A Tale of Two Missouri Cities Reveals State’s Divide in Energy Policy

May 29, 2020
St. Louis Arch at Sunrise
By pabrady63

St. Louis and Kansas City may be in the same state, but the two cities in Missouri couldn’t be further apart when it comes to energy policy. While St. Louis has adopted one of the most comprehensive building energy policies, routine updates to Kansas City’s building energy codes face opposition from local home builders, according to Energy News Network. The difference in their adoption of new standards lies in three factors: outreach, flexibility, and buyer demographics. Advocates in St. Louis used outreach tactics highlighting the benefits of energy efficiency in buildings to win over its constituents who were already influenced by the nearby Illinois policy, and the city created a flexible schedule so the switch wouldn’t overburden its residents and builders. On the other hand, home builders in Kansas City fear that stricter energy standards could price out potential buyers in their market and force builders to find new areas to build.

St. Louis, Missouri, made headlines this month for adopting one of the country’s most ambitious building energy policies.

Meanwhile, across the state in Kansas City, a routine building energy code update is again facing resistance before the City Council.

What’s the difference besides 250 miles or so? St. Louis officials credit early outreach and engagement along with flexibility in the final policy for helping to win over homebuilders, who have largely supported the steps in that city while their peers in Kansas City put up resistance to code changes. 

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