Metro Market at the North Hanley MetroLink Station on Oct. 11

Residents will be Encouraged to Provide Feedback on What They Would Like to See at the Site

Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT) and AARP in St. Louis have announced plans to host a pop-up Metro Market on Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the North Hanley MetroLink Station (4398 Hanley Road, 63134). The event will temporarily transform a portion of the expansive parking lot into an active space that connects people to products, services and green spaces; showcasing how areas around transit stations can become focal points for activity. This event is free, and community members of all ages are encouraged to attend.

Last year, CMT, AARP and community stakeholders completed walk audits of three key MetroLink stations, including the one at North Hanley. Short and long-term recommendations for improving the functionality of the stations were identified, as well as means for making them safer and more vibrant destinations. An action plan is currently being executed, and a series of improvements have been completed with others currently underway. The next step is to give stakeholders, riders and the general public a peek at what is possible by way of the pop-up Metro Market on Oct. 11. A main area of focus for organizers is getting community feedback.

“This event is designed to give community members a sneak peek at what the area around this MetroLink station could look like,” commented Kim Cella, executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit. “But, it doesn’t stop there. We want it to serve as catalyst for obtaining community input. We want to find out what matters to local residents, determine what they want to see come to life. And, we are going to have a number of creative means for allowing them to do so.”

The St. Louis County Department of Planning will be facilitating an activity that allows residents to help create an oversized, three dimensional, Monopoly game board-type model illustrating what they would like to see onsite. There will be a video-taped, Self-Expression Stop that enables those interested to share their vision for the area through poetry, rapping, dancing or a monolog. Chalk and an oversized banner will also be made available for those interested in drawing or writing down their thoughts. For inspiration, several murals – created by Brock Seals, a local artist and student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis – will be on display.
The event will also feature the “2 Girls, 4 Wheels” and “STL Kettle Corn” food trucks, Tai Chi mini-sessions, educational resources on how to build a healthy plate from the St. Louis County Department of Health, live music from WFUN 95.5 FM R&B Old School, a St. Louis County Police Department recruiting station, the opportunity to meet and interact with adoptable animal through the St. Louis County Animal Shelter, a cooking demonstration, free apples, an appearance by MoDOT’s Barrel Bob and information from the Central County Precinct Neighborhood Policing Unit.

The brand new onsite Link Market (LINK) will also be open for business providing access to healthy, affordable food options that can be purchased through any form of payment, including EBT and the EBT DoubleBucks programs. Plus, area residents will be able to learn more about the new community library box being considered for this site. This free, onsite “library,” offered by the St. Louis Promise Zone in partnership with the St. Louis County Library’s Recycled Reads program, gives surplus library materials another life by circulating them throughout the community. No library card is required to borrow the materials, and there are no fines or due dates. Individuals are asked to return the items whenever they’re finished. A total of 10 Promise Zone Community Libraries are set to be installed this year as a means to increase literacy in North St. Louis County.

“We are bringing the concept of space activation to life so people of all ages will be better able to visualize the potential that exists to create safer, more livable communities around transit stations,” added Sheila Holm, community outreach director for AARP St. Louis. “We are also hoping it will prompt those in attendance to share their thoughts on the experience and the types of enhancements they would like to see.”

The pop-up Metro Market is being made possible thanks to funding received through the AARP Community Challenge Grant program, which invested $780,000 in 89 different community projects nationwide  to help create change and improve the quality of life for people of all ages. Other event partners include the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the St. Louis County Department of Planning, the St. Louis County Department of Health, the Missouri Department of Transportation, St. Louis County Police, Bi-State Development/Metro Transit, Theis Farm and Greenhouses and the ATU Local 788.

To learn more, call Citizens for Modern Transit at (314) 231-7272, visit<>, or search for the event on Facebook and other social channels using #GrowingwithTransit.

Citizens for Modern Transit is a nonprofit, member supported organization that leads efforts for an integrated, affordable, and convenient public transportation system with light rail expansion as the critical component that will drive economic growth to improve quality of life in the St. Louis region.

AARP St. Louis is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 300,000 members, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families.


Electrical Connection Donates Services to Rebuild Electrical Systems in Home for Disabled Mother

in Associations/News

Debbie Augustine thought she was on the threshold of stabilizing her life after recovering from a coma and a serious illness.  The 47-year-old mother bought a home next door to her parents’ house on Mitchell Avenue in St. Louis only to find it had serious electrical issues that would cost $4,800 to repair.

“My daughter and I had been through so much and it finally looked like we going to have a home of our own,” said Augustine.  “But the electrical issues were overwhelming, creating unsafe living conditions.  I had limited resources to buy the home and nothing left for the needed repairs.”

After buying the home in the 6900 block of Mitchell and learning of its electrical issues, Augustine met Jim Curran, executive vice president of the Electrical Connection, a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).  Curran detailed Augustine’s plight to the Electrical Connection board and within days the IBEW/NECA partnership agreed to pay for the electrical repairs.

“The Electrical Connection is such a blessing in my life,” said Augustine.  “IBEW/NECA rebuilt my electrical systems ensuring my daughter and I can live safely in our new home.”

Augustine’s medical issues began two years ago when she suffered a cardiopulmonary illness that put her in a coma for seven days.  Forced onto disability, Augustine and her daughter, Dakota, moved in with her parents who lived on Mitchell Ave. in St. Louis.  “I was grateful, but for my parents, myself and my daughter it was cramped quarters,” said Augustine.

Augustine said she thought her prayers were answered when the home next door went up for sale.  But after purchasing it, she learned it had significant issues with the electrical service into to the home, including improper wiring, a rusted out circuit panel, overloaded circuits, lighting and junction boxes in need of repair.

“I thought it was a dream come true, but it took the Electrical Connection to make that happen,” said Augustine.  NECA contractor Northwest Electric Co., Inc. teamed with IBEW to make the repairs on August 4, 2017.

This is not the first time the Electrical Connection has responded to a community need. For 14 years, the IBEW/NECA partnership has supported Rebuilding Together St. Louis.   Since 2003, the partnership has donated labor and more than $825,000 in materials to improve more than 485 homes for low-income, disabled and elderly St. Louisans.  It also supports Habitat for Humanity St. Louis in building new homes.

Members of the Electrical Connection provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  Find a contractor near you in the Electrical Connection contractor database.

Photos Above: 

Stecher-Brautigam Working – Left to right, IBEW Local 1 journey workers Kevin Stecher and Kevin Brautigam work to install a safer electrical service entrance in Debbie Augustine’s home. 

Augustine-Curran Pointing – Left to right, Debbie Augustine looks on as Jim Curran, executive vice president of the Electrical Connection, points to one of the many electrical hazards in need of repair at her home.

Kevin Stecher Mast Prep – IBEW Local 1’s Kevin Stecher works on installing a new masthead for safe electrical service to Debbie Augustine’s home.

Ameren Missouri Plans Major Expansion of Wind, Solar Generation to Serve Customers

in Companies/News

Company also Establishes Goal to Cut Carbon Emissions by 80 Percent

Ameren Missouri announced today a forward-thinking plan to dramatically increase the amount of wind and solar generation to provide cost-effective and sustainable energy for its customers.

Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE), plans to add at least 700 megawatts of wind generation by 2020, representing an investment of approximately $1 billion. The potential exists to add even more wind generation in the coming years as a result of improving technology and economics, as well as renewable energy initiatives with large customers.

The company also plans to add 100 megawatts of solar generation over the next 10 years, with 50 megawatts expected to come online by 2025.

“This is Ameren Missouri’s largest-ever commitment to clean, renewable energy,” said Michael Moehn, president of Ameren Missouri. “We are committed to bringing our customers innovative solutions that are both cost-effective and environmentally responsible while maintaining the reliability our customers expect.”

Wind Generation

The new wind generation is expected to be located in Missouri and neighboring states using American-made turbines. The source, location and cost of the new wind generation is still under negotiation with several developers.

“We expect this tremendous growth in wind generation to provide great value to our customers, who will save money on energy costs,” Moehn said. “Because of significant advancement in technology, harnessing wind is less expensive than other forms of new generation.”

The planned generation is expected to be operational by 2020.

“We believe it is in our customers’ long-term best interest for Ameren Missouri to own this wind generation,” said Ajay Arora, vice president of environmental services and generation resource planning at Ameren.

Solar Generation

The addition of 100 megawatts of solar generation over the next 10 years is expected to be developed in multiple phases.

Planning is underway on two projects. Earlier this year, Ameren Missouri announced plans to build a solar generation facility at St. Louis Lambert International Airport. That facility is expected to be complete in 2018. A separate project creates partnerships with business customers to locate an Ameren Missouri-owned solar generation facility on their property.

“These innovative solar programs have great promise,” Arora said. “Moving generation assets closer to where the energy is needed most is one of the ways we’re making the grid smarter, stronger and more resilient.”

Carbon Reduction

Further, the company is establishing a goal of reducing its carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050 from the 2005 level.

“We are the first investor-owned utility in the state, and among the first in the country, to announce a carbon emissions goal of this magnitude,” Moehn said.

To meet this goal, Ameren Missouri is targeting a 35 percent carbon emissions reduction by 2030 and a 50 percent reduction by 2040 from the 2005 level. Since 2005, Ameren Missouri has significantly reduced emissions, including a 26 percent reduction in carbon emissions in 2016.

Specifics of Ameren Missouri’s plan also include:

  • Managing the largest, most comprehensive energy efficiency program in Missouri’s history. The plan consists of a comprehensive portfolio of programs for business and residential customers. The energy savings goal for the current three-year plan is 570,000 megawatt-hours, equivalent to the energy used by nearly 45,000 homes, and representing a carbon-emissions reduction equivalent to taking 115,000 cars off the street. These programs give residents and businesses tools to save money and help make costs more predictable.
  • Retiring over half of Ameren Missouri’s coal-fired generating capacity. This includes retiring the Meramec Energy Center in south St. Louis County by the end of 2022.
  • Addressing the need to transition to a smart energy grid that can support more renewable energy, universal and private solar and customers’ desire for more timely information. In the next two decades, the energy grid will be the lifeline for cleaner energy connecting hundreds, if not thousands, of small and regional renewable energy generators to the grid in real time while maintaining the energy reliability demanded by customers.

Ameren Missouri’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), a 20-year outlook that supports cleaner energy in Missouri, was filed today with the Missouri Public Service Commission, and is consistent with Missouri’s Renewable Energy Standard. The IRP, which is filed every three years, examines electric customers’ projected long-term energy needs and describes Ameren Missouri’s preferred approach to meeting those needs in a cost-effective fashion that maintains system reliability.

“The IRP is developed with the input of a wide variety of stakeholders and is consistent with Ameren’s goal of transitioning its energy generation in a responsible fashion to ensure reliability while keeping customer rates affordable,” Arora said.

In order to add these resources to its generation portfolio, Ameren Missouri is required to seek certificates of convenience and necessity from the Missouri Public Service Commission for projects located in Missouri and to obtain interconnection agreements so that it can use transmission services of the appropriate Regional Transmission Authority.

More information can be found at

About Ameren Missouri

Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, and the company’s electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri’s mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 127,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company’s service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit or follow us at @AmerenMissouri or

Rahill Capital Closes On $10.1 Million In Commercial ‘Pace’ Construction Funding For Missouri Theater Building Renovation

in Companies/News

Largest C-PACE Deal in Missouri to Date

St. Louis-based RAHILL Capital has closed on $10.1 million in Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) funding for   the renovation of the former Missouri Theater building in Grand Center into the planned 145-room Hotel Angad and headquarters for Bull Moose Tube.  RAHILL Capital served as the owners’ representative in securing the C-PACE funding, which will be used for achieving efficiency improvements in lighting systems, windows and heating and cooling equipment on the 12-story project.  Anne Murphy Hill, owner of RAHILL Capital, was instrumental in securing the C-PACE portion of the project’s funding, while the City of St. Louis Clean Energy Development Board approved the funding.

“This is the largest C-PACE funded commercial real estate construction or renovation project in the St. Louis area to date and one of the largest nationally,” Hill said.  “The popularity of this public/private energy efficiency financing package continues to grow among real estate developers and property owners here and across the country.”

In addition to the Hotel Angad, the renovated building next to Powell Hall in Midtown will also feature a restaurant, rooftop bar and 25,000 square feet of office space for Bull Moose Tube’s 75 corporate employees.

C-PACE legislation in Missouri allows for building improvements that result in utility savings to be funded by private capital and repaid via a long-term tax assessment.  C-PACE can be used to fund a wide variety of energy improvements, from HVACR and controls, lighting and electrical systems to building envelopes, plumbing, tuckpointing, drywall, insulation and more.  State legislation has no cap on the amount of C-PACE funding, and most capital providers are comfortable with a 20-25 percent loan to value.

With over $200M in engagements in multiple states, including Missouri, Texas, California, Colorado and more, RAHILL Capital is already the leading developer and funder of C-PACE deals in the country.  RAHILL partners with C-PACE providers to deliver property assessed energy improvement financing via the owner’s property tax bill at no upfront cost to the owner and with no personal guarantees.

“C-PACE is long term, low cost financing that can partner with mortgage debt and other incentives to close the gap in the capital stack,” Hill added.  “We can take a customer’s original construction design and determine what aspects of the current design can qualify for C-PACE in order to maximize the qualified C-PACE funding. The possibilities go well beyond typical energy improvements.”

St. Louis area C-PACE deals closed to date by Rahill Capital include The Lafayette Lofts in Soulard, 4534 Olive LLC in midtown, and Cambridge Engineering’s headquarters in Chesterfield.

Founded in July, 2016 by Anne Murphy Hill and Robert J. W. Hill, RAHILL Capital works with Property Owners and Developers looking for a cost effective, streamlined process of securing C-PACE funding.  


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