At the 2/17 Council meeting Sunny Sanwar, CEO of Dynamhex, presented to the Council on the carbon emissions tracking tool that communities and other sectors could use to benchmark, monitor and reduce their carbon footprint. The Governing Body had some additional questions about the tool. Those questions and answers are listed below.
The Sustainability Committee has endorsed the purchase of this tool. They are also willing to contribute financially to the initial purchase of the tool to help defray the City expense, using funds they have collected in the Community Foundation. The exact amount will be determined at their meeting on 3/5/20. If the Council would like to recommend a contribution from the committee, we can be sure they are aware.
Attached is an agreement that has been reviewed by our City Attorney as well as an implementation timeline and examples of reports the system can create.
Questions from the City of Roeland Park City Council (February 2020)
1. Are any other municipalities using this software?
KCMO and Washington DC demoed the software in 2018 and 2019. We are under discussions with four other Cities in addition to Roeland Park and MARC to deploy widely within the region.
Roeland Park would be one of the first Dynamhex municipal customers. NRDC is providing a grant to discount the services by 50%.
2. Who are their existing clients?
Existing clients are utilities and corporations, both of whom want to reduce their emissions with a data-backed, long-term strategy. The software is showing them pertinent data on how to quantify and evaluate emission reduction strategies. Same software will be applied to municipal clients, such as Roeland Park.
3. Can we see examples of the repots for their existing clients?
Yes, please see the City of NYC example report, or the District of Columbia (DC) report on reduction strategies. Please note that these are specific to what each city wants to see or know – emissions footprint for NYC, and emissions reduction strategies for DC.
We have included Roeland Park’s GHG in the attached SOW as an example. Further reports for the City of Roeland Park would include understanding the city’s needs before rendering such reports, such as if they want to know their footprint, vs. if they want to see reductions of the footprint etc.
4. What is the price guarantee, if any?
The software will be deployed for $6,000 in 2020. This price is discounted with a grant NRDC gave Dynamhex to deploy this software. Dynamhex will guarantee not to change the price based on the current scope of work, which is (1) full greenhouse gas inventory for the city-wide emissions in Roeland Park, (2) scenario modeling tools for reduction strategies over time (2) and (3) Roeland Park city and resident portal to track their emissions.
Future price guarantees to consider would be $2,000 - $4,000, based on each new scope identified. If there is no new scope and requirements remain same for (1) to (3) above, and the City provides building records from Johnson County, KS, then the fee would be $2,000 in 2021 and 2022. If there are new requests or new data that needs to be accessed by Dynamhex (instead of by Roeland Park, or in addition to 2020 data) then the price could be up to $4,000.
5. I wanted to know if the software could project both the citywide and individual impacts
of making different environmental choices.
Yes, the purchased software will include a citywide portal (accessed by city staff) and a citizen portal (accessed by RP residents who own or rent properties, vehicles within city-boundaries etc.) that will project the impact of decisions. This is part of item (3) in SOW. Each portal enables the staff and city individuals to understand their emissions, and test scenarios that help them reduce their personalized emissions.
To help in the decision we have provided the City with a sample report of Roeland Park’s GHG emissions (page 3 of implementation timeline PDF). Normally the information we provide are in 30-page reports with charts and diagrams, which elsewhere costs over $80,000, and take months to evaluate. With advanced modeling and machine learning we are able to get the evaluative data to the decision makers faster and cheaper than hiring multiple engineering firms and consultants.
For example, for someone who owns a home and two cars, what does their 2019 emissions look like, and what should they do in their homes (weatherization, reduce electricity or natural gas use, go solar etc.) or their cars (switch to electric, or walk more/take a bike, or optimize tire pressure, etc.) to reduce that emissions. This is part of item (2) in the proposed SOW.
6) Can the representatives of Dynamhex explain in lay terms how the data they use is acquired and updated?
Yes, we access data from the county and state government on building level data (type, square footage, year built) and transportation patterns; using these inputs we statistically impute amount of fuels and electricity used. We get utility data and know which power plans provide energy and their emission factors,
7) Does the accumulation of this data represent any serious privacy concerns for the residents/businesses of RP?
No, in addition to encrypted databases for our cloud-servers, we do not store identifiable information for each resident, we do so locationally, such as identifying dot on the map, with no identifying information of the owner that compromises privacy.
8) Does staff see any problem with the commitment of time necessary to learn and utilize this platform?
No we do not.
9) Will we be able to gauge the level of participation by our residents and business owners after the first year?
Yes, after the first year of making this platform open to Roeland Park residents, we will be able to track all city-logins and understand their level of access and activity. We will make these reports available to city leadership.
Below are some questions raised by the City Attorney and related answers.
- Does the City have any existing data sources? The company states it will provide a means to ingest this data in the platform if any such data currently exists.
The city can access data files from Johnson County (mapping services/GIS), which we would want to put on the platform. We already discussed this with the County.
- What will be viewable solely by City staff? What does climate changed-focused optimization of city services mean?
The city staff ONLY can see city-level assets, such as fleet vehicles, or city-owned buildings. The public will not be able to view this (unless city staff wants them to) - and will be only able to view their (each resident’s) own footprint and solutions.
Optimization based city services mean that city staff will be able to view their assets, and estimate/view low-carbon solutions to render same city services at a lower emissions footprint.
- How does the platform “reduce Roeland Park’s cost”?
In order to do the above items that the platform does on Roeland Park’s behalf, in traditional formats, such as hiring an engineering firm and consultant, from data collection to optimization/insights on lower footprint, the cost could be 10X the cost of Dynamhex. This is the “reduced Roeland Park’s cost” (of comparable market services).
- What additional costs will there be to implement the reduction of RP’s impact on the environment identified by the platform?
Costs of implementing the actual solutions, like retrofitting city properties, installing on-site or rooftop solar, or buying/leasing electric fleet vehicles, are not covered by the Dynamhex subscription.
- Does Dynamhex have access to cost effective solutions?
As a data-tool, we have a library of tested solutions for consideration, from various technical studies and peer-reviewed research projects. Gaining access to these solutions, in an understandable format, takes technical knowledge, database subscriptions and time - by having these available available today, we reduce cost for the city in finding and making sense of these solutions.
- Are “ongoing product updates” provided at no additional cost? The agreement only states that the City will have “access to ongoing product updates”
Roeland Park will have all standard updates to the platform that we make in the future. Each item in the SOW will be updated over time/improved, and these are available to the city with no additional costs.
- Will the City need to purchase additional modules? The agreement prices those at $4,000/year. Whereas the current module is $2,000/year.
The current SOW would be available to Roeland Park in 2021 for $2000. If new modules (“new” implies the ones BEYOND the current ones in the SOW) are needed, depending on reasonable scope, it could be up to $4,000. But the existing platform would be available for next year for $2,000.
From 2/17/2018 Meeting:
Dynamhex helps cities measure their greenhouse gas emissions for the entire community, set nuanced reduction targets and track progress by engaging the local citizens for climate action on a web application.
It's a unique tool developed in Kansas City to give communities the tools to help combat climate change. Sunny Sanwar will provide a presentation that explains how the tool works and how it can benefit Roeland Park. Dynamhex, as a cloud-based platform, would be available for use by any resident of Roeland Park and can provide suggestions to reduce carbon emissions for each individual, local businesses and the City.
The cost of this platform would be discounted for Roeland Park as an early adopter. It would cost $6,000 in year one and subsequent years would cost $2,000 - $4,000 depending on the level of intervention needed from the staff at Dynamhex in future years (or any new service or feature requested by Roeland Park city staff). The presentation is attached.
The discount would be provided by the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), which would not require any further recognition or payment from the City.