Federal, state and local governments are placing new emphasis on energy efficiency, not only as a means to protect the environment, but also as a necessary part of future economic vitality.
Below are several projects taking place in the region that will advance energy efficiency and conservation.
Regional Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (REECS)
Working through MARC, 10 of the 14 area Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) recipients formed the Regional Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy coalition, or REECS. The coalition is developing tools to help the region conserve energy and use it wisely, as well as providing training and guidance on updated energy codes. The steering committee for this project meets quarterly.
The city of Kansas City, Mo., received $20 million in EECBG funds to support EnergyWorks KC — a partnership with MARC, the Metropolitan Energy Center, KCP&L and Missouri Gas Energy that will focus on energy retrofits of homes and businesses in seven neighborhoods in the city, including the Green Impact Zone. The grant will also fund job training for workers wanting to enter the building-retrofit industry.
MARC has partnered with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) and the American Planning Association (APA) to provide outreach and education support to the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SunShot Initiative. MARC will be assisting its partners with project management, communications outreach, hosting workshops and offering technical assistance in order to increase the use and integration of solar energy in communities across the country.
Smart Lights for Smart Cities
A $4 million EECBG grant will fund Smart Lights for Smart Cities, a program that will provide 4,000 high-efficiency streetlights in 26 participating communities with populations under 35,000. These long-lasting lights are expected to reduce energy use and utility bills by up to 50 percent. The program will include evaluation of not only energy and utility bill savings and maintenance costs, but also the quality of light from the new fixtures and their acceptance by citizens.
Solar Ready KC
Solar Ready KC is the local regional team participating in the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge. The Rooftop Solar Challenge incentivizes 22 regional teams to make it easier for Americans to go solar.
The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative aims to dramatically decrease the total costs of solar energy at the utility, commercial, and residential levels before the end of the decade, making subsidy-free solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity and enabling widespread solar energy deployment.
To learn about the Solar Best Management Practices developed to clear a path for rapid expansion of solar energy, read more.
More information at Rooftop Solar Challenge.