Green Independence

Resource Library

There’s Lean, and Then There’s Green!

Our ever-growing resource library has the tools and information you need to improve your community environment.

Included is useful tips and additional resources that could prove beneficial to you, your family, and your community.



Our community uses electricity many times throughout the day—to power lights, to run air conditioners, to keep food cold, etc. Every community needs a source for this electricity. The City of Independence gets electricity from the city-owned Independence Power and Light Department (IPL).

IPL uses diversified fuels to generate electricity and then transmits that electricity to your households. The low cost and abundance of coal makes it the most economical fuel source. However, electric utilities are constantly researching new ways to generate your electricity. As natural resources diminish and the price of electricity grows, it is important for communities and individuals to find new ways to generate electricity and modify their behaviors to use less electricity.

What Is The City Doing?

The City of Independence Power and Light Department (IPL) generates and transmits electricity for City of Independence residents. IPL offers numerous programs to encourage energy efficiency, including rebates for high-efficiency equipment.

IPL encourages the use of renewable energy. IPL has traditionally depended on coal for its primary fuel source. However, IPL recognizes the value in diversifying fuel source with renewable energy options. One way that IPL invests in renewable energy is by purchasing energy from the Smoky Hills Wind Farm in Kansas. The Smoky Hills Wind Farm, located west of Salina, KS, has been in operation since December 2008. IPL continues to seek renewable energy options as part of the department’s future power supply portfolio. For more information about renewable energy, visit the renewable energy page.

What You Can Do!

There are many things you can do to save energy and decrease the need for electric generation. You can alter your behaviors to use less electricity, or invest in high energy efficient equipment. For energy savings tips, please visit the City of Independence Power and Light's Energy Saving Tips page.

There are numerous rebate and tax incentive programs to encourage your investment in energy efficient equipment.

For City residential equipment rebate programs, please visit the IPL: Residential Customer Programs page.

For City business rebates, please visit IPL: Commerical Rebate page.

The Power and Light Department also offeres an Homes Program with ENERGY STAR®. .

For state programs, please visit the Missouri Department of Natural Resources website.

For federal programs, please visit the ENERGY STAR® website.

Additional Links

Renewable Energy

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the United States currently relies heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas for its energy. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable, meaning they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar energy, are constantly replenished. See below for a summary of renewable energy sources.


Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Solar energy can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses. Certain regions of the country are more conducive to solar energy than others.


Wind energy can be captured with wind turbines. A wind turbine then transforms the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical or electrical energy that can be harnessed for practical use. There are many opportunities to harness wind energy in the United States.


The organic matter that makes up plants is known as biomass. Biomass can be used to produce electricity, transportation fuels, or chemicals. The use of biomass for any of these purposes is called biomass energy.


Hydrogen also can be found in many organic compounds. It's the most abundant element on the Earth. But it doesn't occur naturally as a gas. It's always combined with other elements, such as with oxygen to make water. Once separated from another element, hydrogen can be burned as a fuel or converted into electricity.


Geothermal energy taps the Earth's internal heat for a variety of uses, like the heating and cooling of buildings. And the energy of the ocean's tides comes from the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun upon the Earth.

Ocean and Hydropower

The ocean can produce thermal energy from the sun's heat and mechanical energy from the tides and waves. Other bodies of flowing water can create energy as well. Flowing water creates energy that can be captured and turned into electricity, called hydropower.

What Is The City Doing?

In part of our green efforts, the City purchases energy from the Smoky Hills Wind Farm in Kansas and distributed and managed by the City of Independence Power and Light Department (IPL). IPL continues to seek renewable energy options as part of the department’s future power supply portfolio, while the City supplies residents with renewable engery options. Additionally, IPL participates in a Net Metering program, which allows customers to install a renewable energy generator to offset their electric rates.

The City of Independence Public Works Department is working with Independence Power and Light Department (IPL) to begin converting to solar-powered school crossing signals at locations without signals or that have signs that need to be converted to signals. The first two solar signals were installed on R.D. Mize Road just east of M-291 at the Blackburn School.

What You Can Do!

You can participate in the City’s Net Metering program which allows you to install a renewable energy generator to offset electrical rates. For more information, visit IPL’s website.

You may be eligible to receive local, state and federal tax credits or rebates for purchasing renewable energy sources like solar panels or wind turbines. For more information visit the Independence Power and Light website, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Energy Division website, and the Department of Energy website.

You can invest in renewable energy by donating or investing in renewable energy development. There are numerous financing and tax credit opportunities if you wish to install your own renewable energy source. For more information, please visit The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website.

You can also pursue a “Clean Energy” job. The renewable energy industry is growing and needs skilled workers. For more information about pursuing a career in clean energy, visit EERE: Clean Energy Job website.

Additional Links

  • City of Independence Power and Light (IPL)
    Visit the IPL's website to learn about incentives that IPL offers to customers who utilize renewable energy.
  • Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
    DNR's Division of Energy is a nonregulatory state agency that works to protect the environment and stimulate the economy through energy efficiency and renewable energy resources and technologies.
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
    NREL is the only federal laboratory dedicated to the research, development, commercialization and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Backed by 32 years of achievement, NREL leads the way in helping meet the growing demand for clean energy.
  • Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
    EERE invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
  • U.S. Department of Energy
    The Department of Energy's overarching mission is to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States; to promote scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission; and to ensure the environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex.


You use transportation to get from one place to the next. Transportation can include personal vehicles, airplanes, buses, bicycles, and trains. We need transportation to get to work and school, but transportation is a big source of pollutants. It is estimated that transportation contributes to as much as one-third of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. We can work together as a community to find environmentally friendly and effective alternative solutions to transportation.

What Is The City Doing?

The City is constantly looking for ways to encourage residents to improve their transportation choices. The Parks and Recreation Department has a series of recreational trails which can be used for recreation or commuting. For a map of the trails, please visit the City of Independence Parks and Recreation Department. The City also encourages the use of the Metro Bus. For routes, visit The Metro website.

What You Can Do!

You can do a lot of things to make your transportation more environmentally-friendly. Here are some suggestions below:


Rideshare Connections is your one stop shop for all of your local carpooling needs! Whether it is to search for carpooling tips, Rideshare Connections will get you there!

Need figures? Try the Rideshare Cost Savings Calculator Tool.

Buy a Fuel Efficient Vehicle

Buying a fuel efficient vehicle will enable you to take advantage of the numerous tax credit available while helping the envoirnment! For a list of credits, please visit Fuel Economy: Tax Incentives web page.

Take Public Transportation

A great way to cut on gas and cash is to use the Metro Bus. The City of Independence is serviced by the Metro Bus and has numerous routes and times that will fit any schedule! To find out more about the Metro Bus routes, please visit The Metro website.

Modify Your Driving Behavior

It is not feasible for everyone to carpool or take transportation. However, one thing you can do is change your driving behavior. You can reduce the amount of time that you drive, choose to live near your work to create a shorter commute, vacation closer to home, etc.

Additional Links


Population growth, development, and climate change are creating growing challenges for the water supplies on which America’s families, businesses, farms, industry and natural heritage rely. In many areas of the country, dwindling water supplies, lengthening droughts, and rising demand for water are forcing communities, stakeholders, and governments to explore new ideas and find new solutions that will help ensure stable, secure water supplies for future generations.

What Is The City Doing?

The Water Department and the Wastewater and Pollution Control Department are City-owned utilities who continue to identify ways that the community can conserve water and protect the natural environment.

The City hosts the Independence EcoFest every June. The theme of the festival is “It’s All About the Water!” This kid-friendly event offers activities and entertainment centered on protecting the environment.

What You Can Do!

You can do a variety of things to conserve water! You can build a rain barrel, plant a rain garden, and find tips for water conservation. Explore the additional resources below to learn more about water and what you can do to help.

Calculate your water savings now with WaterSense's Water Calculator.

Additional Links

  • City of Independence Water Department
    The City of Independence residents receive water from the City’s Water Department. Visit the Water Department’s web site for information about your water and what you can do to conserve water.
  • City of Independence Wastewater and Pollution Control Department (WPC)
    WPC is a city-owned utility dedicated to protecting the environment and the health of the community by providing cost effective wastewater and stormwater services. Visit the web site to learn what you can do to keep our storm and wastewater environmentally friendly and for more information about the household hazardous waste program.
  • City of Independence EcoFest
    This festival is an opportunity for kids and adults to see displays with an environmental theme. Exhibitors will provide information about the importance of water quality, local watersheds, stormwater management, and conservation.
  • Bridging the Gap
    Bridging The Gap works to make the Kansas City region sustainable by connecting environment, economy and community. Bridging The Gap seeks to educate citizens, businesses and government on the impact of decisions and behavior on our present and future community and world. Briding the Gap sponsors a Rain Barrel program which provides education about how to make or where to purchase rain barrels.
  • Mid-America Regional Council Environmental Programs
    The Mid-America Regional Council Environmental Programs focuses on air quality, water quality, solid waste, recycling, and smart growth. Visit the water quality section of the web site to learn about educational resources, grants, research and public outreach related to water.
  • Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
    DNR's Division of Environmental Quality’s Water Protection Program keeps Missouri citizens informed about the quality of water throughout the state. Visit the web site for information about watersheds, public drinking water, and water pollution control in the state of Missouri.
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 (EPA)
    EPA Region 7 serves Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and nine Tribal Nations. The Water Division implements programs to protect human health and the environment by preventing and reducing contamination of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska's surface and ground water.
  • U.S. Department of the Interior
    The U.S. Department of the Interior protects America’s natural resources and heritage, honors our cultures and tribal communities, and supplies the energy to power our future.

Did You Know…

Water Usage

  • If all U.S. households installed water-efficient appliances, the country would save more than three trillion gallons of water and more than $18 billion dollars per year!
  • If one out of every 100 American homes was retrofitted with water-efficient fixtures, we could save about 100 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year — avoiding 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The greenhouse gas savings would be equivalent to removing nearly 15,000 automobiles from the road for one year!
  • The average bathroom faucet flows at a rate of two gallons per minute. Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth in the morning and at bedtime can save up to eight gallons of water per day, which equals 240 gallons a month.
  • Leaky faucets that drip at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water each year. A leaky toilet can waste about 200 gallons of water every day. If your fixtures have leaks, you should get them repaired!
  • A full bath tub requires about 70 gallons of water, while taking a five-minute shower uses only 10 to 25 gallons.


  • Many idle electronics — TVs, VCRs, DVD and CD players, cordless phones, microwaves — use energy even when switched off to keep display clocks lit and memory chips and remote controls working. Nationally, these energy “vampires” use 5% of our domestic energy and cost consumers more than $8 billion annually.
  • At most, 35 percent of coal's energy in a power plant converts to electricity. The remaining two thirds is lost as waste heat, benefiting no one and often harming surrounding ecosystems.
  • Almost half of the average home's energy consumption is used for heating.
  • Lighting consumes up to 34% of electricity in the United States. If every household replaced its most often-used incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs), electricity use for lighting could be cut in half.


  • De-inked paper fiber is the most efficient source of fiber for the manufacturing of new paper products; one ton of de-inked pulp saves 17 mature trees, three cubic yards of landfill space, more than 7,000 gallons of water, 390 gallons of oil, and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity — enough energy to power the average American home for five months, compared to traditional virgin fiber processes.
  • Recycling paper instead of making it from new material generates 74% less air pollution.
  • The junk mail Americans receive in one day could produce enough energy to heat 250,000 homes. The average American still spends eight full months of his/her life opening junk mail.
  • If all our newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year!
  • The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.


  • Recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy needed to produce new aluminum from raw materials. Energy saved from recycling one ton of aluminum is equal to the amount of electricity the average home uses over 10 years.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for three hours, a TV for two hours, or the equivalent of half a gallon of gasoline.
  • Americans throw away enough aluminum every month to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.
  • The 36 billion aluminum cans landfilled last year had a scrap value of more than $600 million.
  • Recycling steel and tin cans saves 74% of the energy used to produce them. Americans use 100 million tin and steel cans every day.
  • In one year in the United States, the recycling of steel saves enough energy to heat and light 18,000,000 homes!
  • Every day Americans use enough steel and tin cans to make a steel pipe running from Los Angeles to New York...and back. If we only recycle one-tenth of the cans we now throw away, we'd save about 3.2 billion of them every year.


  • Every year we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap Texas.
  • Americans go through 25 billion plastic bottles every year, and only recycle about 27% of them. These bottles take at minimum 400 years to decay.
  • If every American household recycled just one out of every ten HDPE (#2 Plastic) bottles they used, we’d keep 200 million pounds of the plastic out of landfills every year.
  • Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.

General / Other

  • In a lifetime, the average American will throw away 600 times his/her adult weight in garbage. If you add it up, this means that a 150-pound adult will leave a legacy of 90,000 pounds of trash for his/her children.
  • $1 out of every $11 Americans spend for food goes for packaging. About one-third of an average dump is made up of packaging material!
  • One gallon of used motor oil can contaminate 1 million gallons of water. Motor oil never wears out, it just gets dirty. Oil can be recycled, re-refined and used again, reducing our reliance on imported oil.
  • Almost four million computer diskettes are thrown away every day, which equals over on and a half billion disks per year or a stack of disks as tall as the Sears Tower in Chicago every 21 seconds. It will take nearly 500 years for the disks to degrade.
  • Each year American throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam cups, enough every year to circle the earth 436 times. Styrofoam is not recyclable and takes thousands of years to degrade.
  • The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world's people generate 40% of the world's waste.
  • Battery acid is recycled by converting it to sodium sulfate for laundry detergent, glass and textile manufacturing.