The View From Kansas City

April 22, 2014 | IMT, City Energy Project team, City of Kansas City, Mo., with Tom Corso, MC Realty Group

As part of our involvement in the City Energy Project, IMT will regularly post updates from local partners about their progress in boosting the efficiency of buildings. Keep checking The Current for news, case studies, and emerging best practices from around the country.

 

Kansas City, Mo., has 550 commercial and institutional buildings of 100,000-plus square feet, and another 480 buildings of 50,000-plus square feet. That is a lot of square footage contributing to carbon emissions. It bears repeating: buildings, not transportation or industry, represent the largest single source of carbon emissions. The Kansas City City Energy Project (CEP) initiative will focus its efforts on buildings that provide the greatest opportunities for energy reductions.

Getting there will involve a concentrated effort by folks from various segments working together and sharing opportunities. For example, at the first CEP Advisory Committee meeting, the utility KCP&L shared that it has filed new tariffs with the Missouri Public Services Commission for programs that can provide $15 million per year for residential and commercial energy efficiency incentives.

Also, our City Council has approved affiliation with the Missouri Clean Energy District (MCED) for a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program. The city is already in discussion with the MCED for loans to make investments in energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy facilities.

Energy efficiency shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be integrated into business plans, from conception to daily operations. By bringing various stakeholders to the table, the KC CEP will identify a range of incentives that will not only help existing Kansas City businesses know what’s in it for them, but ultimately, should help attract new businesses, too.

Strong Progress Already

Let’s take a look at what some local KC CEP partners are already doing to make their commercial spaces more efficient:

Hallmark has has cut waste by 54 percent, cut energy use by 20 percent, and cut water use by 18 percent since 2007.

From 2007 to 2011, Burns & McDonnell’s Kansas City headquarters underwent more than $2 million in improvements and upgrades. The headquarters now has an ENERGY STAR rating of 95 and a LEED Silver certification for Existing Buildings.

MC Realty Group, which manages 13 million square feet, has reduced its portfolio usage by more than 6 million kilowatt hours over a five-year period. It already benchmarks using EPA's Portfolio Manager and has extensive experience with KCPL’s commercial rebate program.

To ensure maximum operations efficiency, all MC Realty field staff have a Building Operator Certification, Level 1, and are beginning Level 2 Certification. Building Operator Certification (BOC®) is a nationally recognized training and certification program that gives facilities personnel the skills to make workplaces more comfortable, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly.

1055 Broadway

At its downtown office building 1055 Broadway, MC retrofitted the garage lighting, exchanging 239 fixtures with significantly lower-wattage replacements. It upgraded the elevator to be more efficient. Lighting upgrades were installed, including green ballasts and motion sensors. MC replaced pneumatic controls with direct digital controls. It even upgraded holiday lighting, swapping out 3,000 incandescent lamps for 3,000 1-watt LED lights.

From 2012 to 2013, the reduction in energy usage was 227,100 kilowatt hours, with a reduction of overall demand of 47 percent. That's the reduction in one building over just one year: What if it were scaled up dramatically? That's the idea behind the City Energy Project. It will help more citizens enjoy the benefits of energy efficiency, both in terms of cost savings and a better quality of life.

Meet the Authors

IMT
City Energy Project team, City of Kansas City, Mo., with Tom Corso, MC Realty Group

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