Kansas City, Missouri’s Energy Efficiency in the Past, Present, and Future

By Jane Langdon, CEP Intern

A multitude of progress has already been made to increase the energy efficiency in Kansas City, Missouri. Most of which is probably unknown to the average citizen.

For instance, the Solar Initiative. Have you heard of it? Maybe. However, for the average Kansas City resident, if they have heard about it, they probably are uninformed on the details. This solar initiative consisted of sixty-two buildings. These sixty-two buildings got solar panels installed. We hope that there will continue to be more buildings installed with solar panels. If you go to 18th and Vine, there are solar panels. However, you may not notice them because they blend in so well. This is a great example of how energy efficiency can be aesthetically pleasing as well as economically and environmentally beneficial.

Reducing the energy consumption of buildings is not the only initiative that has and is currently taking place. One of the simplest but most important projects to reduce energy consumption is taking place in the area of lighting.

The city is working to change all of their lights over to the much more energy efficient lights, known as LED. We aren’t talking about lights inside buildings (although those are getting updated to LED as well). You know those lights that keep the city alive when the sun goes down? We’re talking about the street light, the lights that light up the outside of a building, and the parking garage lights – among others. Those lights are the only thing that keeps our city lit when the night falls, which makes it all the more important. Luckily, these lights are becoming much more energy efficient with the use of LEDs. Outdoor lights are a huge use of energy, considering they are on throughout the entire night, and even during cloudy days. Even the parking garage lights are on 24/7. A few improvements that have been made thus far are the exterior lighting that was redone on the 28th and 30th floors of Kansas City, MO City Hall. The 28th floor’s exterior lights had been out of commission for decades. These new lights have added a new element to the Kansas City night skyline.

Another simple improvement that was made at City Hall was to adjust the housekeeping system. Now housekeeping works during the daytime instead of during the night. Also a trash consolidation system was put in place. These two things alone have and are expected to continue save nearly $225,000 in the coming fiscal year.

Energy consumption at City Hall and at the Municipal Courts buildings was reduced by 17% between 2011 and 2014. The energy consumption as Health department facility was reduced by 36%. All of these energy consumption reductions led a savings of nearly $504,000.

Another interesting improvement that Kansas City has done to reduce its energy consumption is the replacement roof top HVAC units in the City Market district. A total of ten rooftop units were replaced.

Other accomplishments that were made was the revamping the elevator systems in several buildings – including the Police Headquarters and Swope Ridge Geriatric Center. They took out the old elevators and replaced them with a modern version of elevators. These new elevator systems equipped these buildings with a safer and smoother elevator rides. Also, it implemented a much more energy efficient arrangement to the elevator structure.

Beyond this, Kansas City has gotten several Awards and Recognitions for their sustainability efforts. For the Kansas City Industrial Council Sustainability awards, Kansas City received silver for their renewables effort, and gold for their lighting efforts.

Perhaps one of the biggest awards in the energy efficiency world was received by Kansas City this year. Kansas City received the Greenest Fleet in the Country award for this 2014 year. A remarkable feat.

This is only the beginning for Kansas City, MO. I look forward to seeing the future of what Kansas City can do in becoming not only more energy efficient, but how they can be a model for other cities working towards the same goals.

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