Benchmarking Energy Consumption Workshop


This morning the Kansas City Energy Project, in partnership with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, held our first workshop. The Benchmarking Energy Consumption topic attracted a full room, no small feat for first thing in the morning. Our panel did a great job with their presentations and even hung around after the workshop to continue answering questions. Their breath of knowledge and experience was essential to the very positive feedback and complements we received from those who attended. Our panel -
• Craig Bernstein, ENERGY STAR Regional Program Manager, USEPA Region 7
• Aaron Rellergert PE, LEEP AP, Mechanical Engineer, Lankford + associates
• R. Kaye Johnston GGP, Office of Sustainability, UMKC
• Kevin Brannan, Product Manager Energy Efficiency, KCP&L

My favorite takeaway was the ENERGY STAR on YouTube resource that I did not know was available. This collection of educational and entertaining videos cater to everyone, school kids to adults, and are relevant whether you are just starting to learn about benchmarking or have been in the industry for years. Visit and look for the link on the upper right area of the home screen.

Our next workshop with be “Financing Energy Efficiency” on August 27th.
Hear details on a variety of financing mechanisms and incentives for Energy Efficiency. Programs covered include those from local, state and federal sources, as well as our utility. Opportunities are available for all building types, in both the public and private sectors. A panel presentation will provide details on the available programs and there will be time for your questions to be answered.

What other topics would you like to see the CEP organize a workshop on? Please let us know in the comments section.

Concerned with the New EPA Standards? Good news, Missouri is already ahead of the game

The new proposed EPA standard has generated a lot of chatter in the local business community. Kansas City businesses are wondering how the proposed standard would affect their bottom line and their ability to remain competitive.  The good news?  Due to forward thinking of Missouri voters and the progressive work of Missouri electricity providers, Missouri is already ahead of schedule and should have no problem meeting and even exceeding the new standard.

For some background, the EPA established states’ targets through a series of four building blocks – improved coal-plant efficiency, using existing natural gas, increasing low-carbon energy sources like wind and solar, and ramping up energy  efficiency programs.  Missouri will need to make an overall reduction of 21% from a 2012 baseline.  The state could use some, all, or none of these building blocks in developing a cost-effective solution to meeting their goals. Simply put: EPA’s guidelines provide Missouri flexibility to choose the best system to meet its 2020 and 2030 carbon reduction targets.

Missouri’s existing clean energy policies put the state ahead of schedule and allow for even greater emissions reductions than required for compliance by the Clean Power Plan. If fully implemented, these initiatives will put the state nine years ahead of the schedule outlined by the EPA in the new Clean Power Plan. Missouri already has more stringent goals and targets in place; the state has a goal of reaching 15% generation from renewables by 2021 and offsetting 9.9% of electricity sales with energy efficiency by 2020.  In effect, Missouri could achieve a carbon intensity reduction in 2021 equivalent to what the EPA is requiring for compliance by 2030.

The news is even better when it comes to Kansas City.  Kansas City is leading through energy efficiency programs such KCP&L utility programs and the City Energy Project, demonstrating that efficiency and city-based efforts can contribute significantly to achieving Missouri’s Clean Power Plan goals.  A recently signed Kansas City Power and Light agreement will deliver $34 million in benefits to Missourians over the next 18 months while directly helping to meet the new Clean Power Plan goals for the state. The agreement includes energy efficiency services, helping customers avoid wasting money on unnecessary power. The combined savings for customers in the Kansas City Region will reach nearly 300,000 in megawatt-hours over the plan lifespan, equivalent to the electricity needed to power more than 20,000 homes in Missouri for a year.   KCP&L’s new plan will also help the state prevent over 101,000 tons of carbon pollution, equivalent to taking 21,000 cars off the road for a year while saving money on customers’ electricity bills and creating local jobs for Missourians.

On Friday, Mayor Sly James, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Jim Heeter, and Chuck Caisley with KCP&L will hold a joint press conference to talk about Kansas City’s energy efficiency efforts and how the city is far ahead of the game when it comes to energy efficiency and carbon reductions.  Having the local utility, the local business community and the local elected leadership is significant; Kansas City is positioned well to not only comply with the new standards but exceed them.  This is good news for Kansas City business – lower utility costs, local job creation and a significant improvement to local air quality.

Summertime – and the CEP is busy!

Kansas City Energy Project has a busy summer ahead.  Next up for the project is a news conference and energy summit, then the start of our regular workshops and the launch of our first Mayor’s Energy Challenge – and that’s all in next 6 weeks!


News Conference

On June 27 the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jim Heeter, Kansas City Mayor Sly James, and Kansas City Power & Light’s Vice President of Marketing and Public Affairs Chuck Caisley, will hold a joint news conference.  The KC Chamber will announce its new Kansas City Energy Initiative (KCEI), Mayor James will introduce his Mayor’s Energy Challenge, and KCP&L will share the company’s support for these important initiatives.


Energy Summit

On June 30th, there will be a facilitated roundtable conversation with a small group of local community leaders on Kansas City utilizing energy efficiency to reduce energy consumption, create local jobs, save money, mitigate climate change, and improve the resiliency of our community to the impacts of future extreme weather events.  Kansas City’s Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo and the Chair of the KC Chamber Roshann Parris will co-chair the roundtable.  Ashok Gupta, Programs Director and Senior Energy Economist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, will facilitate the discussion.



The CEP will provide regular workshops and guidance for benchmarking a building’s energy consumption and realizing opportunities to reduce its energy consumption.  The first 3 workshops will be held on the 4th Wednesday of the month starting in July.  Our first workshop is a panel presentation on ‘Benchmarking and ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager’; in August the topic will be financing programs and available incentives.  If there’s a topic you’d like to see us cover at a future workshop, post a comment for us.


Mayor’s Energy Challenge

In early 2014 Mayor James shared his goal of creating a healthier, more prosperous Kansas City by targeting our largest source of energy use and climate pollution – buildings.  The foundation for reaching this goal is to increase in the number of ENERGY STAR® Rated buildings in Kansas City, and to promote this goal, Mayor James is issuing the Mayor’s Energy Challenge.  The Mayor’s Energy Challenge is a request for the businesses and institutions in Kansas City to benchmark their energy consumption with ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager.  The challenge officially starts on August 1st 2014 – more details will be posted soon.



Benchmarking & Energy Audits Makes Good Business Sense

Energy efficiency makes good business sense.  So how does one get started lowering energy bills and improving buildings’ energy efficiency?  First you need to know how much energy you are currently using, and then you need a plan on how to change that. 

  • Step 1 – Benchmark your energy consumption to know how much energy you consume and how that compares to other similar buildings.
  • Step 2 – Perform an Energy Audit (or Energy Assessment) to identify strategies to reduce your energy consumption and know the payback of those strategies.


Benchmarking is a way to simplify all of your energy bills into one clear value, allowing you to track and compare your building.  The two most common benchmarking units are an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) and the ENERGY STAR® Rating.  An EUI is the energy consumed by a building relative to its size.  An ENERGY STAR® Rating is your building’s energy performance on a scale of 1-100, with a score of 50 being an average building. An ENERGY STAR® Rating is a ratio of your actual EUI to what you would expect your building’s EUI to be when adjusted for use and climate.


An energy audit looks at all the ways your building uses energy and identifies ways to use less.  Typically performed by a third party, an energy audit will identify strategies called ECMs (Energy Conservation Measures) or EEMs (Energy Efficiency Measures).  Keep in mind your building is a system.  A change you make to your building envelope may affect your lighting, a change in your lighting may affect your HVAC system, a change to your HVAC system may affect the building occupant’s comfort.  Any EEM you are considering should be considered from the perspective of the whole building and not in a silo.   


The industry standard for energy audits follows guidelines set by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers).  These guidelines outline the scope for progressive levels of energy audits.  As the energy audit ‘level’ progresses, the quantity of EEMs identified increases and the accuracy of the cost and savings calculations increases. 

  • Benchmarking
  • Level 1 Audit: benchmarking, plus low and no cost EEMs identified with their estimated cost and savings, and potential capital improvement EEMs identified.
  • Level 2 Audit: Level 1 Audit, plus a breakdown of the end-use of energy, a larger number of EEMs identified with a more detailed analysis of the cost and savings, and recommended EEMs based on operation and maintenance changes.
  • Level 3 Audit: Level 2 Audit, plus additional measurements of energy use taken, an hourly simulation of energy consumption provided, a larger number of EEMs identified with a refined analysis of the cost and savings, and recommended investment grade EEMs.

An energy audit is not required to be one of the ASHRAE levels.  Your energy auditor should work with you to define a scope that addresses the level of detail you need, the areas of concern you have, and how it can fit within your budget.  


Want to know more?   The Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Program created ‘A Guide to Energy Audits’ that provides greater detail on energy audits, advice on hiring an energy auditor, as well as a sample RFP.  <<link to the PDF >>

Greetings from Jennifer Gunby, the newest member of the CEP team!

Jennifer Gunby

I wanted to introduce myself to those who are following the City Energy Project.  My name is Jennifer Gunby and I joined the CEP team last week.  I am part of a network of City Advisors from the Institute for Market Transformation placed in cities across the country to support building energy efficiency policy initiatives and to advance each city’s CEP goals.  I am an engineer (PE), a LEED AP, and am a certified Renewable Energy Professional (REP) by the Association of Energy Engineers.  I have worked in built environment industry for 10 years, the last 5 of those in energy. And I am very excited to be a part of such a great project.

Currently, the CEP team is working to develop a plan tailored to Kansas City to advance energy efficiency and reduce waste in our large buildings, which represent roughly 50 percent of the citywide square footage. This plan will include multiple complementary strategies, integrated so they will have greater impact than any one program or policy alone could have.  The plan will provide energy efficiency solutions that are unique, flexible, and support the following goals:

  • Promote efficient building operations: Strong building energy performance can be achieved through efficient operations and maintenance and the training of facilities personnel.
  • Encourage private investment: Common-sense solutions to financial and legal barriers to energy efficiency will increase private investment in building energy improvements.
  • Show City leadership: Cities should lead by example and reduce taxpayer-funded energy consumption in municipal buildings, and encourage the private sector to match their actions.
  • Promote transparency: Building energy performance information should be transparent and accessible to spur market demand and competition for energy-efficient buildings.

We hope to have more great news on our progress very soon.  Stay tuned to this blog to find out more!

KC Federal Buildings Save Energy with Innovative Tools, Operational Changes

By Bradley Nies
GSA Heartland Sustainability Program Manager

As the landlord for the federal government, the U.S. General Services Administrations manages more than 11 million square feet in the Kansas City metro area, including 17 federally-owned buildings and more than 120 commercial leases, and housing more than 35,000 employees. Across the country, we manage more than 1,500 federally-owned buildings and 8,100 commercial leases.

It’s a big mission, and it also means we must set the standard in energy sustainability.

In the Heartland Region, which comprises Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska, we have reduced energy use in our facilities by 20 percent since 2003, and by 25 percent nationwide over that time. In fiscal year 2013 alone, GSA’s Heartland Region realized $570,000 in utility cost avoidance, as compared to fiscal year 2012.

Here’s how.

Innovative Tools and Techniques

  • GSA began benchmarking its facilities and tracking performance through the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
  • Heartland GSA partnered with Pacific Northwest National Labs to conduct Targeted Energy Efficiency Expert Evaluations at facilities across the four states. No- and low-cost efficiency solutions were identified, and Energyplus models based on existing conditions and operations were developed.
  • Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, GSA implemented solutions such as lighting retrofits, low-flow fixtures, pump upgrades and chiller replacements at buildings region wide.
  • GSA began using the Green Proving Ground, a program to assess energy efficiency technologies, share information among projects, and develop strategic partnerships with other federal agencies.
  • GSA also utilized the Sustainable Facilities Tool, which offers useful sustainable guidance and tools for a variety of roles.

Top-Performing Heartland Facilities

Here’s a quick look at some specific measures that have been taken at three GSA facilities in the Heartland Region.

  • Energy use is down 34 percent at the Richard Bolling Federal Building in Kansas City, Mo., and a 14-year, four-phase modernization project is underway. The project includes new air distribution, new plumbing, partial reroofing and insulation upgrades. Also included are a complete interior renovation with lighting upgrades, a cafeteria upgrade including food waste composting, a 111,000-gallon rainwater collection and reuse system, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) Certification.
  • At the Robert J. Dole U.S. Courthouse in Kansas City, Kan., there has been a 39 percent reduction in energy use. Projects include a roof replacement, cooling tower refurbishment, new chiller installations, advanced metering, and HVAC, lighting control and light fixture upgrades.
  • The U.S. Courthouse in Wichita Kan., won first place in the 2013 Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) Better Buildings Federal Awards, which recognize the federal government’s highest-performing buildings through a competition to reduce annual energy use intensity. The courthouse reduced energy use by 20 percent during fiscal year 2013, and tallied $40,000 in savings over a 12-month period.

Why GSA?               

GSA manages and maintains these high-performing facilities. The federal agency is responsible for building performance, tenant comfort and a host of other factors.

GSA’s mission is to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition and technology services to the federal government and the American people. GSA’s Heartland facilities encompass nearly 25 million square feet of commercial space in 420 buildings, including courthouses, office buildings, data centers, laboratories, child care centers, warehouses and exterior plazas.

Nationwide, the agency manages more than 350 million square feet of commercial space.

With that much influence in real estate, GSA, along with other federal agencies, was tapped by the White House to lead by example toward a clean energy economy.

In September 2010, the White House released Federal Agency Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans required by Executive Order 13514. For the GSA, these Sustainability Plan goal areas included:

•     Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions;

•     Development and maintenance of a comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory;

•     Identification of high-performance green buildings;

•     Regional and local collaborative planning;

•     Water use efficiency and management;

•     Pollution prevention and waste elimination;

•     Sustainable acquisition;

•     Electronic stewardship; and

•     Agency innovation.

It is by striving to exceed the Sustainability Plan goals, that GSA has realized significant energy savings in the Heartland and nationwide.

To learn more about federal energy management in the Heartland, contact me at (816) 823-3422 or, or visit



CEP Partner Profile: MC Realty is a Community Leader in Energy Efficiency 

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 6.43.51 PM

MC Realty is a commercial real estate, property development and real estate management company based in Kansas City, Missouri. The company started as a facility operations group managing DST Systems’ commercial properties, but has expanded to serve customers beyond DST. MC Realty provides its clients services such as facility operations, property development and project management and development. MC Realty leverages extensive analysis and performance measures, managing facility operations to apply energy saving solutions.

MC Realty manages 13 million square feet of mainly commercial office space, with Energy Star Ratings across its portfolio. All MC Realty-managed buildings are in EPA’s portfolio manager.

MC Realty is currently listed as Kansas City Power & Light’s (KCP&L) number four overall largest customer, and the has company collected more than $1 million from KCPL’s energy savings rebate program over the last five years.

Portfolio-wide Energy Savings at DST facilities have resulted in reduced maintenance costs and increased efficiency. Efficiency efforts have included:

  • Lakos separators installed on all water cooled systems
  • More than 3,000 Wattstopper isole devices deployed
  • Air side filtration installed on all air cooled condensers and cooling towers
  • Current limiting employed on buildings with large chillers
  • Use of staggered air conditioning start times on buildings
  • Locking out of electric heat from April 1 to October 1
  • Retrofitting of more than 2.5 million square feet of garage lighting
  • Reduced Water Usage, including restrooms retrofits

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

Here’s a look at how MC Realty has implemented energy efficiency at some of its facilities.

At 1055 Broadway, the garage lighting was retrofit, exchanging 239 fixtures with significantly lower wattage replacements. The elevator was upgraded to be more efficient.  Lighting upgrades were installed, including green ballasts and motion sensors. Pneumatic controls were replaced by Direct Digital Controls. Holiday lighting was retrofit, replacing 3,000 incandescent lamps with 3,000 1-watt LED lights.

The overall reduced usage at 1055 Broadway from 2012 to 2013 was 227,100 KWH including reduction of overall demand by 47 percent.

1055 Broadway

1055 Broadway

At 210 W. 10th Street, an outside air economizer was replaced with water cooled heat exchanger through KCPL’s rebate program. A garage lighting retrofit exchanged 264 150-watt fixtures with 64 watts fixtures.

210 W. 10th St.

210 W. 10th St.

At 2600 Southwest Boulevard, a lighting retrofit resulted a 50 percent reduction in energy usage.

2600 Southwest Blvd.

2600 Southwest Blvd.