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2020 in Review: Energy efficiency & sustainability

2020 in Review: Energy efficiency & sustainability
Posted on 01/21/2021
The City of Lenexa pursued several initiatives, some new, some long-standing, to help protect our climate and natural resources through 2020.

Climate Action Playbook to serve as planning resource

In August, 2020, the Lenexa City Council accepted the Climate Action Playbook developed by Climate Action KC, a community partnership dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a thriving, climate-resilient Kansas City metro region.

The Playbook includes recommended actions as policies to reduce pollution and its negative effects, plus provides a menu of ideas ready to implement at the local level. The recommended actions are built around six areas:

  • Buildings and cities
  • Electricity generation
  • Food
  • Land use
  • Materials
  • Transportation

The Playbook encourages local governments to choose strategies appropriate for their jurisdiction by taking into account city resources (staffing and fiscal) and stakeholder perspectives. Strategies at the local level can include leading by example, public outreach and education, new programs, encouraging action by the private sector or code amendments and policies.

The Governing Body will use the Playbook as a guide and menu of strategies to consider as opportunities arise for policies, codes and other City actions related to climate change.

LED streetlight replacement program

The City of Lenexa owns 8,299 streetlights on road and in City-owned parking lots, and leases 162 lights from Evergy. By the end of 2020, 98% of our streetlights have been converted to LED. The remaining 2% will be replaced as part of upcoming projects will be replaced as part of upcoming projects in spring and summer 2020.

Over the last five years, we've installed LED streetlights as part of 80 public improvement projects. These new lights have provided brighter, safer streets while saving energy, money and maintenance time. 

Dumpster Days

Lenexa hosted two Dumpster Days weekends at the Municipal Services Service Center on July 18-19 and Oct. 2-4. At these two events, 866 vehicles dropped off large items like furniture, yard waste and many items that could be recycled. Municipal Services staff took 20.79 tons of steel and 15.71 tons of e-waste collected at these events to appropriate recycling facilities. 

Greenhouse operations yield thousands of native blooms and grasses

Our crews grew more than 15,000 plants from seed or seedlings in the City’s greenhouses in 2020. Staff collected seeds from plants on City-owned property and grew them in polyhouses over the winter. Once mature, the perennials were used in street medians, flowerbeds, rain gardens and bioretention cells on City property. Compared to purchasing plants from a nursery, the City saved about $70,000. Lenexa is one of few cities in the area to operate a greenhouse that grows plants at this scale.

Rain gardens

New rain gardens at City Center and Bois D’Arc Park provide eco-friendly stormwater management, food for pollinators and beauty for the surrounding area. Filled with swamp milkweed, butterfly milkweed, blue lobelia and cardinal flower, they were popular with monarch butterflies this fall. Learn to build your own rain garden at Lenexa.com/CostShare.

Curbside compost discounts

To encourage residents to keep food waste out of landfills, the City of Lenexa negotiated 30% discounts with two curbside compost providers. You can sign up for the reduced rate at CompostCollectiveKC.com or FoodCycleKC.com.

Published January 21, 2021