Roeland Park to consider purchasing carbon emission tracking services

Roeland Park Mayor Mike Kelly, who is also a key Climate Action KC leader, said the city would be a trailblazer if the city council approves this purchase.

The Roeland Park city council on Monday will consider purchasing carbon emission tracking services from Dynamhex for $6,000 in year one and $2,000 to $4,000 in subsequent years “depending on the level of intervention needed from” Dynamhex staff, according to city documents.

Dynamhex Chief Executive Office Sunny Sanwar presented the software to the city council earlier this month and outlined the way in which Roeland Park would utilize the software. If approved, Roeland Park would be one of the first municipalities to use Dynamhex’s software. Sanwar said the software — which is based off of his PhD research at the University of Missouri at Kansas City — would help Roeland Park understand the city’s carbon footprint, and offer personalized solutions on how to reduce its footprint.

“This type of trackability is unheard of as cities try to reduce their emissions, not just in the U.S., but worldwide,” Sanwar said. “Our solution helps Roeland park meet their regional goals, and also helps each one of you understand what you should be doing personally to fight this local battle.”

Carbon footprint tracking for residents, business

Not only would the software track the city’s overall carbon emissions, it would also help individual residents, local businesses or even larger businesses like Walmart or Price Chopper to see their own carbon footprint. Residents, business owners and city staff could log into the site to view a breakdown of their footprint and see personalized solutions, Sanwar said.

Additionally, the software allows the city to see carbon emission data in real time. Sanwar said this piece helps city decision-makers to make choices in relation to climate change based on real time data rather than data that is 4-years-old. Mayor Mike Kelly, who is also a key Climate Action KC leader, said the software tackles an issue that city staff couldn’t handle.

“There’s a lot to be put into such a footprint in terms of the staff time, in terms of the volunteer hours and just the man power that would go into have to do our own emissions inventory,” Kelly said. “It’s outside of the possibility of Roeland Park by ourselves, unless we were to focus just on that and nothing else.”

In response to a question posed by Councilmember Michael Rebne, Sanwar said Dynamhex could estimate the impact different transportation modes such as higher walkability and bike paths could have on the city’s footprint. Councilmember Jan Faidley asked if there would be an opportunity to incentivize participation, and Sanwar said he expects engagement to be higher than normal because the software was designed to be user-friendly and local.

Kelly said that implementing the software could help Roeland Park expedite its timeline for proof of concept in planning for climate resilience or adaptation. Additionally, it bodes well that the city has an opportunity to be a trailblazer with this software that would help save money down the road, he said.

“If this costs us $6,000, we’ll save that and then more by implementing good actions,” Kelly said. “More importantly than that, we don’t stay inactive. The cost of doing nothing cities are going to come to see is exponential, and by being proactive and preparing ourselves, it sets Roeland Park up in a better place.”

Councilmember Tom Madigan made a motion to further discuss the topic at a future governing body workshop meeting, and said he was not comfortable jumping into the partnership just yet. Councilmember Jennifer Hill amended Madigan’s motion to consider purchasing the software during the new business section of the March 2 city council meeting. Hill’s motion was approved, with opposition from Madigan and Faidley.