When it comes to saving energy, Fire Station No. 35 doused the four other Kansas City, Missouri, fire houses participating in the national Battle of the Buildings competition to reduce energy usage last fall.
Hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the program compared data collected during September, October and December of 2015 and 2016 to identify how improvements affect power and water consumption.
Stations no. 23, 25, 35, 36 and 44 were chosen to participate based on their above-average energy usage. The fire station energy challenge is part of a larger effort by the City to strategically manage energy throughout its buildings. Officials worked with Kansas City Power & Light and an outside consultant, CLEAResult, on a wider program to save energy.
The upgrades included replacing light toggle switches with occupancy sensor switches, relocating a thermostat, installing low-flow showerheads, replacing select light fixtures with LED light fixtures and providing energy-saving power strips.
In accepting the smoker awarded to the top station, Battalion Chief Jimmy Walker said he was pleased with the way his troops responded to the challenge.
“It was extremely easy once we got everybody in the habit of shutting off lights and adjusting the thermostat and so forth,” Walker said. “After a couple of weeks, we all got used to it and it was easy.”
Walker and his staff reduced energy usage at the station substantially, falling from a three-month total of 87,760 kilowatt-hours in 2015 to 81,920 kwh in 2016. Fire station no. 23 finished second, lowering its energy usage by 1,440 kwh over the same time period.
The fire station energy challenge was part of the City’s Sustainability Action Plan, which the City’s green team developed through participation in a yearlong project called Sustainability Circles – with Bridging The Gap and a California-based company called REV. The City of KCMO worked alongside nine other area companies to attend monthly workshops, receive one-on-one coaching and develop their custom action plans. In addition to the City, participants included Bayer CropScience, Posty Cards, Kansas City Public Schools, the Kansas City Chiefs, UMB, Hilshire/Tyson, Kansas City Public Television, Surplus Exchange and UMKC.
“I am very pleased with the way this competition turned out and I applaud all the fire stations for their participation and ongoing commitment to energy conservation,” said Charles Harris, General Services Project Manager and coordinator for this competition.
*This blog post was edited from a City of Kansas City, Missouri’s City Communications Office press release.