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Category 8

Energy + Emissions

The urgency of the carbon problem and the major driver of climate change demands steep reductions in carbon.

Ideal Future State

Cortex is carbon neutral.

Why Important

Climate change is the biggest threat to life as we know it and maintaining a habitable planet. We expect bold action toward carbon reduction (federal, state, and local level) as well as our occupants and tenants setting their own carbon-reduction goals. Cortex can help them fulfill their carbon-reduction requirements through District-wide initiatives and by leading by example and becoming a resource for the region.

Objectives / Targets

  • Carbon Neutrality by 2030
  • Cut embodied carbon by 75-80% by 2030.
  • All new buildings are net zero (operational) energy starting in 2025
  • 100% powered by renewable energy by 2030 (on-site/off-site/RECs).
  • All new and remodeled building energy performance to be 30% below ASHRAE 90.1-2013 standard by 2026


American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Living Future Institute, LEED Zero, Ameren, Spire, St. Louis Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS)


Establish current energy use intensity (EUI) baseline with past utility data

Future Targets

  • Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS)
  • 30% below ASHRAE 90.1-2013 by 2026
  • 100% net zero by 2030
  • Carbon Neutrality by 2035

Immediate Steps

  • Finalize EUI baseline for all District buildings
  • District wide Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Short-Term Steps

Establish Ameren partnership for District to scale renewable energy

Long-Term Steps

Develop Power Purchase Agreements for solar and Renewable Energy Certificates for tenants


Carbon leadership is very much needed in the region, and Cortex can lead stakeholders. A partnership with Ameren (or an outside Energy Service Company) could put these goals within easy reach much faster than one might think. This category is the only one that is nonnegotiable from a sustainability perspective. The climate crisis has set the deadline for us.