KANSAS CITY, MO (May 2, 2024)

As Kansas City debates the future of its building codes, Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) urges lawmakers to consider what’s at stake: the safety, health, and long-term affordability of our homes. Kansas City’s current energy code not only ensures new and renovated homes and buildings meet modern safety and energy standards but also keeps utility bills low and living conditions healthy.

With a recent proposed ordinance set to push the code back to 2012 levels, MEC is asking council leaders to consider the health and safety risks to most Kansas City residents if the rollback is allowed to pass.

“Strong building codes are not bureaucratic red tape; they are safeguards that ensure every home built in Kansas City is a safe and cost-effective place for us and our children to thrive,” said Kelly Gilbert, MEC’s Executive Director. “Lowering our standards threatens public health and raises long-term costs for both homeowners and renters — it undermines our community’s resiliency.”

Why Building Codes Help Everyday People

Health and Safety: Updated codes mean new and renovated homes will be able to handle extreme weather, reducing health emergencies during heat waves and cold snaps. They also ensure better air quality and indoor climate control, crucial to saving the lives of asthmatic children and the elderly, as well as anyone with a chronic illness sensitive to mold, respiratory issues, and more.

Economic Savings: Energy-efficient homes reduce utility bills — enough to give relief to your wallet. With a home updated to meet KCMO’s current energy code, you could save hundreds in utility cost per year.

Community Impact: Strong codes drive quality construction, bring quality jobs, and ensure more Kansas City homes, new and renovated, owned and rented, are future proofed.

Technological Relevance: The new energy code incorporates knowledge and technology to keep the Kansas City region updated and relevant.

Your Voice Counts

As the KCMO City Council discusses loosening building codes to relieve strains on builders and developers, your voice is important. Let’s not cut corners when health and safety is at stake. Reach out to your council members. Attend the Finance, Governance, and Public Safety Committee meeting on Tuesday, May 14. Show your support for keeping strong building codes that protect everyone with a home.

“Every email, every call, and every raised hand at a council meeting adds up,” said Mary English, Buildings Department Manager at MEC. “Let’s remind our leaders that quality homes mean good health and safety. They need to know that cheaper construction causes higher utility bills at home. Rolling back the code is simply bad for Kansas City.”

For more information on how you can get involved, visit metroenergy.org/energy-code-faq.

About Metropolitan Energy Center:

Metropolitan Energy Center is a non-profit organization that has been working since 1983 to promote energy efficiency, environmental health, and economic vitality in the Kansas City region. MEC believes in building a sustainable future through community education, advocacy, and partnership.


Architects inspecting plans
KANSAS CITY, MO (April 25, 2024)

Amid the rising steel frames and freshly poured foundations of Kansas City’s bustling construction sites, a pressing debate has emerged over the true cost of building to the city’s newly updated energy code. While one vocal local professional association has recently been speaking publicly about staggering $30,000 average per-home cost increases due to updated building codes, ongoing code compliance work by building professionals partnered with Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) has revealed more grounded estimates of about $10,000 in increased costs. 

This stark contrast raises questions about the real economic impact of these codes on housing affordability, commercial building costs, and construction pace. Public complaints that the recent code update has led to a permits backlog and a construction slowdown do not tell the whole story. In fact, current codes provide builders and contractors with multiple shovel-ready paths to affordably meeting codes requirements. 

Most of the complaints are focused on only one choice for compliance — the strict Prescriptive Path. But that choice is not the only one. Metro-wide today, builders and contractors also use the Performance Path. This customizable option not only follows all recently updated building codes, it also has long provided an efficient and affordable way forward for new and existing construction projects. 

The Performance Path option was developed in earlier iterations of International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and is currently used by cities and counties across the metro and the state of Missouri. Projects use it to inexpensively tailor solutions that will achieve better Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores. A building’s HERS score reflects its ability to affordably maintain good occupant health and comfort. 

Existing Homes Can and Do Meet Code

The Performance Compliance Path isn’t only for new construction. Builders and contractors often upgrade existing building stock that also must meet updated codes. Mary English, Program Manager for building sciences at MEC, explains the need for this additional focus. “The majority of the Kansas City region’s residential units are in buildings constructed before the latest energy standards were conceived — therefore, retrofitting existing homes is equally important to improve overall public health. And there are very robust federal funds available to help pay contractors to do this work both in new construction and retrofits.” 

Existing property renovation can be more cost-effective than new construction. Even for retrofit projects, the Performance Compliance Path provides a practical, affordable way forward for builders and contractors. By improving older homes, contractors in the Kansas City region can make significant strides toward improving public health, while achieving smaller building carbon footprints. 

Dual Approach Means Healthier Residents

Builders and contractors are Kansas City’s heroes when they build energy-compliant new buildings and upgrade existing ones. These structural experts can prevent future occupant health problems and increase indoor comfort levels. 

Energy efficient buildings lead to good health. This concept is now widely accepted in the healthcare industry. A recent joint study by MEC and Children’s Mercy Kansas City indicated that asthmatic children living in energy-efficient homes experienced significantly fewer asthma-related medical emergencies. When building standards are followed, Kansas City residents have healthier living environments and lower healthcare costs. 

“Contractors who use the Performance Path can achieve great building quality, which in turn reduces long-term building occupancy costs,” said Kelly Gilbert, Executive Director of MEC. “It’s a strategic approach to ensuring that Kansas City’s new and existing structures are affordable, energy efficient, and healthy for everyone.” 

About Metropolitan Energy Center:

Metropolitan Energy Center is a non-profit organization based in Missouri, established in 1983. Through community partnerships and business relationships, MEC supports energy conservation projects that build resource efficiency, environmental health, and economic vitality. The organization provides extensive resources about rebates, tax credits, and financial assistance to anyone looking to upgrade a property. They want to see the benefits of building performance accessible to all people.

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Weatherization makes for better human health.

Nine out of ten breaths are taken indoors. It’s time we see efficient buildings as a key component to human health. Our children’s health and lives literally depend on it.

written by Mary A English

What is the first piece of technology that pops into your head when you think of energy efficient buildings? Is it solar panels on the roof? That is a common answer.  

Solar panels can be a freeing option for consumers that need a little more room in a tight household budget or want to make clean power, but solar panels do not make for energy efficiency per se. Solar panels provide energy generation. Efficiency is another word for conservation, which is the practice of making a building use less energy. Indeed, the cleanest energy is energy that we never use. There’s a lot of never-used energy involved when a building performs well.

Since joining the building performance industry in the mid-aughts – roughly sixteen years ago – I have seen firsthand how inefficient building features can lead to many painful problems in both residential and commercial buildings. Efficient building features, however, always seemed to lead to improvements in the lives of people who regularly used those buildings. One example of an energy efficient building feature is air sealing, which reduces drafts and heat loss by eliminating air leaks in the building around the chimney, plumbing penetrations, and recessed lights.

The Impact of Inefficient Building Features

Through the years, it became increasingly evident to me that building conditions are not the same across all areas of our metro. I realized that the benefits of energy efficiency need to reach a broader audience. But making that happen presented a challenge.

For building performance professionals there are four benefits of energy conservation that we can recite in our sleep: affordability, durability, comfort, and health. Comfort is usually the reason an energy professional is called by a homeowner to help. (Do you have a bedroom over your garage that is constantly hot in the summer; and cold in the winter, for example?) Affordability means that the cost of energy efficient upgrades can only be a reality for some customers. While all four benefits are important, it is the last one—health—that is most critical, yet services are not always achievable for those who desperately need that benefit.

The importance of energy upgrades for health is shown time and again, as more studies are done on the intersectionality of human health and building efficiency. With each study it is becoming clearer that our inefficient buildings may be the cause of much that physically ails humans—especially children.

A Case Study: The Link Between Weatherization and Childhood Asthma

One of these studies was published this summer by MEC in cooperation with Kansas City’s own Children’s Mercy Hospital (CMH) and the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC).[1] The results of the study indicate that weatherizing a home improves the health of children living in that home. Possible reasons could be that breathability of outdoor air matters, especially when that air comes inside, or that mold grows more commonly when outside air meets the air conditioned inside. Either way, something causes improvements in childhood asthma when a home is weatherized.

The research team used data from the wave of weatherization work MEC managed after passage of The Recovery Act in 2009. Most of the weatherization work done involved air sealing, insulation of the basement’s rim joist, and other energy efficiency improvements such as sealing around windows and doors (Wilson et al. 2023). During data analysis, CMH protected the personal identities of children and families, and economists from UMKC merged the MEC weatherization data with CMH childhood asthma data from the same homes to see if there was a significant link that changed the number of cases of childhood asthma in weatherized homes.

Then the research team compared that with a control group of homes constructed in all eras, even past 1983 (Wilson et al. 2023). This detail is a sign of good study design because most people think that homes built after 1983 complied with modern codes and were more energy efficient, but for most of our region’s municipalities, this is an incorrect assumption. The combined dataset was made up of single-family homes within Kansas City, MO city limits.

The strong correlation revealed in the results of this study turned out to be stunningly significant. The team’s analysis found that the weatherization program “reduced the frequency of pediatric asthma encounters for those children diagnosed with asthma residing in homes that received energy efficiency improvements” (Wilson et al. 2023). The difference between the weatherized set of homes and the control group where no weatherization was executed was a 34% reduction in hospital visits for asthma.

For building performance professionals who work in the field on existing buildings, this may not be surprising. Mold in energy deficient areas of buildings is not uncommon, for example. However, the significance of that statistic—the 34% of children who suffered less because of the energy efficiency upgrades—exceeded expectations for yours truly.

Implications for Policy and Codes

What do we do with this information? Well, first, good science means that this study will need further review. We have a strong correlation of reduced frequency and intensity of asthma attacks after weatherization, but more digging will need to be done by scientific peers to corroborate; and then to determine causation. Is the improved health because better insulation and air sealing keeps out poor outdoor air, like ozone? Or is it because it cuts down on condensation points (which can grow mold if undetected) that can occur when extreme weather seeps into buildings with conditioned air? We need answers. We at MEC hope this leads to further study.

In the meantime, however, this study supports those that advocate for better energy efficiency in our built environment. Policymakers can be assured that any improved codes policy—such as the passage of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in Kansas City, MO—is justified. And bonus! The timing of this report publication dovetails nicely with the rebates available to weatherize homes through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). It is up to those of us in the industry to guide consumers towards best practices as our region updates its buildings.

Addressing Renters and Existing Buildings

This is true especially when you know that roughly half of our residents in the entire metro are renters. A common counter from those opposed to more robust energy efficiency laws has been that only a few people want it, and those people can pay for energy efficiency in their new homes. Contrasting against that sentiment, this report begs a new question. Are renting families who have zero power over the energy features of their home to be left out of affordability, durability, comfort, and health?

And what about the home buyer that assumes the law protects them from inadequate construction practices across the country? The data shows that the codes followed in the era when the residential structure was built had no discernible effect on the impact of weatherization on asthma cases. Unfortunately, codes have not protected citizens in all cases. However, the evident strong correlation in this study made it clear: weatherization means fewer severe asthma attacks and generally less intense asthma incidents.

In Kansas City, MO, we are on the right track with a robust energy code passed in 2022 to protect consumers, at last, for new home construction. We now need to apply what we have learned in the existing buildings market. Training contractors on energy efficiency’s human impacts should be an industry priority. (We at MEC hope that other municipalities in our metro follow the City of KCMO’s lead as well.)

In summary, better energy efficiency leads to better health in the home. What, as a society, are we going to do now that we know? Do we ask car buyers to pay extra for seatbelts? No, they are mandatory because they protect the passengers. We shouldn’t ask residents to pay extra for healthy lives brought about through energy efficient buildings.

[1] Wilson N, Aloumon C, Tauheed L, Kennedy K. 2023. The Impact of a Weatherization Program on the Health Outcomes for Children with Asthma. Metropolitan Energy Center. [accessed October 23, 2023]; https://metroenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Health-Impacts-of-EWKC-Program-Activities.pdf

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Your donation helps scale new technologies—tools that are public-ready, but only utilized by people of moderate affluence at a minimum. Clean-energy technology is a game changer, not only for the planet, but also for small businesses and low-income households. Thank you for helping to broaden clean tech's horizons.
The wall outside Kansas City Public Library's Downtown Branch

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.

Guide energy advancement, right from your public library.
Get involved with your favorite library's efforts to plan upgrades, exhibits and public information programs.

July 12, 2023

Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) is pleased to announce we were one of 27 applicants to get the green light from the U.S. Department of Energy to provide workforce development in support of better building policy.

MEC brought together partnerships within their extensive and diverse multistate network of 30 regional, state, and local community partners—including two growing community-based organizations—to build a workforce of energy-efficiency-related vocations in disadvantaged communities in urban and rural areas across Kansas and Missouri.

The selection rewards months of collaboration in response to our region’s need to upgrade its aging buildings to be more efficient, durable and healthy for human habitation. The initiative intends to support communities’ efforts to adhere to best-practice energy efficient construction for new and existing buildings—buildings science practices that lead to better human health, comfort, affordability, and resiliency in built environments.

The construction industry is facing change after the City of Kansas City, MO led a recent effort to update critical energy policy in our region. Other municipalities are expected to follow suit, an additional workforce is needed to support these efforts. Unfortunately, adequate training for energy efficiency and building science haven’t always been available. This initiative corrects that issue.

“As technologies improve and the industry learns more about the connection between building efficiency and human health, it is imperative that every community has access to resources to implement updated building construction policies,” said Mary English, MEC’s Building Performance Program Manager. “Especially as extreme weather events intensify, creating a skilled labor force to work in building performance vocations will lead to better buildings, better jobs, and more liquidity in the communities that have been left out of economic benefits by similar programs in the past.”

MEC is eager to begin working on the project with partners to equip communities across Kansas and Missouri with safe and healthy places to live, work and play for years to come.

About the Bi-State Partnership: Our partnership includes these organizations: Beyond Housing; Boys and Girls Club of the Ozarks; Cabanne District Community Development Corporation; City of Columbia, Missouri; City of Kansas City, Missouri; Climate Action KC (Building Energy Exchange Kansas City); Climate + Energy Project; Hathmore Technologies; J. Gordon Community Development Corporation; Kansas City Kansas Community College; Kansas Department of Commerce and Office of Apprenticeship; LivZero, LLC; Mid-America Regional Council; Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance; Missouri Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs; Missouri Botanical Garden and EarthWays Center; Missouri Gateway Green Building Council; Building Energy Exchange St. Louis; Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development; Missouri University of Science and Technology; National Institute for Construction Excellence; RATERusa, LLC; Resiliency at Work 2.0 Career and Technical Education; State of Missouri, Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Energy; Strategic Workforce Development; University of Missouri – Columbia; Verdatek Solutions, LLC; Workforce Partnership (Kansas); Washington Wheatley Neighborhood Association. 

We are funded by readers like you. Even $5 helps expand clean energy access.
Your donation helps scale new technologies—tools that are public-ready, but only utilized by people of moderate affluence at a minimum. Clean-energy technology is a game changer, not only for the planet, but also for small businesses and low-income households. Thank you for helping to broaden clean tech's horizons.

Kansas City, Mo. (August 1, 2023)

Results from a new preliminary study indicate that weatherizing living spaces can dramatically improve children’s health by improving indoor air quality and reducing exposure to outdoor air pollutants. The research project came about due to previous work and research of the Children’s Mercy Kansas City (CMKC) Healthy Homes Program, where hospital staff witnessed positive health outcomes with many of their young asthma patients whose families had enrolled in the program and received home weatherization repairs.  

Dr. Elizabeth J. Friedman, MD, Medical Director of Environmental Health at CMKC said, “This is a great example of both how much our built environment can impact our health and why it is so important to consider our patients’ lives beyond our clinic walls.” 

Weatherization is a building upgrade process that keeps indoor air in and outdoor air out. A good weatherization upgrade keeps you safe and comfortable in your home, no matter what the weather is doing. For nearly a decade, Kansas City-based nonprofit Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) administered weatherization and energy efficiency renovations under various partnerships, including the City of Kansas City, MO’s EnergyWorks KC (EWKC) program. 

A research partnership with MEC, CMKC and the Center for Economic Information at the University of Missouri Kansas City (CEI) brought even bigger data to the table for a more comprehensive picture of potential health improvements. Staff at CMKC and CEI matched MEC-weatherized homes with CMKC historic health data for acute care visits in children with asthma living in the homes. A research database maintained by CMKC provided encounter-level historic pediatric asthma data, and the CEI team collected additional geographic and census data as part of the KC Health CORE research collaboration with CMKC. 

The team compared frequency and severity of healthcare visits before and after the upgrade and found “as much as a 33% reduction in the frequency of acute care visits for children with asthma” who resided in homes that received energy efficiency improvements. 

Kevin Kennedy, Environmental Health Program, Children’s Mercy Kansas City, said that for their patients’ families, the preliminary report indicates that “even if you participate in a program like this weatherization program just to make improvements to your home, and not because you were thinking about a health impact, there can also be big improvements in your health, especially if you have a chronic respiratory condition like asthma.” 

Kelly Gilbert, Executive Director of MEC said, “this stunning result demands more research to discover which home upgrades have the biggest impact on health, and we look forward to supporting that work in the future.” 

The research team is preparing to develop and submit a peer-reviewed academic report with the goal of publication in a research journal later this year. 

The preliminary report is available here.

We are funded by readers like you. Even $5 helps expand clean energy access.
Your donation helps scale new technologies—tools that are public-ready, but only utilized by people of moderate affluence at a minimum. Clean-energy technology is a game changer, not only for the planet, but also for small businesses and low-income households. Thank you for helping to broaden clean tech's horizons.

Going green with energy efficiency can put money back in your pocket.

written by MEC Clean Cities intern Drew Arends

In the past year or so, there has been a multitude of funding opportunities released to promote electric vehicle infrastructure. While some of this funding has been automatically allocated to state governments, the rest of it is available through a competitive grant application process. With so much funding available, the “how” in obtaining this funding can be difficult for the everyday person. With sales of electric vehicles surpassing one billion dollars to date, there is no better time to shed light on how federal funding can be achieved, especially for those in the heart of the Midwest.  

At Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC), a portion of the services we provide include consultations and grant writing services for anyone looking to find financial support for alternative fuel and energy efficiency projects. In this post, I will outline some helpful tips to find grants and three particular grants available for Missourians and Kansans.  

Climate Program Portal is one central location for key funding opportunities and developments related to large pieces of federal legislation, most notably the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). By enrolling in a free membership, you can have access to the details and deadlines behind various projects. When you become a member, the dashboard part of the site provides you with the most important information. For instance, as of (date of publication), there are 44 different requests for proposals (RFPs), requests for information (RFIs), and notices of intent (NOIs). These calls stem from a wide range of organizations, with the leaders being the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but closely followed by state agencies and the Department of Transportation (DOT). Further along the dashboard, you can find the specific details of each proposal, with links for more information providing additional insight under the “source” column.  

Currently, some of the biggest opportunities for Missourians and Kansans include the FRE, CRP, and the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grants programs.  

Freight Enhancement Program (FRE)  

The FRE program is open to public and private entities to construct non-roadway projects to improve freight efficiency in Missouri. All project awards are subject to approval of the $3.25m included in the legislative budget (HB4) that is signed by Gov. Parson. Applications are due by 5p.m. May 19, 2023. Projects must be completed and billed to MoDOT by 6/15/2024. 

A Call for Projects for the Carbon Reduction Program (CRP)  

Mid-America Regional Council is soliciting project proposals for the Federal Highway Administration’s Carbon Reduction Program (CRP) for Federal Fiscal Years 2022-2024. Eligible Applicants include local governments, transportation agencies and non-profits located within MARC’s MPO Boundary (Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, and Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri. MARC is providing office hours April 19, May 9 & 15 to answer any questions you may have. Project Applications are due May 19. 

Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program 

This program is divided into two categories: Community Programs and Corridor Programs. The Community Programs category is more of a general group meant to provide funding for projects along parks, schools, roads, and parking lots, while the Corridor Programs are meant to assist with more complex projects along designated alternative fuel corridors. The total amount available for recipients is around $700 million (FY 2022 $300 million and FY 2023 $400 million) and one of those recipients could be a Missourian or Kansan like you! Eligible applicants include states or political subdivisions of states; metropolitan planning organizations; units of local governments; special purpose districts or public authorities with a transportation function, including port authorities; Indian tribes; U.S. territories; and authorities, agencies, or instrumentalities or entities owned by one or more entities listed above. Applications must be submitted electronically through grants.gov no later than 11:59 p.m., eastern time, on Tuesday, May 30, 2023. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the deadline, set up an account and regularly monitor for updates.  


These are merely three examples of the many funding opportunities currently available. Representing various entities like nonprofits, local groups, state governments, and community-based organizations, they are a raindrop in the ocean compared to the numerous funding opportunities out there. As such, I recommend that for whatever reason you are seeking funding, you not only consult databases like Climate Program Portal, but the federal websites of places like the DOE, EPA, and DOT. Help is most definitely here, and it is the pleasure of those of us at MEC to help you find what you’re looking for. Our bi-weekly newsletter consistently provides you with information regarding funding, and our social media accounts (Twitter @KCCleanCities and @MetroEnergyKC; Instagram @metroenergykc ; Facebook @MetropolitanEnergyCenter) supply real-time updates. Of course, our services with grant writing and consultations go beyond these briefs and give you the opportunity to work alongside us.  

With the right insight and partnership, your idea could be the next recipient of funding to advance sustainability efforts in your own community! For more information regarding ongoing funding opportunities, check out this page for follow-up blog posts, and sign up for our Clean Cities newsletter to follow all relevant updates and new funding opportunities.   


Author Bio: Drew Arends has been a Sustainable Transportation Intern at Metropolitan Energy Center since November 2022. His primary efforts have involved newsletter production, campaign development, and community outreach. In his work, he has encountered several instances of funding opportunities, a few of which are highlighted in this blog piece. As Drew studies abroad for the next few months, he looks forward to contributing to the efforts of MEC through blog posts like these. 

We are funded by readers like you. Even $5 helps expand clean energy access.
Your donation helps scale new technologies—tools that are public-ready, but only utilized by people of moderate affluence at a minimum. Clean-energy technology is a game changer, not only for the planet, but also for small businesses and low-income households. Thank you for helping to broaden clean tech's horizons.

written by MEC Greater Kansas Clean Cities coordinator Jenna Znamenak

This article chronicles recent efforts by Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) and its Clean Cities Coalitions to make electric vehicle operations a reality in areas that are often left out of new connectivity trends. 

To a person who has always lived in a highly populated city, connectivity is a daily reality. Cities get the fastest internet, the most cell coverage, and more nicely paved trafficways. But for the 20% of the population of the United States who live in rural areas, equal connectivity has never been the norm. 

As reported in the January/February issue of the Kansas Government Journal by Mike Scanlon, City Manager of Osawatomie, Kansas, “It is no secret that rural communities are historically left behind when the United States adopts the latest technology.” And in recent months, more rural leaders are seeing a potential pitfall that could widen the access gap for their communities: the advancement of electric vehicles (EVs). 

As the latest consumer-use scenarios are analyzed and early-adopter reviews roll in, the reality is clear: EVs cost less money to fuel and to maintain than their gasoline-fueled counterparts. And with the recent monumental increases in grants and tax incentives for EV purchases, governments are becoming much more interested in EV funding pipelines than they are in vehicles fueled by oil pipelines. But urban and suburban governments are making the switch much faster than rural governments. 

Scanlon is not surprised, but he is hopeful that this time rural America can keep up with the trend. “By 2030 the federal government proposed that half of all new cars sold in the U.S. will be zero-emission vehicles, with 50,000 electric charging networks. By proactively supporting rural EV development now, we can prevent history from repeating itself.” His article in the Kansas Government Journal, co-written with MEC’s Central Kansas Clean Cities Coalition coordinator Jenna Znamenak, prepares rural leaders with real facts and funding connections so they can stay in the fight to stay connected. 

The most exciting grants on the list are the ones that get rid of nitrous-oxide-producing diesel school buses by helping school districts convert to EVs, for little to no cost to the schools. “These grants replace older school buses with electric school buses to reduce harmful emissions around children,” says Central Kansas Clean Cities coordinator Jenna Znamenak. But she says there are enough programs available through MEC’s grant assistance to help more institutions than just schools involved with the national sea-change. 

For many rural leaders, adapting to standardizing trends sounds like “small budgets with not much room for experimentation, time constraints that do not allow us the ability to learn about technology, and grant opportunities that can look like a 10-acre corn maze,” says Scanlon. “That’s why we’re here for you—we’ve helped connect local communities and fleets to easier funding for clean energy for the past 40 years,” says Znamenak, referring to MEC’s stockpile of resource-accessing tricks and their dependable grant assistance services. 

See the original article published in the Kansas Government Journal here

To stay current on all available funding, sign up for MEC’s free newsletter at metroenergy.org/newsletter-sign-up. To talk to an expert about your next clean energy project, call 816-531-7283.

We are funded by readers like you. Even $5 helps expand clean energy access.
Your donation helps scale new technologies—tools that are public-ready, but only utilized by people of moderate affluence at a minimum. Clean-energy technology is a game changer, not only for the planet, but also for small businesses and low-income households. Thank you for helping to broaden clean tech's horizons.

This morning, the U.S Supreme Court issued an opinion on the case West Virginia v. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). The decision drastically limits the power of the EPA to interpret, dictate, and enforce policies that help protect our environment under the Clean Air Act of 1970.

With the majority of our city’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from the built environment and transportation, Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) conducts crucial programs that help reduce emissions to make the Kansas City region safe, healthy, and energy efficient for all.

MEC remains dedicated to our mission: “creating resource efficiency, environmental health, and economic vitality in the Kansas City region and beyond.” To learn more about our work, please visit our website at metroenergy.org. We look forward to continued work with our community partners, stakeholders, and EPA Region 7.

We are funded by readers like you. Even $5 helps expand clean energy access.
Your donation helps scale new technologies—tools that are public-ready, but only utilized by people of moderate affluence at a minimum. Clean-energy technology is a game changer, not only for the planet, but also for small businesses and low-income households. Thank you for helping to broaden clean tech's horizons.
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