BE-Ex KC Backstory
Building Energy Exchange Kansas City (BE-Ex KC for short) was borne out of joint efforts by Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) and Climate Action KC to help the region achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The formation of BE-Ex KC has been guided by the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) with generous financial support from the Leon Lowenstein Foundation and Evergy to initiate its launch.
In partnership with over 150 elected leaders and 1000 volunteers, Climate Action KC and MARC developed a Regional Climate Action Plan that was subsequently adopted by the MARC Board of Directors in March 2021. The plan conveys a comprehensive strategy heavily influenced by community input, the lessons of Project Drawdown, and the needs of our most vulnerable communities.
The plan developed a Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) Inventory which showed that 63% of GHG emissions in our region are attributed to buildings. It sets forth three timelines for achieving net-zero: 2035 for all municipal government activities, 2040 for all buildings (2030 for all new buildings), and 2050 economy-wide.
The Climate Action KC board recognized that meeting the challenge of decarbonizing our regional building sector requires a robust support system for the real estate industry. This support must include the technical and financial tools to reach the highest levels of energy efficiency and a shift towards renewable energy sources for all new and existing buildings. Building Energy Exchange KC was formed in spring 2021 to meet that need.
BE-Ex KC will engage and educate stakeholders in the built environment on how to achieve high-performance buildings, how to fill financing gaps, and support the region in meeting its climate goals.
To advance building energy performance by mobilizing the professional expertise, funding, and technical resources needed to address affordability, improve the health and comfort of residents, and position Kansas City as a resilient and carbon-neutral region.
Our commitment to the Kansas City community
BE-Ex KC will engage in operational strategies that will continue to grow diversity within the BE-Ex KC board, future staff, and all participating stakeholders. We recognize that time commitment, cost of participation, and cultural accommodations must be considered to ensure diverse participation across all initiatives. Through our events and speaking opportunities, we strive to amplify the voices of historically underestimated communities that are often disproportionally affected by climate change and promote their work and achievements to the broader regional community.
The condition of our regional building stock reflects decades of racial inequality leading to substandard living conditions for many people of color and a lack of opportunity for acquiring generational wealth through real estate. BE-Ex KC initiatives must recognize that history and find opportunities to heal these historic injustices through community empowerment, housing stability, and improved health. We value multi-racial, multi-generational partnerships that are considerate of the lived experiences of residents while offering mutually- beneficial solutions for both building owner and tenant.
BE-Ex KC Leadership
Ashley’s commitment to community well-being and forging collaborative partnerships is exemplified in her role as the Executive Director of Kansas City’s first Building Energy Exchange. She works closely with public and private agencies, Climate Action KC, Mid-America Regional Council, and many others to support the real estate community in reaching carbon neutrality by 2040.
In her 14 years practicing architecture, Ashley has managed the design and construction of several million dollars worth of community assets including affordable housing projects, urban redevelopment, and parks revitalization.
She sits on the City of Kansas City Missouri’s Planning Commission and holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kansas, professional certification in Real Estate Development from New York University, and a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Southern California.
The BE-Ex KC Board
The founding BE-Ex KC Board of Directors will shape its strategic direction for decades to come. The BE-Ex KC Advisory Board is represented by climate advocates, community development leaders, construction professionals, engineers, real estate developers, utility administrators, and government officials. This allows for the diverse ecosystem of building decarbonization to be considered in the development of BE-Ex KC's programs.
Additional Founding Partners
The Building Energy Exchange (BE-Ex), located in New York City, serves the building industry as a resource and trusted expert. In their first decade they delivered over 1,000 educational programs to more than 30,000 visitors, alongside hundreds of reports, exhibits, and tools. BE-Ex, alongside the Institute for Market Transformation, supports the development of resource hubs across the globe dedicated to reducing the effects of climate change by improving the built environment. Launched in spring 2022, Building Energy Exchange Kansas City and Building Energy Exchange St. Louis will serve their respective regions with customized resources that cater to the needs of their communities while benefitting from the existing resources and expertise of New York’s Building Energy Exchange.
For more than 25 years, IMT has partnered with government, business, and philanthropy to improve the spaces where we live, work, and play. IMT focuses on innovative and pragmatic solutions that fuel greater investment in high-performing, energy-efficient buildings. IMT offers hands-on technical assistance and market research, alongside expertise in policy and program development and deployment and promotion of best practices and knowledge exchange. Our innovations have helped reduce carbon emissions and energy costs across billions of square feet of real estate in major U.S. cities; empowered landlords and tenants to overcome barriers to mutually-beneficial building improvements; and increased overall demand for better buildings.
Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) is a nonprofit association of city and county governments and the metropolitan planning organization for the bistate Kansas City region. MARC promotes regional cooperation and develops innovative solutions through leadership, planning, and action. MARC serves as the fiscal agent for Climate Action KC therefore serves as the fiscal agent for Building Energy Exchange. Providing back-of-house services as well as serving on a core advisory group, the breadth of expertise within MARC have been invaluable to the growth of BE-Ex KC.
Elevate seeks to create a just and equitable world in which everyone has clean and affordable heat, power, and water in their homes and communities — no matter who they are or where they live. Making the benefits and services of the clean energy economy accessible to everyone is how we fight climate change while supporting equity. Elevate has been involved with BE-Ex KC since its inception serving on a core advisor group guiding its launch and program development. Elevate also works in partnership with BE-Ex KC in the Rising Trades Contractor Accelerator program. Together we work toward the development of supportive programs to grow the market for high-performance buildings and create opportunities for disinvested neighborhoods and local diverse businesses.