Sustainable Skylines - Kansas City
What is it?
Sustainable Skylines is a locally-led, EPA-supported, public-private partnership to reduce air emissions and promote sustainability in urban environments. Greater Kansas City was chosen as one of the first pilot communities to implement the Sustainable Skylines program.
What will it do for Kansas City?
Sustainable Skylines will provide a flexible framework for stakeholders to choose projects for implementation over the next three years. Those projects will:
- Integrate transportation, energy, land use, and air quality planning
- Yield measurable air quality benefits within three years
- Promote collaboration among multiple stakeholders
- Identify and leverage resources among partners
What are the projects?
- KC Idle-Free - An idle-reduction campaign, working with public and private fleets to establish idle-free zones and assist the Kansas City metropolitan area in maintaining the national air quality standard for ozone.
- Be Water Wi$e - Water conservation and strategic landscaping projects with parks and homeowners associations to use less water and promote native plant species.
- Parking Lots to Parks - Curbing the urban heat island effect and reducing storm water runoff through sustainable parking lot design.
- Solar KC - Solar demonstration projects at schools and city-owned buildings to promote renewable, clean energy.
- Kansas City Future Forum – Action by individuals, businesses, and civic groups to reduce our environmental impact and become a green region.
- “Constructing” Clean Air - A diesel engine retrofits partnership with the heavy construction industry in Kansas City to reduce air pollution from construction equipment.
Who are the partners?Kansas City's stakeholder group includes:
- City of Kansas City, Mo.
- Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan.
- Johnson County, Kan.
- Mid-America Regional Council
- Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
- Missouri Department of Natural Resources
- Kansas Department of Health and Environment
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards
Many other public and private partners will help this stakeholder group implement projects across the Kansas City metropolitan area.
What are the partners saying about Sustainable Skylines?
“The Unified Government is proud to take part in the Sustainable Skylines initiative. Through this and several other environmental programs already in place, Wyandotte County will continue to do its part in protecting our environment. Partnering with other regional agencies will only strengthen our commitment to environmental sustainability.”
Joe Reardon, Mayor
Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan.
“Johnson County Government has become a recognized leader in environmental stewardship, and will continue to support efforts that create a more sustainable future for our citizens. Partnerships, such as the Sustainable Skylines Initiative, place our region at the forefront of environmental awareness and protection. We are proud to be a partner in Sustainable Skylines and the many other projects that will take us to the next level of sustainability.”
Annabeth Surbaugh, Chairman
Johnson County Board of Commissioners
“The Mid-America Regional Council is pleased to partner with these other fine organizations on environmental sustainability programs for our region. Bringing all these stakeholders together to work collaboratively is key to making real and measurable environmental improvements.”
David Warm, Executive Director
Mid-America Regional Council
“The Department of Natural Resources is pleased to work with these partners in the pursuit of cleaner air for Missouri. I look forward to seeing the positive results of these innovative projects. All Missourians benefit when steps are taken to reduce our impact on the state's air resources.”
Floyd Gilzow, Deputy Director
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
“The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is proud to be a part of the Sustainable Skylines agreement. This innovative partnership will allow local and state organizations to strengthen working relationships, while working together towards the shared goal of a healthier and more sustainable environment.”
Roderick L. Bremby, Secretary
Kansas Department of Health and Environment
“Sustainable Skylines gives Greater Kansas City a way to address complex environmental issues like climate, energy and air quality. The projects undertaken by partners in this initiative will improve the environment and strengthen the economy of the Kansas City area for both the short- and long-term.”
John Askew, former Administrator
EPA Region 7
“A commitment to increased renewable energy and energy efficiency is critical to achieving sustainability in our region. We applaud the EPA for bringing this pilot program to Kansas City and are proud to support these specific projects, including the Solar KC project.”
Mike Deggendorf, Vice President of Public Affairs
Kansas City Power and Light
What pollution reductions do you expect from the projects?
Here are some examples:
- A one-kilowatt solar panel system on a school would reduce annual emissions by 2,492 pounds of carbon dioxide, 13 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and four pounds of nitrogen oxides.
- A solar hot water system reduces greenhouse gases by an average of 20 percent.
- A diesel retrofit device can reduce emissions of particulates by at least 20 percent, hydrocarbons by 50 percent, and carbon monoxide by 40 percent.
Why was Kansas City chosen for the Sustainable Skylines program?
Greater Kansas City was chosen as a pilot community to implement Sustainable Skylines because of air quality concerns and proven local leadership. EPA is investing $225,000 for Sustainable Skylines work that will benefit the Kansas City region.
During the summer of 2007, Kansas City violated the current national air quality standard for ozone. Ozone is unhealthy for all of us, but especially for people with respiratory illnesses. Projects under Sustainable Skylines will help reduce the pollution that causes ozone.
Kansas City has also proven that it is ready to show public and private leadership on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As of January 2008, 17 local mayors have signed on to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, and more than 120 local businesses and organizations have signed on to the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce's Climate Protection Agreement.
How were the Sustainable Skylines projects chosen?
A group of stakeholders came together in the summer of 2007 to identify potential projects. Projects were chosen based on a set of criteria cost, repeatability, level of benefit to the community, availability of partners to do the project and leverage resources, and whether emissions reductions could be achieved within three years.
Is this list of projects complete or will you add more projects later?
The projects currently identified for Sustainable Skylines Kansas City are projects we will be working on in the immediate future. The principles the projects - reducing idling, retrofitting diesel equipment, irrigating more efficiently - can be applied anytime and anywhere, to improve the sustainability of our practices and improve our air quality. We intend to actively for ways to partner on projects.
Additional examples of sites where these principles could be applied are the new intermodal transportation facilities being built or expanded in our area. These facilities could reduce their ecological footprint by building green, instituting anti-idling policies, and retrofitting diesel equipment used on-site. All of these actions would minimize the environmental impact of the facility's operation.
How can I become involved?
There are many ways to be involved in this initiative, whether you are a school, company, or individual looking to make a difference. Please call us to talk about opportunities to:
- Retrofit diesel equipment.
- Reduce idling in fleets by implementing idle-free zones and policies.
- Install solar panels on schools and public buildings.
- Design or renovate parking lots to manage storm water runoff, increase native plantings and reduce heat from paved areas.
- Conserve water and reduce irrigation and mowing.
- Learn about actions that you, your family, your company or civic group can take to reduce your ecological footprint.
Chrissy Wolfersberger, EPA Region 7, at 913-551-7864 or firstname.lastname@example.org