Did KC get bang for buck in energy efficiency?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Eight years ago, Kansas City was gung ho to reduce greenhouse gases by millions of tons annually to prevent “climate disruption.”

To that end, almost 100 people were appointed to a task force to examine every aspect of what was described as an enormous challenge and came up with a plan to combat climate change.

The plan released in 2008 had a list of goals for the city, businesses and residents but was never required by the city council. One of the recommendations was to reduce pollutants by 30 percent below year 2000 levels by 2020.

Today, $272 million has been spent in federal grants in Kansas City for energy efficiency, conservation, air quality and transportation, according to a city study.

Did Kansas City get the best bang for the buck?

It’s difficult to know. That’s because data that show the rate of emissions hasn’t been calculated for the Kansas City area since 2005. Projections show that if the city did nothing to reduce pollutants between 2000 and 2020, emissions would rise by almost two million tons.

The city has been strapped for cash and couldn’t afford to crunch the numbers, said Dennis Murphey, the city’s environmental guru.

But in the last year, Kansas City and Johnson County officials entered into a joint agreement to do the “greenhouse gas emission inventory.” The report that should be released this year will show whether pollutants have been reduced to below 2000 levels, Murphey told 41 Action News.

The city has been pushing ahead to reduce emissions. More than 80 solar panel systems have been installed in city building rooftops. The city’s fleet of vehicles use alternative fuels. Building lights and computers are being turned off during non-business hours and streets lights have more efficient bulbs to name just a few changes.

A new task force also is looking at finding energy savings in buildings around the city including at Union Station, Murphey said.

Murphey said he believes there will be a reduction in municipal-based energy.

“I’m really anticipating we will see a drop,” he said.

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