To be sustainable is to meet the environmental, economic, and social needs of today without preventing future generations from meeting their needs. In Johnson County, we all play a vital role in making that possible.
The question asked is, “Can we continue to live as we do without depleting the resources needed for the future?” If the answer is no, what do we need to change to get closer to a yes? We know these resources aren’t unlimited and that they’ll be increasingly relied upon in the future to serve our growing community.
In this guide to sustainability, find out what steps Johnson County Government is taking to be more sustainable, programs available to support sustainability in the community, and tips for you to live a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.
According to the results of the 2022 community survey, Johnson County residents support our sustainability efforts:
Across Johnson County Government, departments are taking the initiative to make our operations more efficient, effective, and sustainable. In fact, one of Johnson County Government’s core principles is to leave the county better than we found it for generations to come. Learn about some of our efforts – from energy conservation to waste reduction – to improve sustainability in Johnson County.
Johnson County has made several efforts within its internal organization to improve sustainability. We established a countywide Sustainability Committee comprised of leaders from departments throughout the county, to focus on four main areas:
We also have a Sustainability Program Manager, who convenes the committee and leads sustainability efforts throughout the county. They help departments with practices such as reducing waste, saving energy, and cutting down on costs.
Johnson County achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Cities and Communities rating system. We are only the 25th local government in the world to achieve this certification for the entire community.
As a LEED-certified community, we are committed to greenhouse gas emission targets, climate action goals, improvements to air and water quality, and more. Several county buildings have received LEED certifications for energy savings and other sustainable efforts, with four buildings receiving gold certification and and four receiving platinum certification.
Alternative fuel sources like electric and compressed natural gas can help us cut down on fossil fuel and greenhouse gas emissions. Johnson County Government has numerous vehicles in its fleet that utilize alternative fuels.
We currently manage 447 light, medium, and heavy-duty passenger vehicles. Of those vehicles, 103 units, or 23% of our fleet, operate on electricity, compressed natural gas, gas/electric hybrid, or flex fuel.
Johnson County hosts thirty-four Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at various county buildings and parks.
Johnson County Wastewater handles the treatment of wastewater throughout the county at several facilities and continuously takes steps to improve operational efficiency and discharge clean water back into our ecosystem.
The new Tomahawk Wastewater Treatment Facility is designed to utilize electric vehicles for operations, including its first electric yard truck. In addition, the Middle Basin Treatment Plant generates 40% of its own electricity needs by capturing methane gas which fuels a cogeneration plant – a net savings of $150,000-250,000.
Wastewater also received national awards for outstanding compliance with national pollutant standards from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.
The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment has a variety of programs to support the health, wellness, and sustainability of the community – specifically in the areas of recycling and waste, food production, and the environment. This includes:
Johnson County’s Sustainability Manager co-chaired the Kansas City Climate Action Plan committee, resulting in a first-of-its-kind 10-county climate planning effort to transform the metropolitan area into a more resilient, equitable, and healthy community.
Within the Action Plan, an ambitious set of interrelated strategies will help to mitigate climate change by achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Board of County Commissioners endorsed the Climate Action Plan by Resolution 061-21 on September 2, 2021.
Through the Renewables Direct program, Johnson County Government is now offsetting a percentage of their energy usage through a renewable resource. This program is a key part of the county's dedication to sustainability. Learn more about the Renewables Direct program.
Sustainability is the responsibility of all of us, and we encourage you to do your part, too. Whether it’s reducing the energy consumption in your home or cutting down on food waste from family dinner, these tips can help protect our resources – and in many cases, help you save money too. Learn ways you can live a sustainable, healthy, and eco-friendly life as a Johnson County resident.