For good reasons, cutting energy bills is often a high priority for businesses in Kansas City. If they can reduce their use of electricity and natural gas, companies have more money to funnel to other priorities — such as hiring new employees.
Now a new, three-year program recently endorsed at City Hall could help reinforce needed efforts by large businesses — and the city of Kansas City — to install more efficient lights, windows, and heating and cooling systems.
The positive result could be plenty of savings on energy costs for the private and public sectors. The project has another encouraging goal: Trim harmful emissions by energy producers, such as coal plants, that are leading to climate change.
Kansas City is among 10 cities chosen for the program out of almost two dozen applicants around the country. The City Energy Project is run by two private groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation.
A privately paid employee, based at City Hall, is expected to provide guidance for how the city and local businesses that have expressed interest in the program can use energy more efficiently.
Ultimately, some tax dollars likely will be used to retrofit public buildings. City officials should ensure that these funds can be recouped fairly quickly through projected savings on energy expenses, preferably within four to six years.
After that, the savings could add up into the millions of dollars for the city and for major companies, giving them an incentive to stay and expand in Kansas City.