State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Lawrence, KS

Scored out of 250Updated 05/2024
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 7.5 out of 10 points
Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Lawrence’s Climate Protection Plan set targets to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2020, 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, 70% below 2005 levels by 2040, and 80% below 2005 levels by 2050, but the City Council did not formally adopt these goals. We did not collect information on the extent of stakeholder involvement in the setting of goals.

Last updated: October 2013

Equity-Driven Approaches to Clean Energy Planning, Implementation, and EvaluationList All

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

We were unable to determine whether relevant decision-makers have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting engagement for multiple clean energy initiatives with marginalized groups compared to engagement with other city constituencies.

Equity-Driven Decision-Making

We were unable to determine if the city has created a formal role for marginalized community residents or local organizations representing those communities to participate in decision-making that affects the creation or implementation of a local energy, sustainability, or climate action plan.

Accountability to Equity

We were unable to determine whether the city has adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track how multiple energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives are affecting local marginalized groups. 

Last updated: March 2020

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

Lawrence does not have district energy systems or combined heat and power facilities.

Last updated: October 2013

Adaptive Mitigation List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

We could not verify if the city has adopted a quantifiable urban heat island mitigation goal.

UHI Policies and Programs

We were unable to determine if the city has adopted specific policies or programs that incorporate requirements or incentives to mitigate the urban heat island effect. 

Last updated: August 2020

Buildings Policies
Score: 14 out of 29 points
Building Energy CodesList All

The State of Kansas is a home-ruled state, and there are no statewide building energy codes. No jurisdiction is required to adopt building codes, but they may adopt the applicable 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) standards. To learn more about Kansas’s building energy codes, please visit the State Policy Database.


The City of Lawrence has adopted the 2015 IECC with amendments for commercial construction, effective July 2016


The City of Lawrence has adopted the 2015 IECC with amendments for residential construction, effective July 2016

Last Updated: January 2017

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

Lawrence reported a budget of $401,687 for the building code department in 2014. We did not find residential construction spending. Lawrence has not made third-party plan review or performance testing mandatory for code compliance, nor has it established either as a voluntary code compliance option. As upfront code support, Lawrence has developed a commercial building permit design guideline which outlines the IECC 2012 in a comprehensible way.

Last Updated: October 2015

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

There are no benchmarking or disclosure requirements in place for commercial buildings. For residential buildings, the state of Kansas requires homebuilders to disclose energy efficiency measures to potential buyers. The MLS service which serves the Lawrence area does not include fields for energy-efficient measures.

Last Updated: October 2015

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

Building Energy Savings Goals

Lawrence has not yet published an energy-intensity reduction target for its private buildings.

Green Building Requirements

Lawrence has not yet established above-code building requirements for any class of building.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Lawrence does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.  

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

The City Commission passed a permit fee reduction for solar thermal installations, an energy-efficient technology, in residential and commercial properties.

Last Updated: October 2015

Score: 12 out of 28 points
Location Efficiency List All

Lawrence has not yet implemented location efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit. Lawrence adopted its Complete Streets policy in 2012. The adoption of the guidelines encourages the inclusion of complete streets principles in all road construction and maintenance projects.

Last Updated: October 2013

Mode Shift List All

Transportation and Land Use Planning

Lawrence has not yet written or implemented a policy to encourage improved integration of transportation and land use planning such as a VMT reduction or mode share target.

Car and Bicycle Sharing

Lawrence is piloting a project with Hertz OnDemand for carsharing. There is not yet a bike sharing service available to the citizens of Lawrence.

Transportation Demand Management Programs

Lawrence has not yet implemented any transportation demand management programs to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicle trips or trips during rush hour.

Last Updated: October 2013

Public Transit List All

The transit system that serves received $9,978,222 in total funding in 2011. This funding level is $110.87 per resident in the service territory of the agency. In comparison, 2010 spending on roads and parking by the city was $7,529,000, or $85.91 per city resident.  This results in a ratio of per capita regional transit funding to per capita city highway and parking funding of 1.29 to 1.

The Transit Connectivity Index measures how many transit rides are available per week within walking distance from the average household. The City of Knoxville’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 6,703, putting it in a lower category (5,000 - 10,000) available in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: October 2013

Efficient VehiclesList All

At this time, Lawrence does not offer incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles. There are no incentives available for the construction of commercial or private EV charging infrastructure.

To encourage efficient driving, Lawrence optimized traffic signal length in 2012. Also, Lawrence is an active member in the Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coalition, which aims to reduce petroleum use in all of transportation across the region.

Last Updated: October 2013

Freight System EfficiencyList All

There is one intermodal freight facilities within the City of Lawrence’s boundaries. Lawrence’s share of regional freight traffic in 2011, normalized by population, is 17,886 ton-miles.  As a result there are 0.204 efficient intermodal facilities per thousand ton-miles of freight traffic, putting the city in the second lowest category for this metric (>0 to 0.499) available in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: October 2013

Community Energy Infrastructure
Score: 2.5 out of 18 points
Community Energy Infrastructure Summary List All

Westar Energy Corp, an Investor-Owned Utility (IOU), is the primary electric utility serving the city of Lawrence. Black Hills Energy, an IOU, is Lawrence’s primary natural gas supplier. The State of Kansas encourages and collaborates with electric and natural gas utilities to provide customer programs. To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Kansas page of the State Database.

The Lawrence Utility Department is the municipal utility which provides drinking water, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management services to the City of Lawrence.

Last Updated: October 2013

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

According to EIA, in 2011, Westar spent $2,435,000 on electric efficiency programs, representing 0.28% of its annual revenue. Due to these programs, Westar reported a net incremental electricity savings of 1,428MWh, representing 0.01% of its retail sales. In 2011, Black Hills Energy either did not spend or did not report spending on natural gas efficiency programs. Spending on electricity represented in this section covers the entire Kansas service territory, not just Lawrence. Westar offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers. Black Hills Energy similarly offers natural gas efficiency programs to residential and business customers.

To help promote Westar’s programs and garner participation, Lawrence partners through the Green Business Leaders Program.  Lawrence does marketing and provides recognition to the businesses selected by Westar as business energy leaders. The City of Lawrence has not yet begun advocating on the state level for additional spending or savings requirements on part of the utilities.

Last Updated: October 2013

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Westar Energy has a smartmeter pilot project providing customers with access to almost-real-time energy usage data through the smartmeter. Westar provides aggregated usage data for multi-tenant and multifamily upon request. Lawrence has requested community level data in the past from both Black Hills and Westar and they have provided aggregate level data divided into Residential, Commercial, and Industrial customers.  At this point, the City of Lawrence does not advocate to the state for improvements in data provision by the electric or natural gas utilities.

Last Updated: October 2013

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

The city of Lawrence has not established a goal for water efficiency through the city. However, the Utilities Department uses non-potable water for operational use at the wastewater treatment plant, and is working with Parks and Rec to use non-potable water for watering medians, trees, right-of-ways, etc. and making production changes at the water plants to decrease the amount of water used for process purposes.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

The city has not yet established a target for energy efficiency through municipal water services operations. However, Lawrence will be identifying private sewer line infrastructure that is damaged and in need of replacement, and will be working with homeowners to replace those.  At the wastewater treatment plan, methane gas is captured from the anaerobic digesters and is used in place of natural gas to operate the sludge heaters and provide heat for the building.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Lawrence offers incentives for stormwater detention.  The property owner receives a 57% discount on their stormwater utility bill for detaining the 1% chance storm. No public funding is available for green infrastructure on public lands.

Last Updated: October 2013

Local Government Score:
6 out of 15 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The Climate Protection Plan called for goals applying to both the community-at-large and local government operations that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2020, 50% by 2030, 70% by 2040, and 80% by 2050.  Horizon 2020, the city and county's long-range planning document, recently incorporated an environment chapter, which refers to the recommendations made in the Climate Protection Plan.  We did not collect information on the extent to which formal agency stakeholder groups were involved in setting the goal.

Last updated: October 2015

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

Lawrence does not have a vehicle procurement policy that includes energy efficiency requirements, but the city does have installed GPS units in vehicles to improve efficiency in routing.  Lawrence installed one electric-vehicle charging station that can also be used by the public. 

Public Lighting

Lawrence does not have efficiency requirements for public outdoor lighting, but the city has converted all of traffic lights to LEDs and has added LEDs sidewalk lights.  Streetlights are scheduled to operate only when they are needed.

New Buildings and Equipment

Lawrence does not have energy efficiency requirements for new public buildings.  The City Manager’s Office and the Finance Department are in the process of re-writing the city’s environmental procurement policy to incorporate energy-efficiency products.  

Last updated: October 2015

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Lawrence benchmarks all municipal building space using EnergyCAP and uses the benchmarking data to identify opportunities to save energy.  The city has contracted energy professionals to conduct energy audits of some key facilities.  Once the contractors determine projects with the best savings potential, Lawrence has prioritized the most cost-effective retrofits.

Public Employees

Lawrence does not have government-wide policies for teleworking or flex schedules, but individual department have implemented these. 

Last updated: October 2015