Roeland Park approves agreement with Dynamhex for carbon emission tracking services

Mike Kelly Roeland Park

Roeland Park Mayor Mike Kelly, with input from the entire governing body, drafted the racial equity resolution. Councilmembers were tasked with gathering input from constituents in an effort to include various viewpoints in the resolution, which is currently in its first draft. File photo.

The Roeland Park city council on Monday evening approved an agreement for carbon emission tracking services with Dynamhex.

Roeland Park is one of the first municipalities to use Dynamhex’s software, which tracks the city’s, residents’ and business owners’ carbon footprints in real time — and can offer solutions and potential impacts of those solutions. For the first year, services provided by Dynamhex will cost the city $6,000 and $2,000 for subsequent years. If city staff decides it wants to explore additional services, ones that Dynamhex needs to devote more hours to, the maximum for subsequent years is $4,000.

Mayor Mike Kelly said this opportunity will not only help the city save money in the future, but it also coincides with the most recent citizen satisfaction survey: Over 70% of residents said the city should increase opportunities for energy efficiency in city buildings and increase the use of renewable energy, while decreasing use of fossil fuels.

“By taking these opportunities and by maximizing the opportunities that come to the city of Roeland Park, we are directly adhering to direction that our residents provided for us,” Kelly said.

After the initial presentation by Dynamhex Chief Executive Officer Sunny Sanwar, the governing body and city attorney sent additional questions to city staff to be answered by Dynamhex. Those questions and answers are available in city documents, found here.

Ward 1 Councilmember Tom Madigan voted in opposition of the agreement because he still had questions about it, and because he wanted to see the entire list of potential add-ons the city may request from Dynamhex.

Councilmember Tom Madigan asked how Dynamhex would be gathering data, and if the company would be looking at any personal information. Dynamhex representative Patrick Hosty said the company uses multiple sources including data from the county, but does not sift through utility bills or personal information.

Hosty said the software can determine the carbon footprints much quicker than what may take typical studies and consultant years to complete. The timeline projects a final greenhouse gas report — and a platform available to the entire Roeland Park community — to be completed by June or July 2020, according to city documents. Assistant City Administrator Jennifer Jones Lacy said this software is beneficial because it shows what the city’s carbon footprint is in real time, and can be updated annually.

“The one thing about this software is that it’s all so dynamic,” Jones Lacy said. “It’s more real-time as opposed to just a snapshot in time that you do say, in 2018, and then you get around to making some additional changes five, 10 yesars later — that information ends up being somewhat out of date.”

Councilmember Jim Kelly asked how the data and software will benefit the city. Jones Lacy said it can help the city council and staff set goals on carbon footprint reduction, and offer recommendations as to how to reduce its footprint. Additionally, she said it’s more cost effective for the city compared to hiring a consultant to take inventory of greenhouse gas emissions because it is an on-going service.

Prior to the vote, Madigan said he was voting in opposition not because he doesn’t support the efforts, but because he still has questions about the services and wanted to see the list of potential add-ons the city may request from Dynamhex. The city council approved the agreement, with opposition from Madigan and Jim. Councilmember Trisha Brauer was absent.