Kansas City joins group of eight global cities innovating energy efficiency in buildings to combat climate change

Kansas City joins group of eight global cities innovating energy efficiency in buildings to combat climate change

Building Energy Exchange KC (BEEx-KC) is excited to announce that the Urban Land Institute (ULI) has selected the Kansas City metropolitan area to join seven other global cities in a multi-year cohort to transform their real estate into buildings with net zero carbon emissions. Other cities include Austin, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Beijing, China; San Jose, California; Shenzhen, China; and Toronto, Canada. The multi-year cohort model will allow these cities the opportunity to collaborate and share best practices and collective resources.

A changing landscape

The ULI Net Zero Imperative (funded by Owen Thomas, CEO of Boston Properties and Global Chair of ULI), is a recognition that cities, countries, investors and tenants need to work together to decarbonize their buildings. Buildings are the largest contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in urban areas, and decarbonization is playing a growing role in the real estate industry today.

Leading investors are now including environmental, social and governance factors (ESG) in their real estate debt and equity considerations. Tenants include it in their leasing decisions. And many regulators continue to incorporate a path to net zero emissions into their building codes and regulations for both new and existing buildings. A goal of this initiative is to bring the private sector and city governments together on policy and incentives that can help accelerate investment in net zero practices.

What is a TAP?

Technical Assistance Panels (TAPs) link local public agencies and nonprofit organizations to the expert knowledge and experience of ULI members. TAPs have been successful nationwide because of a comprehensive and pragmatic approach to solving land use challenges. Local examples of projects born out of TAPs programs are Barney Allis Plaza Redevelopment and the Imagine Downtown KC 2030 Strategic Plan.

ULI’s Net Zero initiative will fund a two-day TAP to provide strategic advice to sponsors on complex land use and real estate development issues. The panel’s analysis will be summarized in a report filled with concrete ideas and actions for real estate owners, public sector leaders and the general public.

BEEx-KC Executive Director, Ashley Sadowski, has worked in close collaboration with partner organizations and ULI on the Kansas City district’s local proposal:

Local partners such as Building Energy Exchange KC and LISC will look to TAP expertise for how particular lending tools can effectively move the market towards high-performance buildings. These lending tools could apply to a variety of market sectors, but no other market is more critical for improving regional well-being than housing.

High-performance housing is seen on the national level as a tool for addressing social inequity by lessening utility burdens, improving indoor air quality and embedding community resiliency.

Local partners would like to understand the positive impact net zero practices could have on our local housing market for both current and future residents.”

-Ashley Sadowski, BEEx-KC Executive Director

A big step forward for local climate action

Decarbonization of buildings is at the heart of our Kansas City Regional Climate Action Plan. In coordination with the Mid-America Regional Council and Climate Action KC’s annual climate summit in April 2022, the presentation of the findings from the TAP will be presented to a wide audience of summit attendees. Expected to bring in several hundred people including political leaders and international representation, the summit provides an exceptional opportunity to highlight the findings of the TAP to a broad and influential audience.

About Building Energy Exchange KC (BEEx-KC)

An initiative of Climate Action KC, BEEx-KC strives to transform the built environment by convening the professional expertise, funding and technical support needed to drive down the cost of inefficient buildings, improve the health of our communities, and transition to a net zero regional economy.

Call for participation

BEEx-KC needs experts across buildings, real estate, sustainability and policy to inform the recommendations for a roadmap to zero. If you are interested in participating in this initiative, please reach out to asadowski@marc.org.