June 15 @ 8:00 am June 16 @ 12:00 pm CDT

 Are you a local building official or work on building and energy codes? Want to understand the latest standards and trends? Join MEC for a FREE multi-day training course!

Cities in our region are in process of adopting more recent energy codes, so MEC is hosting a FREE building science & energy codes training. The course is valued at $200+ and attendees are eligible for up to 8 Continuing Education Hours.

This course will provide an overview of the history of residential energy codes in the IRC and IECC and the development of multiple compliance paths. It provides a common understanding of the thermal envelope, including the impact of windows, doors, and skylights, what is included in insulation installation grading, and advanced framing techniques. Heating, cooling, and mechanical ventilation systems are also covered along with a discussion of the importance of duct tightness. Lighting, appliance, and clean energy contributions are discussed. The role of a HERS Rater as a third-party verifier and the verifications they perform, as well as what to look for in their reporting is included. Index scores and what they mean, along with similarities and differences between the HERS Index and the ERI are discussed.

When: June 15 & 16, 8am-12pm
Where: Plexpod Westport Commons – 300 East 39th Street, Kansas City, MO 64111

In July there will be a one-day training session on the commercial energy code. Stay tuned for additional details.

Meet Your Instructor

Sharla Riead, Hathmore Technologies LLC, EnergySmart Institute

Sharla’s energy and environmental experience began with her first energy audit in 1979 and spans years of progression from working as an energy auditor through construction and installation of solar panels to directorships and management of energy conservation and consulting companies and culminates in her leadership of Hathmore Technologies, LLC. For over five decades she has performed heat load calculations, residential energy diagnostics, solar and alternate energy design, energy conservation instruction, contracting, and consulting. As a Certified Building Analyst and Envelope Specialist, Sharla assisted hundreds of homeowners with energy retrofit improvement analysis and design. As a Certified Home Energy Rater, Sharla and her team provide testing, certification, and program compliance services for national energy and environmental programs such as ENERGYSTAR, NAHB Green Build, US Green Building Council’s LEED® for Homes Program and Federal Energy Tax Credits. Sharla and her company have supported several hundred builders with their Green Building goals.

Metropolitan Energy Center

816-531-7283

View Organizer Website

 

June 1 @ 8:00 am June 3 @ 5:00 pm CDT

Are you interested in transportation for schools? Would you like to see what’s new for school transportation?

The 2022 School Transportation Safety Conference is scheduled for June 1-3 at Tony’s Pizza Event Center, Salina, KS.  The event kicks off on Wednesday, June 1 with the State Safe Driver Competition, followed by two days (June 2-3) of educational workshops designed for every person on the school transportation team.  The conference concludes with the association’s annual banquet and awards ceremony on Friday evening.

On June 2nd, our very own Brandt Hertenstein will be guiding listeners through the benefits of Electric School Buses, and why they are a very feasible path towards reducing the carbon footprint of schools. This presentation will be held at 2:00 P.M. Central Time. This is a paid event, and you can register by clicking the button below!

 

 

 

 

Meet Our Presenter

Brandt Hertenstein, Program Coordinator & Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coordinator

Brandt joined MEC in the fall of 2020 as a Program Coordinator. His focus is in the transportation sector, specifically advocating for electrification of vehicles and infrastructure development in the Midwest region. He is a Co-Coordinator for the Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coalition.

Prior to his position at MEC, Brandt was a member of Bridging the Gap’s city-wide recycling team. He received his bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where he also went on to complete his Master’s in Bioenergy.

 

 

 

Kansas State Pupil Transportation Association

View Organizer Website

Tony’s Pizza Event Center

Salina, Kansas 67401 United States + Google Map
(785) 826-7200
View Venue Website

May 25 @ 11:30 am 12:30 pm CDT

Are you a building owner or property manager of a building larger than 50,000 sq. ft. who wants to understand how to benchmark your building’s energy and water use?

Join Metropolitan Energy Center for our upcoming webinars on May 25, June 15, or July 13 (all begin at 11:30am CT) to receive free training and support to submit your building’s 2021 energy and water data in order to comply with the City of Kansas City, MO’s annual benchmarking requirements. During the webinar, MEC’s Building Performance staff will give a tutorial on the basics of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, instructions on how to submit your report, and resources to navigate this process. The event is for anyone who is familiar with their respective building’s utility bill and facility upkeep. Roles may include property managers, leasing management companies, facility managers, building owners, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Your Presenters

Mary English, Program Manager, Building Performance

Prior to joining MEC in 2021, Mary worked in the sustainable built environment industry conducting energy assessments, testing, consultation, and overall experience in the field of building performance in both the residential and commercial sectors.

Mary founded Small Step Energy Solutions LLC which became a leading home energy assessment provider, as well as a building consultant for sustainable new buildings and homes. During this time, Small Step worked with municipalities – including the Kansas City, MO codes department – to review and update building energy codes. She also worked closely with area developers to create sustainable developments and multi-family housing based on equity goals. Mary then moved into commercial-business sustainability, helping start-up businesses in passive house panel construction; energy benchmarking; and efficiency upgrades in commercial HVAC systems. She currently serves on the Programs Committee for the USGBC Central Plains Community; and the Equity Committee for Climate Action Kansas City.

 

Brittanie Giroux, Building Performance Associate

Brittanie joined MEC as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in October of 2020. She came to MEC after completing a previous AmeriCorps service year in the City of Evanston, IL’s Office of Sustainability where she led climate education initiatives and was involved in energy and waste franchise agreement processes.

In October of 2021, Brittanie came on board full time as MEC’s Building Performance Associate. In this role, she manages the Healthy Housing Taskforce, co-manages the Energy and Water Benchmarking program, creates social content and newsletters, and conducts community outreach and events. Brittanie received her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Vanderbilt University. 

Metropolitan Energy Center

816-531-7283

View Organizer Website

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April 30 @ 10:00 am 2:00 pm CDT

Celebrate nature, energy efficiency & clean transportation all in one place: Metropolitan Energy Center’s Project Living Proof

We’re marking Earth Day 2022 with a special celebration! Visit Project Living Proof, our 108-year-old home retrofitted with multiple comprehensive energy-saving systems. Check out the latest in electric cars and talk with their owners. Tour natural wildflower and vegetable gardens with the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City. Or learn how you can save money for years to come on home energy expenses with cost-effective rebates, incentives, and upgrades. There’s something Earthy for everyone, and it’s all in one place on April 30.

With energy prices spiking, there’s never been a better time to consider home energy upgrades. These can be as simple as a weekend DIY project or as ambitious as large-scale whole-house renovations. And if you’re dealing with sticker shock at the gas pump, you’ll want to check the advantages of leaving petroleum wholly (or at least partially) behind. Whether your interests are fixed or mobile, MEC staff and event volunteers will be happy to answer your questions, suggest additional information and show you around the property. Project Living Proof is a unique regional resource and we hope you’ll be able celebrate Earth Day with us.

Project Living Proof is located at 917 East Cleaver II Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64110, just east of the Nelson-Atkins Gallery and west of Troost on the south side of the street. Parking is available just south of the house at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center at 4750 Troost (which is also the location of the electric car showcase).

 

April 28 @ 11:30 am 12:30 pm CDT

Are you a building owner or property manager of a building larger than 50,000 sq. ft. who wants to understand how to benchmark your building’s energy and water use?

Join Metropolitan Energy Center for our upcoming webinars on May 25, June 15, or July 13 (all begin at 11:30am CT) to receive free training and support to submit your building’s 2021 energy and water data in order to comply with the City of Kansas City, MO’s annual benchmarking requirements. During the webinar, MEC’s Building Performance staff will give a tutorial on the basics of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, instructions on how to submit your report, and resources to navigate this process. The event is for anyone who is familiar with their respective building’s utility bill and facility upkeep. Roles may include property managers, leasing management companies, facility managers, building owners, etc.

 

 

 

Meet Your Presenters

Mary English, Program Manager, Building Performance

Prior to joining MEC in 2021, Mary worked in the sustainable built environment industry conducting energy assessments, testing, consultation, and overall experience in the field of building performance in both the residential and commercial sectors.

Mary founded Small Step Energy Solutions LLC which became a leading home energy assessment provider, as well as a building consultant for sustainable new buildings and homes. During this time, Small Step worked with municipalities – including the Kansas City, MO codes department – to review and update building energy codes. She also worked closely with area developers to create sustainable developments and multi-family housing based on equity goals. Mary then moved into commercial-business sustainability, helping start-up businesses in passive house panel construction; energy benchmarking; and efficiency upgrades in commercial HVAC systems. She currently serves on the Programs Committee for the USGBC Central Plains Community; and the Equity Committee for Climate Action Kansas City.

 

Brittanie Giroux, Building Performance Associate

Brittanie joined MEC as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in October of 2020. She came to MEC after completing a previous AmeriCorps service year in the City of Evanston, IL’s Office of Sustainability where she led climate education initiatives and was involved in energy and waste franchise agreement processes.

In October of 2021, Brittanie came on board full time as MEC’s Building Performance Associate. In this role, she manages the Healthy Housing Taskforce, co-manages the Energy and Water Benchmarking program, creates social content and newsletters, and conducts community outreach and events. Brittanie received her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Vanderbilt University. 

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April 20 @ 4:30 pm 7:00 pm CDT

 

Join MEC on April 20 at Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, KS for Drive Electric Earth Day.

Owners and electric vehicles will be present! Feel free to stop by and talk to owners about their experiences driving cleaner, more efficient vehicles. For a chance to win a $250 Visa gift card (provided by Plug In America, terms and conditions), register to attend or participate and complete a short survey.

All attendees and volunteers are required to wear face masks whenever they are within six feet of another person at all Drive Electric Earth Day 2022 events.

Free

Metropolitan Energy Center

816-531-7283

View Organizer Website

Village Presbyterian Church

6641 Mission Road
Prairie Village, KS 66208 United States
+ Google Map

March 31 @ 11:30 am 12:30 pm CDT

Are you a building owner or property manager of a building larger than 50,000 sq. ft. who wants to understand how to benchmark your building’s energy and water use?

Join Metropolitan Energy Center for our upcoming webinars on Thursday, March 31 or Thursday, April 28 (both at 11:30am CT) to receive free training and support to submit your building’s 2021 energy and water data in order to comply with the City of Kansas City, MO’s annual benchmarking requirements. During the webinar, MEC’s Building Performance staff will give a tutorial on the basics of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, instructions on how to submit your report, and resources to navigate this process. The event is for anyone who is familiar with their respective building’s utility bill and facility upkeep. Roles may include property managers, leasing management companies, facility managers, building owners, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Your Presenters

Mary English, Program Manager, Building Performance

Prior to joining MEC in 2021, Mary worked in the sustainable built environment industry conducting energy assessments, testing, consultation, and overall experience in the field of building performance in both the residential and commercial sectors.

Mary founded Small Step Energy Solutions LLC which became a leading home energy assessment provider, as well as a building consultant for sustainable new buildings and homes. During this time, Small Step worked with municipalities – including the Kansas City, MO codes department – to review and update building energy codes. She also worked closely with area developers to create sustainable developments and multi-family housing based on equity goals. Mary then moved into commercial-business sustainability, helping start-up businesses in passive house panel construction; energy benchmarking; and efficiency upgrades in commercial HVAC systems. She currently serves on the Programs Committee for the USGBC Central Plains Community; and the Equity Committee for Climate Action Kansas City.

 

Brittanie Giroux, Building Performance Associate

Brittanie joined MEC as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in October of 2020. She came to MEC after completing a previous AmeriCorps service year in the City of Evanston, IL’s Office of Sustainability where she led climate education initiatives and was involved in energy and waste franchise agreement processes.

In October of 2021, Brittanie came on board full time as MEC’s Building Performance Associate. In this role, she manages the Healthy Housing Taskforce, co-manages the Energy and Water Benchmarking program, creates social content and newsletters, and conducts community outreach and events. Brittanie received her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Vanderbilt University. 

GoToWebinar

March 3 @ 11:30 am 12:30 pm CST

 

During the cold snap in 2021 and record-breaking temperatures this past summer, communities across the Kansas City area continue to experience firsthand the detrimental impacts of living in inefficient homes. Luckily, there are model building codes to guide prudent action — roadmaps for new construction and updating existing buildings. Included in the suite of building codes is the life-safety energy code.

You may be wondering what exactly is an energy code, what code your municipality has adopted, and why are these people telling me it’s so important? Join Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) on Thursday, March 3 at 11:30am as we simplify the code and discuss how it can ensure your residents have healthy, safe, and affordable places to work, play, and call home.  

This event is for policymakers in the Kansas City region including, but not limited to, City Council Members, Mayors, City Managers, and Directors and staff of applicable departments (Planning & Development, Health, etc.).  

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January 12 @ 9:15 am 1:30 pm

SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Topeka Southwest

2745 SW Fairlawn Rd.
Topeka, KS 66614 United States
+ Google Map
(785) 596-9650
View Venue Website

This event has passed, but you can view the presentation slides at the links below.

Join the Kansas Biodiesel Consortium (KSBC) for our annual biodiesel workshop on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. Presenters will cover how to use biodiesel in your operations. From biodiesel fueling to vehicles to funding opportunities, you’ll learn what you need to know to get started with biodiesel. Each session will have time for an open Q&A with attendees. The final session is a roundtable to get your questions about biodiesel answered, followed by lunch. The workshop is free, but registration is requested. 

Masks are recommended for all attendees. A link for an online option will be emailed to all registrants prior to the workshop for those who prefer to attend virtually.

Agenda

8:30 – 9:15 am Registration with coffee & donuts

9:15 am Welcome—Edwin Brokesh (KSRE) – KSBC President

9:20 am Biodiesel Funding Opportunities—David Albrecht, Sr. Program Coordinator for the Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coalition, and Tami Alexander, Sr. Program Coordinator for the Central Kansas Clean Cities Coalition, will share information on funding opportunities for biodiesel projects including fueling equipment and vehicles. Click here to see the presentation slides.

10:15 – 10:30 Break

10:30 – 11:45 am Real-World Biodiesel Use Case Studies

· James Jackson, Director of Public Works for the City of Topeka – The Road to Biodiesel:  Effective Service Delivery with Environmental Consciousness. Click here to see the speaker slides.

· Rich Iverson, Fleet Support Manager for the City of Ames, IA will share their experiences with the Optimus Technologies Vector System using 100% biodiesel. Click here to see the slides for this presentation.

· Eric Lawson with MEG Corp will talk about biodiesel blending and fuel usage in vehicles.

11:45 – 12:30 Roundtable discussion on biodiesel in Kansas—Open discussion with speakers to answer your questions about biodiesel.

12:30 – 1:30 Lunch provided at the hotel

There’s a lot to like about electricity from hydropower.  It produces zero emissions.  It can respond quickly to sudden increases in demand.  A dam can also protect against floods, store water to fend off drought, slake the thirst of cities and irrigate cropland while generating clean energy. 

The Age Of Dams

Dams can even serve as sources of national inspiration.  In the depths of the Great Depression, building Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam) didn’t just provide thousands of desperately needed jobs.  The project made news.  It was the biggest dam ever tried, built in a searing desert environment.  Vital engineering problems were solved with construction already underway.  And it was proof that even during tough times, Americans could undertake big, ambitious projects and succeed.  10,000 spectators turned out in 102-degree heat when FDR dedicated the dam in September 1935, a job completed under budget and two years ahead of schedule.

Hoover Dam – Arizona/Nevada

Hoover Dam marked the start of what some have called the Age of Dams.  From the 1930s through the early 1980s, America built thousands of large dams.  Some are truly huge (like Grand Coulee on the Columbia), some just garden-variety big.  These structures rerouted rivers, irrigated vast areas of land, and made desert cities like Phoenix, Los Angeles and Las Vegas possible.  There are now about 100,000 large dams nationwide, 5,500 of them 50 feet high or taller.  In 2019, America’s 2,400 hydropower dams generated 274 billion kilowatt-hours, a shade under 7% of all of our electricity.  So, given all the benefits dams can provide, why aren’t we using more of this clean energy source?

Location, Location Location

It’s complicated.  As implied above, only a small minority of dams provide power, and the biggest dams are federal projects.  For these dams, there’s a kind of legal division of labor between multi-purpose dams providing power, storage and irrigation, and flood-control dams.  Flood-control dams can generate power, but that’s not their main purpose.  Example – the vast Fort Peck Dam in Montana has a volume of 96 million cubic meters, and generates 185 megawatts of power.  Grand Coulee Dam has one-tenth the volume – 9.1 million cubic meters – but maximum electrical output of over 7,000 megawatts – 37 times more than Fort Peck.  Different rivers, different sites, different designs – and different reasons for being.  Fort Peck was designed for flood control, with some generation capacity.  Grand Coulee was all about power.  Could existing dams be retrofitted to generate more power?  Possibly, but at high cost, and at the expense of other missions they’re required by law to fulfill. 

In a sense, geography is in control.  There are only so many rivers that are big enough to dam.  On each of those rivers, there are only so many sites that make sense. Even then things don’t always work out.  A case in point – Optima Dam.  Sited on the North Canadian River in Oklahoma, Optima was completed in 1978, after 12 years of planning and construction.  Today Optima Lake is effectively empty.  The North Canadian was once fed by underground water from the Ogallala Aquifer.  But over time, farmers have pumped so much water from the Ogallala for irrigation that there’s now nothing left for the river or the reservoir.  Beyond extremes like this, nearly all the best locations were developed during the Age of Dams.  What sites remain are, for the most part, remote, expensive or potentially dangerous.

Approaching An Age Of Extremes

There’s also maintenance.  Dams look massive and unchangeable. But they’re subject to the ravages of time like we are (it just takes longer).  By 2020, more than 70% of all the dams in this country were more than 50 years old.  Really big hydropower dams like Hoover, Bonneville or Shasta are regularly inspected by federal authorities, but they’re the exception to the rule.  And even these kinds of massive structures are now being put to the test by more extreme weather events.  Oroville Dam in California faced disastrously sudden melting of a heavy snowpack in 2017. The result was an overloaded spillway, 200,000 residents evacuated and a repair bill north of $1 billion.  The May 2020 dam failure in Michigan and the collapse of Spencer Dam in Nebraska during 2019’s intense “bomb cyclone” are  examples of what can happen to older, smaller systems facing extreme stress without regular inspection.

Finally, dams have finite lives.  They may endure for centuries, but in the end, all reservoirs will fill with sediment.  In the Sierra Nevada, in hard rock terrain, a dam might endure millennia.  But in much of the American West, where soils erode easily and where flash floods roll car-sized boulders, it’s different.   Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado was completed in 1963. It created a reservoir that could hold 27 million acre-feet of water.  Today that reservoir – Lake Powell – can hold about 24.3 million acre-feet when full. That missing 10% – enough to cover 2.7 million acres with one foot of water – cannot be replaced, because there’s mud and sand where water used to be.  The original capacity of Lake Mead, behind Hoover, was 32 million acre-feet. Today it’s down to 25.8 million – a loss of almost 20%.  Ongoing drought, like the Colorado River basin is now experiencing, also limits electricity a dam can produce.  The deeper the water above the turbine, the greater the energy output – and vice-versa.  As reservoirs fall, so does potential power output.  In a region where entire states depend on these dams and lakes, and the power they produce, these physical limits are becoming visible.

While the big picture may look a bit bleak, boosting clean energy output using existing infrastructure may be possible – while stabilizing the grid at the same time.  At peak generation, California solar and wind power output is now so large that the state at times is forced to give away electricity.  What if that renewable energy could be used to pump water from the Colorado back up behind Hoover Dam to generate more power?  In effect, this would use the dam as a kind of battery, without the need for actual batteries.  It wouldn’t be cheap.  The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which supports the concept, estimates a cost of $3 billion, but these kinds of retrofits may be a path forward for enhanced hydropower generation and a more reliable electrical system.