2023 Sustainability Awards

In KCIC News by KCIC Admin

On October 26, KCIC hosted the 13th annual Sustainability Awards at the Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium. The Sustainability Awards recognize and promote sustainable practices implemented by businesses across the metro area — particularly those located in Kansas City’s industrial areas — but also those nominated by KCIC members. We’re thrilled to recognize businesses and organizations who are embracing sustainable thinking and helping build a more resilient Kansas City.

This year, we recognized 11 businesses in five different categories including a new category special to this year’s ceremony — the Sustainability Platinum Level award.

Congratulations to our 2023 Sustainability Award winners:

Sustainability – Silver Level

Kansas City Art Institute

The Kansas City Art Institute is one of the oldest and most respected colleges of art and design in the country. Utilizing grant funding and working with EMCOR Services Fagan, KCAI replaced 27 outdated and inefficient HVAC units across 5 buildings on its Warwick Boulevard Campus. Each of the old units contained ozone depleting R22 refrigerant, while the new units meet enhanced energy efficiency standards and include variable speed drives.

Sustainability – Silver Level

MidAmerica Nazarene University

MidAmerica Nazarene University’s facilities department is responsible for 32 buildings, many original to the university’s opening in 1966. The Mabee Learning Center is one of the largest buildings on campus and underwent an HVAC retrofit of a boiler/chiller plant with updated digital controls that allow for better occupant comfort and energy efficiency. The university added the Mabee Learning Center onto the newer open-ended controls platform they use for other facilities by contracting with EMCOR Services Fagan. MNU invested $160,000 to add Mabee to the new platform and plans to integrate more buildings to this platform in the near future.

Sustainability – Gold Level


Bayer manufactures or formulates more than 120 crop protection products at its Kansas City facility and has an active, robust sustainability program. A focus of their sustainability efforts has been waste reduction — with 13 projects completed in the last 5 years. These efforts have resulted in reducing an impressive 40 million pounds of waste each year.

Bayer’s most recent initiative, led by Navneet Singh and the Environmental and Utility Services plant team, was to find a way to reduce its usage of Butanol — a solvent for two active ingredients Bayer uses in manufacturing. Through process optimization and with no capital investment, the team was successful in reducing its use of Butanol by 1.75 million pounds per year! The project will save the plant $1.7 million per year.

In addition to its waste reduction projects, the plant purchases more than 94% of its annual on-site electricity from renewable resources and is working towards achieving climate neutrality by 2030.

Sustainability – Gold Level

Catalent Pharma Solutions

Catalent’s sustainability initiatives focus on mitigating environmental impacts by reducing their carbon footprint through operational efficiency, eliminating waste and conserving water.

Catalent has been a consistent participant in Evergy’s Business Energy Savings program, and has completed more than 10 projects, resulting in over 2.2 million kilowatt hours in energy savings for their facilities. This past year alone, Catalent completed three separate projects — one being the replacement of a 28-year-old, 650-ton chiller with a new 800-ton chiller. This  upgrade will save their facility nearly one million kilowatt hours of energy use annually and is one of Evergy’s largest rebate projects for 2023.

Along with their many projects, Catalent held a global-wide treasure hunt in all its facilities to increase employee awareness about the company’s conservation efforts. Catalent aims to reduce carbon emissions 42% by the end of 2030, to reduce general water intensity and to have zero waste sent to landfills by the end of 2024.

Sustainability – Gold Level

The City of Kansas City

The City of Kansas City is officially LEED Gold certified! LEED for Cities helps local leaders create and operationalize responsible, sustainable and specific plans for many factors such as natural systems, energy, water, waste and transportation. The LEED framework encompasses social, economic and environmental performance indicators with a clear, data-driven means of benchmarking. This allows cities to credibly track progress toward their overall sustainability objectives and compare their progress with other cities around the world.

The City achieved a score of 66 out of 110, earning its Gold certification. The most significant strategies that contributed to their certification include:

  • The city’s commitment to develop comprehensive strategies and risk assessments to address existing and future natural and man-made hazards.
  • A commitment to a low carbon economy — demonstrated through an annually consistent decrease in its Greenhouse Gas Intensity from 2018 to 2020.
  • A focus on community-centered approaches to environmental health, food access and local economic development.
  • The City’s commitment to create a sustainable and efficient water supply infrastructure for its residents and businesses were also key factors in earning this certification.

Sustainability – Gold Level


CBRE manages 20 of the 29 buildings that make up Corporate Woods in Overland Park. Each building is different in design and many still have their original heating and cooling systems. This can make upgrading HVAC equipment complicated, even without sustainability in mind. However, knowing that chillers and pumps are traditionally the highest energy users in a building, CBRE chose to upgrade to a line of high-efficiency chillers and boilers with updated direct digital controls and variable frequency drives. These enhanced controls allow the equipment to work at the right capacity to deliver comfortable temperatures to building occupants. CBRE invested nearly $1.3 million across their three latest building upgrades.

Sustainability – Gold Level


IodiTech is an iodine manufacturing company that fuels a diverse set of industries ranging from food to healthcare to fashion. Since the company’s founding in 2003, IodiTech has made efforts to lessen its impact on the environment through a robust recycling program, special customer incentives to reuse packing materials and logistical processes that have drastically reduced water usage.

However, the installation of three new solar arrays by Artisun Solar on the roof of its sprawling 32,000-square-foot facility has dramatically furthered IodiTech’s commitment to sustainability. With a combined size of 380 kilowatts, the project will offset an estimated 9,556 metric tons of CO2 emissions, roughly equal to more than 23 million miles driven by an average car. Over the coming decades, IodiTech is projected to save over $2.2 million in energy costs with roughly $25,000 in savings within the first year of installation.

Sustainability – Gold Level

Northwest Missouri State University

Located in Maryville, Missouri, Northwest Missouri State has been an active participant in Evergy’s Energy Efficiency and Business Demand Response programs for the past two years. Their efficiency projects encompassed retro-commissions in addition to HVAC and lighting improvements that will help the university achieve over 1.1 million kilowatt hours in energy savings.

By participating in Evergy’s Demand Response program (which reduces electricity use at times of peak demand), the university has achieved upwards of 700 kilowatts in demand reduction. This has helped lessen the carbon impact on their community, bolster grid resiliency and reduce electricity costs for the entire northwestern Missouri community.

Their efforts extend beyond energy — their annual recycling tally includes over 1.6 million pounds of cardboard, 300,000 pounds of paper, 200,000 pounds of food waste composted and 100,000 pounds of plastic.

Sustainability – Platinum Level

Kansas City International Airport

From the initial design process to its day-to-day operation, sustainability has been an integral focus of the new Kansas City International Airport. The project team put sustainability at the forefront of every decision, which resulted in the airport earning a LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The new terminal provides an 18% energy cost savings compared to the industry baseline through LED lighting, high-efficiency HVAC equipment and smart building controls. More than 85% of all construction waste was diverted from the landfill by pulverizing waste from the old terminal and using it in the construction of the new terminal base. Light gray concrete was prioritized over dark asphalt for all parking and road surfaces to minimize the heat island impact. This is just a sampling of all the airport’s great achievements that contributed to their LEED Gold certification. We applaud them for being one of the first LEED Gold certified airports in the United States!

Stewardship Award

Solarize KC

The Stewardship Award recognizes a significant ongoing commitment to promoting environmental stewardship and sustainability in Kansas City. This year, we honored Solarize KC with this award.

Solarize Kansas City is a public-private coalition consisting of the City of Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City Public Library, Metropolitan Energy Center, USGBC – Central Plains, Sierra Club Missouri Chapter, Center for Neighborhoods, Climate & Energy Project, Greenwood Consulting Group, MY REGION WINS!, Solar Crowdsource and additional community leadership.

Solarize KC is a unique community-based campaign that made solar energy and battery storage more affordable to participants through group purchasing. Solarize KC promoted a low-income grant program for income-eligible homes in KCMO, and through this campaign 657 free solar estimate requests were made. A total of 101 contracts were signed to install nearly one megawatt of solar along with 54 kilowatts of battery backup. This is the equivalent of avoiding more than 1.3 million pounds of CO2 annually, or close to the sequestration efficiency of 20,000 trees!

Gold Level Innovation Award

KC Water

Our Innovation Award honors a business using innovative solutions for sustainability in our community. This year’s award recognizes KC Water’s Annual Sewer Rehabilitation Program — an innovative, risk-based effort to investigate and execute preventative rehabilitation and emergency repairs to Kansas City’s aging sewer system.

The City owns more than 2,800 miles of sewer pipes, some of which are more than 150 years old. This program uses a four-step process to maintain the system, which includes:

  • Collecting and assessing data annually
  • Prioritizing by identifying assets by risk
  • Evaluating and developing projects
  • Execution by reinspecting, rehabilitating, replacing, or cleaning the asset.

One of the most innovative aspects of the program is the risk model, which creates a Business Risk Exposure using Consequence of Failure and Likelihood of Failure scores. Utilizing a risk-based model and with a total annual budget of $20-25 million, the City proactively identifies the highest risk sewer assets in order to allocate funds to plan and execute repairs where they are needed most. Learn more at kcsmartsewer.us/ASR