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Salt Lake City Employees Wrap Up a Year of Sustainability Actions through Empower SLC

by Maggie McCormick


The 12-month program promoting sustainability education and action for city employees, Empower SLC, has come to an end. After 12 themes and nearly 50 weekly topics, we hope the lessons learned will help SLC Corp employees adopt more sustainable practices into their everyday lives.

Empower SLC, which began in April 2016, was designed as a training platform by Sustain3 and implemented by the Sustainability Department for Salt Lake City’s nearly 3,000 employees. Our goal was to encourage sustainable practices amongst city staff. Each month, employees participated in monthly themes, such as waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, and clean air transportation, and completed weekly lessons and activities.


(Want to give it a try? Check out this water usage calculator, which was used in one of Empower SLC activities.)

City employees who chose to participate in the program earned points according to their level of participation. At the completion of the program, certificates endorsed by the Mayor and the Sustainability Director were awarded at three levels– Basic, Gold, and Platinum– to participants who met the necessary requirements.

We are happy to report that out of the 58 certificates awarded, 32 were platinum, the highest level!

Waste Free SLC

During the course of the program, 546 of the City’s nearly 3000 city employees participated. The most popular themes included Waste Free SLC, Energy at Home, and Clean Air Transportation. In them, employees learned and took actions related to adding glass recycling at home, swapping out disposables, shopping with zero waste as a goal, replacing HVAC filters, adjusting home thermostats (to 78 degrees F during summer and 70 degrees F during winter), biking to work, and using public transportation.

So why is it so important to engage employees in sustainability?

For us, it’s because the themes chosen for Empower SLC have direct ties to our climate and sustainability goals here in Salt Lake City. (Read more about Climate Positive 2040 here).

It’s also important to walk our talk.  If we’re encouraging residents, businesses, and visitors to help us conserve resources and reduce emissions, we also need to look at our own practices. Behavior change is difficult, but it’s a critical piece of the puzzle. Together we can make a difference!

We hope Empower SLC inspired long-lasting habits and behaviors not only for city employees but throughout the community.

Let us know: Is sustainability a part of your office culture? Why or why not?

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Joy Dantine #

    Movie sets w traditional vans remain under the radar while idleing. Driver ops come across snippy when approached re the law. Drivers remark is “I am sure **** has a handle on it with salt lake city. Do we?”

    June 21, 2017

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