The Kansas City Industrial Council (KCIC), a partner of Bridging The Gap, has recently recognized 10 area businesses for their sustainability practices! KCIC presents the Sustainability Awards annually to its members and member clients across the metropolitan area, particularly those located in or near industrial areas. The awards took place virtually on October 22, 2020. Several of the businesses awarded were Green Business Network members or clients in our Business Recycling program, including The Kansas City Zoo, the City of Kansas City Missouri, KC Water, and Conexon!
The Kansas City Zoo
Working with Design Mechanical, Zoo staff updated the HVAC controls system for its 97,000-square-foot Deramus and Education Complex buildings located at the zoo’s entrance. Prior to the upgrade, the two buildings’ mechanical equipment was being operated manually, with systems running 24 hours a day, every day.
The Zoo replaced an antiquated mix of pneumatic controls and direct digital controls with a Johnson Controls Facility Explorer energy management system along with energy meters to monitor and trend real-time energy usage for both buildings and the major mechanical equipment.
The result has been more than a 50-percent reduction in energy usage with better overall temperature control and environmental quality. From January to June of this year, the Deramus building had reduced its monthly energy consumption by 31 percent for a total savings of nearly $29,000. The reduction in these energy costs allows the zoo to reallocate funds to other important needs as well as reinvest a portion of the savings into future energy reduction projects.
City of Kansas City, Missouri – Compass KC
First launched in August 2018, Compass KC, which is the City’s online planning and permitting service, allowed – but didn’t require – customers to submit and manage their permit requests entirely online. As a result, the City has seen a steady decline over the past two years in foot traffic to City Hall for plan and permit submittals – saving greenhouse gas emissions as a well as a reduction in paper, paper-related supplies and storage of paper. One department has seen a 65% reduction in paper purchasing.
Having this online platform in place proved critical though with the onset of COVID-19 and the Mayor’s Stay at Home order. Employees required to work from home were able to seamlessly continue processing submissions, with feedback from customers that the online process is faster and more productive than in-person.
KC Water created a sustainable green infrastructure demonstration project as part of the Smart Sewer program to keep stormwater out of the city’s combined sewer system. Using nature-based solutions such as bioretention basins, gravel infiltration basins, stormwater tree planters, a permeable paver system and a dry-well infiltration system, these efforts will reduce overflows of stormwater runoff by more than 20% from the West Bottoms. Some of the highlights of the project include:
-A large permeable brick paver plaza featuring a multi-use event space, a semi-covered meeting place, a flexible parking area and stormwater tree planters.
-At the Liberty Green Space, stormwater runoff from rooftops and buildings flow to a bioswale and bioretention area surround by parklike landscape features including a trail, boardwalk system and native trees, shrubs and grasses.
-An innovative rain harvesting system using two above-ground cisterns with the capacity to hold 18.050 gallons of rainwater from highway decks above to make it available for non-potable water reuse.
Conexon works with electric cooperatives to bring fiber networks to rural communities. With an office located in the Crossroads, Conexon was determined earlier this year to begin a recycling program despite their building owner’s insistence that no recycling containers could be added to their outside dumpster area.
Conexon staff worked with Bridging The Gap’s business recycling program to create an indoor recycling collection plan that now allows them to divert nearly all of its waste from the landfill. It uses collection services for co-mingled recyclables and glass, but staff didn’t stop there – several team members alternate responsibility dropping off additional collected materials including plastic film, ink and toner cartridges, electronics and Styrofoam. Once all staff return to their office, they plan to implement a food waste diversion program as well.
City of Kansas City, Missouri – Finance Department – Legal Opinion Database
Tax auditors working in the City’s Finance Department’s Revenue Division rely heavily on legal opinions from the Law Department. Over the years, the department has accumulated 189 legal opinions that had been kept for reference in three hard-copy legal opinion books.
By using certain database management tools including Microsoft Access Database with VBA and SQL, city employee Patrick Yu worked to convert this cumbersome paper-based reference into an electronic database. And again, with the onset of stay-at-home orders in March, the online access proved invaluable for staff while working from home.
To see the full list of businesses awarded at the Kansas City Industrial Council’s 10th Annual Sustainability Awards Breakfast, visit their website.