A buildings upgrade prize supported community-led transformation of existing buildings into more energy-efficient spaces that are ready for clean energy.
Looking to get involved in this initiative for healthy buildings? Use the form at the end of this article to be included in community planning.
Kansas City, Mo. (October 23, 2023) – Acting in partnership with the Kansas City Public Library to improve local buildings, Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) was awarded $400,000 from the U. S. Department of Energy’s Building Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP). The team is one of 45 across the U.S. benefitting from over $22 million in cash prizes and technical assistance for community project planning. Buildings UP aims to support community-led transformation of existing buildings into more energy-efficient spaces that are ready for clean energy upgrades.
Under the guidance of MEC’s Energy Solutions Hub, the project will leverage federal funding to help local library systems work with community leaders to plan upgraded energy-efficient libraries. These upgrades will complement community-developed, community-approved experiential learning exhibits about energy efficiency. Public libraries reflect the cultures familiar to the communities they serve, an approach that guarantees meaningful reach of important information that improves lives. During extreme weather events, local populations also use library buildings to take shelter. This pilot project will be a scalable, equitable initiative that will impact community members across the Kansas City region, influencing practices across the U.S.
Mary English, MEC’s building performance program manager, said, “This project will unlock people’s lived expertise to influence building improvements affecting heath and quality of life. We are excited to see public libraries delivering these experiential learning exhibits across the region, and someday nationwide.”
Kelly Gilbert, MEC’s executive director, said, “MEC is only effective toward real change when we defer to our region’s varied communities—their experiences of how energy affects their lives give us fuel to drive progress together.”
Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-03) said in support of the initiative, “Through the bipartisan infrastructure law and other climate-smart legislation, we can now make our libraries in the KC area more energy efficient. This will decrease energy costs, reduce carbon emissions, and improve indoor air quality for all folks working or gathering at a public library. I’m glad I could support these projects here at home.”ssss
You can influence your library’s involvement in this initiative by signing up to help using the form below.
About MEC: Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates resource efficiency, environmental health, and economic vitality in the Kansas City region – and beyond. The Energy Solutions Hub, as part of the building performance department, informs and supports building owners and their occupants to promote healthy and sustainable buildings in our region. Throughout our 40-year history, MEC has served as a catalyst for environmental and economic vitality of America’s Heartland. We are the only nonprofit in the Kansas City area dedicated to reversing climate change through the reduction of emissions produced in the transportation and building sectors—the two largest sources of greenhouse gases in the U.S.
About the Buildings Upgrade Prize: The Buildings Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP) provides more than $22 million in cash prizes and technical assistance to support the transformation of existing U.S. buildings into more energy-efficient and clean energy-ready homes, commercial spaces, and communities. Buildings UP is an American-Made Challenge funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office and administered by the National Renewable energy Laboratory.