We are moving toward this goal by consistently learning about, creating and adopting more sustainable processes internally, as well as by implementing shifts in the way we approach public services and outreach. These steps are intended to advance the City's overall environmental impact and to improve the quality of life for residents.
Learn more about the efforts each City department is developing to ensure a more vibrant and sustainable Wichita for future generations.
- City Manager’s Office / City Council
- Parks & Recreation
- Public Works & Utilities
Airport Division maintains over 850 acres including 15.6 million square feet of landside streets and airfield pavement on both Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jabara Airports. We also maintain our own fleet of over 200 vehicles and equipment, which give us the opportunity to contribute to the airport's recycling program.
- All of the oils and oil-contaminated filters recovered from servicing the fleet are collected and recycled, approximately 800 to 1000 gallons per year.
- Each of the 25 to 30 automotive batteries that are replaced per year gets recycled through the contract vendor.
- We recycle all of the tires replaced on the fleet, which amounts to about 5,000 pounds per year.
- The amount varies from year to year, but on average we recycle about 25 tons of scrap metals.
- Dried fine-grade sand used on the airfield during snow and ice removal is collected and reused as fill sand for construction projects.
- Any asphalt removed or replaced in construction projects is recycled into millings for use on the perimeter fence and various road projects.
- In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint and generate less hazardous waste, we have also recently converted from solvent-based traffic paints used on the landside streets and airfield, to water-based paints. The slight increase in cost for more frequent remarking has been offset by the elimination of the cost to have used solvents tested and properly disposed of (not to mention our workers can now use soap and water to clean up the equipment instead of potentially dangerous chemicals).
- Though it is not technically part of our recycling plan for years the airport has (recycled) vehicles in the fleet from high mileage users to low mileage users. This allows us to save costs of vehicle purchase while keeping the fleet average age down with newer more efficient/cleaner vehicles. In addition, we are always looking to repurpose vehicles such as a plow truck, which previously was a fire rescue vehicle, and a dump truck that was previously a street sweeper truck.
- Construction projects often recycle material removed from a site.
Airport Building Maintenance
- We provide cardboard recycling for our tenants and recycle collection containers in the concourse for our passengers.
- We use green cleaning products in all our facilities.
The ACT 3 Terminal was designed and constructed in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Guidelines. Some sustainability attributes include:
- High-performance building envelope including high R-factor insulation systems at walls and roofs and low solar heat gain glazing systems
- High-performance HVAC systems, with sophisticated controls
- Use of groundwater for tempering baggage handling areas and heat for snowmelt systems at sidewalks
- Efficient lighting with controls that take advantage of daylighting from skylights and large glass walls to cut energy use further
- Recycling of construction waste materials
- Low water use plumbing fixtures
- Reduced solar heat impact through the use of light-colored paving and roofing
- Water efficient landscaping
- High-performance building envelope with maximum insulation
- Efficient lighting with controls tied to natural daylight
- Bicycle racks for employees
- Recycling of construction waste materials
- Use of regional materials to minimize transport
- Materials used to improve air quality and high-efficiency air filtration
- Neighborhood trash, large and small, ends up in community waterways and disrupts important ecosystems. At no cost, City-funded neighborhood cleanups mitigate the amount of trash and subsequent impacts on wildlife.
- It is estimated that an average of 240 tons of metal waste is picked up by metal recyclers. The total amount of other waste picked up from neighborhood cleanups annually averages around 1,072 tons.
Plastic Bag Task Force
- The Plastic Bag Task Force was established in January 2020 to assess and better understand the impact of single-use plastic bags in the Wichita area as well as explore possible mitigation strategies that best fit the Wichita community.
- Members meet monthly to discuss, research, explore, and plan how to best quantify single-use plastic bag impacts, attitudes surrounding single-use plastic bags, and possible reduction methods.
- Some of the group’s efforts include:
- Developing outreach and education materials;
- Working with University of Kansas School of Medicine – Wichita thesis student on a community survey to assess single-use plastic bag perception and possible reduction methods;
- Working with Public Works and Wichita State University Environmental Finance Center to initiate a litter study in the Wichita area with the intent to determine the role of single-use plastic bags in the litter landscape;
- Conducting broader research regarding the impacts of plastics on health and the environment as well as legislation mitigating plastic bag usage in other communities; and
- Creating outreach and education materials to share information learned with community leaders and residents.
- Wichita Fire Department shuts down apparatuses at scenes that don't have to be running to save on fuel and environmental pollutants
- New light bulbs that are kinder to the environment (this was a Public Works & Utilities initiative)
- Station filter units - exhaust elimination
- Maintenance activities are carried out with "Best Management Practices" in mind. (PDF- Kansas Best Management Practices, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America)
- Transitioning fairway turf from cool season Ryegrass to warm season Bermuda grass and in the process of converting roughs to Bermuda. Benefits include:
- Reduced use of potable water for irrigation.
- Less mowing, resulting in less fuel consumed.
- Lower requirements for fertilizer and pesticides.
- Establishment of "No Mow" Native Areas. Benefits include:
- Mowing and weed control reduced to one time per year.
- Provides buffer areas to filter rainwater run-off and provides a natural habitat for wildlife.
- Water Way Buffer areas along many creek lines and lake surrounds. Benefits of maintaining a buffer area include:
- Natural filtration of rainwater run-off.
- Lessens the need for fertilizer and pesticides to the water's edge.
- Reducing paper and streamlining processes (implementing lean processes) such as;
- Eliminate paper forms for updating customer information
- Eliminate paper for completing processes such as filling holds, removing unclaimed holds, and searching for claimed returned items
- Working to find a solution for making registration a fully digital process rather than utilizing paper forms
- We are considering making Library Board packets a fully electronic process versus sending print packets to some who still want print
- We continually review our processes to find new lean process improvements that oftentimes include paper reduction
- We have discussed reducing deliveries by one day per week, which means the van will be on the road using fuel one less day per week.
- Videos highlighting sustainability efforts at the Advanced Learning Library:
The City of Wichita Park and Recreation Department is committed to promoting environmental sustainability. See the Park and Recreation Environmental Sustainability Policy (PDF).
Travel & Meetings
- Walk, cycle, and/or use public transportation to attend meetings, site visits, etc., apart from in exceptional circumstances where the alternatives are impractical and/or cost-prohibitive.
- Avoid physically traveling to meetings where alternatives are available and practical, such as using teleconferencing, video conferencing, or webcams, and efficient timing of meetings to avoid multiple trips. These options are also often more time efficient, while not sacrificing providing exceptional service to our Wichita citizens and park users.
- Reduce the need for our staff to travel by supporting alternative working arrangements, including home working etc., and promote the use of public transportation.
- Use an emissions recording scheme for maintenance and park operations travel to monitor our impact.
Purchase of Equipment and Consumption of Resources
- Wichita is certified through Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED) design.
- Minimize our use of paper and other office consumables, for example by double-siding all paper used, and identifying opportunities to reduce waste.
- As far as possible arrange for the reuse or recycling of office waste, including paper, computer supplies, and redundant equipment.
- Reduce the energy consumption of office equipment by purchasing energy-efficient equipment and good housekeeping.
- Seek to purchase electricity from a supplier committed to renewable energy. Seek to maximize the proportion from renewable energy sources, whereas supporting investment in new renewable energy schemes.
- Park and Recreation is using pour-in-place rubber safety surfacing for playgrounds. It utilizes recycled tire material.
Using Best Practices to Protect the Environment
- Staff will minimize ozone-forming emissions and in compliance of the Park and Recreation Ozone Alert Response Plan, staff will strive to fuel vehicles and equipment during the coolest time of the day, be efficient to reduce repeated trips, and responsibly store fuel for small equipment operation.
- Employees are regulated by A.R. 9.1, the City's No Idling Policy. Employees will reduce idling vehicles in performance of their duties while on City grounds or operating a City vehicle as well as when off-duty.
- Staff will identify and remove plant species identified by the State of Kansas as invasive. Most invasive plants spread quickly and choke out native vegetation. Invasive plants are especially detrimental to natural habitats.
- Staff will use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to minimize the use of chemical pesticides to control plant and insect pests. IPM is an ecologically based management approach to pest control that helps maintain strong healthy plants. IPM includes the use of traps, sterile pests, and quarantines.
- Water Conservation is especially important as Kansas naturally cycles through drought seasons; therefore staff will develop irrigation systems that include the use of SMART Controllers, ET Sensors, and Rain Sensors to maximize irrigation efficiency and water conservation.
- Maintain Irrigation Systems that protect water quality. Park staff will install backflow prevention of all irrigation systems. Backflow preventers are inspected yearly and are scheduled for rebuild every 5 years.
- Staff will install and replace grass with warm-season turf. Warm-season turf has a shorter growing season, is drought tolerant, and can maintain a longer mowing cycle. Through warm-season turf restoration, fuel emissions are reduced by reducing mowing cycles. Mulching mowers leave grass clippings to improve moisture retention and provide a natural source of fertilizer.
- Staff will use the creation of rain gardens and swales of native grass for improvements of green infrastructure which also creates a natural Stormwater Management System. These systems reduce downstream flooding, and recharge and filter groundwater. These environmentally sound systems are effectively used along bike paths and native parks
- Staff will dispose of hazardous materials, such as old chemicals or paint at a Hazardous Waste Facility. Proper disposal prevents hazardous waste from getting into water streams and polluting the environment. Metals will be recycled through local vendors.
- Staff will use hybrid vehicles to reduce ozone emissions. A hybrid vehicle uses two or more types of power; in this instance of our fleet, diesel, and electric.
- Park and Recreation owns and utilizes two electric trash trucks
- Operation of these vehicles reduces fuel consumption and ozone emission.
- Park and Forestry staff will use native plants and trees to provide shade structures throughout the city. Shade from these natural buffers reduce the temperature of streets, structures, and bodies of water. Roots provide erosion control and minimize flooding.
- Forestry staff will abide to compliance of the Park and Recreation Ozone Alert Response Plan, The Forestry Division utilizes electric chainsaws during Ozone Alert days. Electric chainsaws do not contribute to ozone emissions.
- To minimize contributing to landfills, Forestry staff will strive to utilize most wood debris (firewood) and wood chips (mulch) in landscapes. Products are offered for both private and corporate use.
- Contracted with Barkman Honey, LLC to place a bee hive in Clapp Park and will determine other park locations to place a maximum of ten hives.
Great Plains Nature Center
The Great Plains Nature Center has implemented the following initiatives in their commitment to improving our stewardship of natural resources:
- Installation of a photovoltaic array in 2014
- Conversion to LED lighting
- Installation of automatic bathroom fixtures 2019-2020
- Use of native plants in landscaping the GPNC campus
- Established as a designated Monarch Waystation through Monarch Watch 2015
- Replacement of the chiller unit to be completed in 2020
- Installation of compost bin 2020
- Supply reusable water bottles to all GPNC staff and volunteers
Wichita Sustainability Initiatives Study
- The City of Wichita is partnering with the Environmental Finance Center at Wichita State University to develop a list of sustainability initiatives that could benefit the City of Wichita and move the needle on sustainability scoring platforms.
Be Air Aware
- The Ozone Advance Program aims at maintaining compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and reducing ozone-forming emissions through outreach, education, and mitigation strategies.
Renewable Energy Participation
- In the summer of 2020, the City elected to offset 70-80% of annual energy consumption through participation in the Evergy Direct Renewable program. Today, roughly 75% of the energy consumed by the City of Wichita is generated by the Ponderosa Wind Farm.
- 2021 marked the ninth consecutive year the Wichita City Council approved $100,000 for the continuation of the Water Conservation Rebate Program. The program encourages residents to purchase water-saving household devices by offering rebates in the form of a credit to their water account.
- In 2021 all funds were exhausted, resulting in 1,052 devices being replaced for an estimated 10,820,780 gallons of water conserved per year.
- The City of Wichita is partnering with the Environmental Finance Center at Wichita State University to conduct a study of the litter in Wichita. The results of the study will be a baseline for the impact of future litter reduction programs in the Wichita area.
- Wichita State University and City of Wichita to Conduct Litter Study (PDF)
- Wichita Litter Study
Facilities Projects & Initiatives
- Museum of World Treasures
- Boiler upgrade to high-efficiency
- City Hall
- LED lamp changeover (Housing complete, rest ongoing)
- Energy audit of all parking garages and fire stations, citywide
- Parking Garages
- All new LED fixtures with motion and daylight control
- Energy Management and Information System (EMIS)
- EnergyCAP utility bill tracking software for PWU
- Facilities DST
- Proactive capital renewal planning and showed funding need for maintaining system value (resource stewardship)
- Ralph Wulz Tennis Center
- Indoor dome LED fixture install
- Multiple/Various Locations
- HVAC controls upgrades
- Upgrade lighting fixtures to LED
Wichita Transit has a goal to be completely electric by 2030.
- Wichita Transit welcomed four brand new Proterra Catalyst Electric Buses in late 2019. Seven additional Complete Coach Works (CCW) buses were added to the Wichita Transit fleet and primarily operate on the Q-line as well as other routes.
- The new Q-line vehicles have front-mounted bike racks that hold three bicycles at a time, to encourage bicycle commuting.
- The buses provide 100% zero-emission transportation services to Wichita residents. The City also worked with Evergy to get discounted power to charge the buses, at a rate of 5 to 6 cents per kilowatt. About half of that power will be from wind and nuclear power sources. The City hopes to replace the entire public transportation fleet with electric buses in the near future.
- Transit recently submitted a grant application at the end of April to replace all 24 of the small gas-powered paratransit service vans with electric low-floor vans which will reduce yearly carbon footprint by 1.8 million tons. Transit will know the outcome of the bid later this month.
Planning for the Future
- The City of Wichita has been certified in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) since November 2, 2015.
- According to the U.S. Green Building Council, Wichita is one of just 120 LEED-certified cities and communities globally.
- Wichita participates in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), reporting climate and environmental data through the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System since 2020.
- The City of Wichita is participating in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) benchmarking survey (PDF).
If you have further questions or input about the City of Wichita's sustainability efforts, please email Lizeth Ortega, Senior Environmental Specialist.
Established September 7, 2021, the purpose of the Wichita Sustainability Integration Board is to advise the City Council and City staff on sustainability matters affecting the City’s long-term livability and economic vitality.