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Posts from the ‘2020’ Category

Salt Lake City Recognizes Business Leadership in Energy Efficiency

Image of  a trolley car parked in an outside urban space with written text in a blue banner below that reads "Elevate Buildings Congratulates Trolley Square Ventures: 2020 Energy Project of the Year."

January 28, 2021

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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City’s Department of Sustainability is pleased to announce Trolley Square Ventures has won the 2020 Energy Project of the Year as part of the City’s annual Elevate Buildings Award

The Elevate Buildings Awards is the Sustainability Department’s public recognition campaign honoring organizations that have gone above and beyond to reduce their emissions through innovative programs and efficiency upgrades. One of the key priorities of Mayor Mendenhall’s administration is to lead the way on environmental resilience and sustainability and improving the impact that our buildings have on air quality is a major part of the City’s environmental goals. 

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2020 Year In Review

Happy New Year!

2021 is here! SLCgreen is excited to move forward. But as we prepare for the year to come, we’re also ready to incorporate what we’ve learned from 2020.

At the beginning of 2020, SLCgreen was eagerly preparing for a new administration and planning for a year of innovative sustainability projects. After a busy 2019 we were ready to take the next steps towards bringing net-100% renewable energy to our community. A new state-of-the-art recycling facility was near completion. And an innovative resident-led food equity program was convening to help improve food access in Salt Lake City. 

The challenges of the past year have been harrowing. Within the first months of 2020, Salt Lake City pivoted our work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We experienced an earthquake that damaged our homes and businesses. Hurricane-force winds toppled thousands of trees and left many members of our communities without power for several days.  

Despite it all, SLCgreen was able to accomplish many of our goals with the help of our dedicated crews and community members. The challenges our community faced in 2020 laid bare the deep connections between equity, resiliency, and  climate action. The year required us take more direct actions to improve our emergency response plans, to better support the voices of residents who have been excluded in the past, and to expand our communications to facilitate more collaborative work.  

SLCgreen is ready to build off of what we learned during the past year, but before we set our sights on 2021, here are a few highlights from 2020. 

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Catch Up With Utah Recycling Alliance

Welcome to SLCgreen Connections, an occasional series highlighting SLCgreen’s fantastic local partners—the people and organizations with whom we work closely to make Salt Lake City a greener, more vibrant, and sustainable city!

Is going zero waste one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2021? Utah Recycling Alliance is here to help!  Utah Recycling Alliance (URA) has been encouraging Utahns to recycle more and reduce waste since 2011. The non-profit promotes reuse, recycling, and resource conservation through programs developed to engage and educate residents statewide.

This year, like many organizations, URA has moved much of their programming online due to the pandemic. However, they have stayed busy, and the organization is gearing up for exciting new projects in 2021. 

SLCgreen chatted with URA co-presidents David Johnston and Sarah Bateman to find out more about what URA has been up to in 2020. David and Sarah also filled us in on how you can get involved in building a zero waste future in the New Year!

The 3 R’s and Beyond

David, who is also the Permits Coordinator for SLCgreen’s Waste and Recycling Division, told us that URA started with a mission that went beyond recycling. “Although we’ve always been there to help Utahns around the state recycle in the right ways, many of what we now consider core programs are all about the other Rs” – including reduce, reuse, repair, and rot.  

Sarah, who is the founder of the City of Orem’s Natural Resources Stewardship Committee and a full-time mom, joined URA because of her passion for encouraging zero waste in Utah County. Prior to joining URA, she “felt somewhat alone in advocating a low-waste lifestyle.” However, URA connected Sarah to other zero waste organizers who were just as passionate about waste reduction and conservation. Sarah says that she is “honored to work alongside this well-educated and skilled team of volunteers, dedicated to reducing waste in Utah.”

The organization relies on volunteer support to operate their diverse projects, which connect businesses, individuals, and local governments that are committed to zero waste efforts.

CHaRMs and Fix-It Clinics

In the past few years, URA has helped Salt Lake City residents divert unusual waste (including toothpaste tubes, old electronics, shredded paper, and other things that aren’t accepted in the City’s curbside recycling program) in the CHaRM events.

The acronym stands for Collection of Hard to Recycle Materials, and the events help divert a considerable amount of waste each year. David notes that “in 2019 alone, with the help of more than 40 additional volunteers, URA was able to divert almost 5,000 lbs. from the landfill, accepting material for recycling from more than 1,100 attendees.”

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Happy Holidays from SLCgreen

Dear Friends,

SLCgreen is wishing you a healthy and happy holiday! During this time of year, we’ve been reflecting on the unprecedented challenges we’ve faced as a community brought on by the pandemic, hurricane-force windstorm and earthquake. This year, we’ve worked alongside our community members to continue essential City operations and services and step up efforts to help those who have been impacted the most by the devastating pandemic. More than ever before, we are witnessing the evidence of an undeniable connection between environmental justice and social equity. 

SLCgreen’s mission is to protect our natural resources, reduce pollution, slow climate change, and establish a path toward greater resiliency and vitality for all aspects of our community. Our environmental work goes hand in hand with the efforts to improve equity in Salt Lake City. 

Food access, renewable energy, and clean air initiatives continue to be critical aspects of our department’s work because they are intrinsically tied to equity. Recognizing that members of our community most impacted by decades of systemic racism and oppression also bear the brunt of environmental issues, SLCgreen will continue to prioritize environmental justice and equity for our community. Read on for some ways you can help, and information about community resources.

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Building a Clean Energy Community

In 2019, Salt Lake City set an ambitious goal of reaching 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Transitioning to clean energy will help the City reduce its carbon footprint and build more climate resilient communities. Last week, Salt Lake City took an exciting step towards reaching our climate goals.

The Utah Public Services Commission recently approved an application that allows Rocky Mountain Power to purchase the output from a large new solar farm to be built in Tooele County, Utah, on behalf of six large customers, including Salt Lake City Corp. This solar project, which will be among Rocky Mountain Power’s largest, will provide renewable energy to Salt Lake City Corporation, Park City, Summit County, Utah Valley University, Park City Mountain and Deer Valley ski resorts.

For Salt Lake City, this project will help meet nearly 90% of the City’s municipal electricity needs by 2023.

This means that Salt Lake City’s government buildings and operations will primarily source its electricity from renewable energy. This substantial shift to renewable energy is projected to increase in the city’s electric bill by less than 2%.

Photo of Salt lake City's solar farm near Fleet Department. Photo taken looking north east across Salt Lake City towards mountains.
Salt Lake City has already invested in solar projects to support our ambitious renewable energy goals.

Next Steps Towards Community-Wide Renewable Energy

Moving Salt Lake City’s internal electric consumption to renewable energy is a first step towards community-wide renewable energy. In 2019, the Utah State legislature passed HB411, the Community Renewable Energy Act. This law establishes a legal pathway for communities serviced by Rocky Mountain Power to create a net-100% renewable electricity portfolio.

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For the Love of Good Food: Checking in with Salt Lake City’s Resident Food Equity Advisors

Thanksgiving this year will be different as we all work together to keep our community safe. We reduce risk of spreading the COVID-19, and invent creative ways to keep connected to our families virtually while still being able to share in the traditional Thanksgiving traditions. As we all work through reimagining the holiday, the city’s Resident Equity Advisors are hard at work making sure everyone in our community – families, elderly, children, and all individuals suffering from food hardship have access to a healthy, nutritious food.

One in nine Utahns struggles with hunger, and equitable food access is still a major concern in our community. This year, we’re taking time to reflect on our connections with food. Food is a basic human right and is on of the foundational pieces of community resilience and SLCgreen’s focus areas. Our department launched the Resident Food Equity Advisors program to engage our vulnerable communities and empower them through shared decision making.

Read on to find out more about what these advisors have been working on!

Photo of brightly colored beets in a bowl.
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Rocky Mountain Power contracts to deliver renewable energy for six large customers

PRESS RELEASE FROM ROCKY MOUNTAIN POWER

NOVEMBER 24, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY— The Utah Public Service Commission provided final approval of an application by Rocky Mountain Power, on behalf of six large organizations in the state, to purchase electricity and renewable energy attributes from a large new solar project in Tooele County that is owned and being developed by D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI). The application makes use of the Schedule 34 Renewable Energy Tariff, allowing large customers of Rocky Mountain Power to work through the utility to source renewable energy to meet the organizations’ clean energy goals.

The six customers include three local governments (Salt Lake City, Park City, and Summit County), one higher-education institution (Utah Valley University), and two ski resorts (Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain).

All six organizations worked with Rocky Mountain Power to source a greater share of their internal electricity needs from cost-effective renewable energy. The final Commission order completes a major milestone for the solar project to be online by 2023. Elektron Solar, an 80-megawatt (MWac) solar project to be located in Tooele County, was selected and recently executed contracts for its full 80-MWac capacity.

The Elektron Solar project is owned and will be constructed by DESRI, building on a successful collaboration between DESRI and Enyo Renewable Energy (ERE), a Utah-based renewable energy developer, that is now responsible for more than 275 MWac of new customer-driven solar capacity being constructed in 2021 and 2022 in northern Utah. The project was originally developed and permitted by ERE, a joint venture among affiliates of Enyo, LLC and MAP® Energy, LLC. The Elektron Solar project is anticipated to support approximately 100 construction jobs and will be an ongoing source of revenues to both Tooele County as well as the State of Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, which owns the land on which the project is sited.

When constructed, the 80-MWac solar project will be among the largest solar generators connected to the Rocky Mountain Power system. The larger facility size will enable customers to meet a significant portion of their demand with the project’s production at a very competitive price. Salt Lake City Corporation expects to source almost 90 percent of its annual electricity from the project while seeing the electric bill for city operations increase by less than 2 percent.

Quotes from participating entities:

DESRI:

“Our D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments team is pleased to partner with communities throughout Utah to deliver cost-effective clean power to citizens,” said Hy Martin, Chief Development Officer of DESRI. “We are thrilled to support cities and municipal entities as they become leaders in the clean energy transition across the United States. This project builds on DESRI’s substantial renewable energy presence across the country and continues our work of delivering power to public and private institutions in the region.”

Salt Lake City Corporation:

“This project is the biggest clean energy achievement Salt Lake City Corporation has made to date, but it will not be the last,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “We set the goal of generating 50 percent of our municipal power needs through clean energy, and this will project will get us to nearly 90 percent. Next up—we’re working tirelessly to achieve net-100 percent clean electricity for our entire community. The Rocky Mountain Power and Elektron solar project has shown how affordable clean energy is and how well a multi-customer acquisition project works. We’re well on our way to realizing those larger goals as the urgency of climate change demands.”

Summit County:

“Summit County is pleased with the results of this partnership that will allow us to achieve net-100 percent renewable energy for all government and dependent district operations nearly seven years ahead of Council’s goal of 2030,” said County Manager Tom Fisher. “The nominal cost increase for clean, renewable energy made possible by this collaboration is the most cost-effective way to make an expedient and significant contribution to our broader goal of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2040.”

Park City Municipal:

“The innovative partnership between local governments, Rocky Mountain Power and Elektron will be a catalyst for the creation of clean jobs in rural Utah, while also powering all of the city’s operations, from streetlights to our electric buses,” said Park City Mayor Andy Beerman. “This speaks to the power of collaboration among Park City’s largest energy users. We are proud to be part of this effort, which will move us closer to our goal of net-zero carbon and 100 percent renewable electricity for city operations by 2022, and community-wide by 2030.”

Utah Valley University:

“UVU is proud to be a partner on the Elektron Solar project,” said Dr. Astrid Tuminez, President of Utah Valley University. “As the largest institution of higher education in the state of Utah, UVU has a responsibility to demonstrate exceptional care for our environment. This project will provide over 90 percent of UVU’s electricity needs, dramatically reducing our environmental impact and contributing significantly to our goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. Projects like the Elektron Solar project provide the kind of high-quality jobs that UVU trains our students for — from electricians and construction managers to mechanical and electrical engineers.”

Deer Valley Resort:

“Deer Valley is committed to instilling a culture of environmental sustainability in all aspects of our operation to ensure that the resort remains green for future generations. The Elektron Solar project is a win for the environment and a map for communities and companies paving their own sustainable future,” said Julie Schultz, Deer Valley Sustainability Manager. “Our thanks go out to the entire team for this successful and forward-thinking collaboration.”

Park City Mountain and Vail Resorts:

“Investing in new renewable energy is a priority at Vail Resorts and we’re incredibly proud to be a partner in the development of the Elektron Solar project, which will provide 100 percent of Park City Mountain’s electric usage,” said Kate Wilson, senior director of sustainability at Vail Resorts. “As a global mountain resort operator, we have a deep responsibility to protect the environment in which we live, work, and play. Through Commitment to Zero, Vail Resorts has set a goal to reach a zero net operating footprint by 2030—including zero net emissions. This project is a key way we’ll get there.”

Enyo Renewable Energy:

“MAP® and Enyo formed Enyo Renewable Energy to create renewable energy projects that will lead the transformation of the Utah energy landscape by providing consumers with the local renewable energy sources they increasingly demand while providing substantial economic benefits to communities throughout the region,” said Christine Mikell, Founder and CEO of Enyo. “We are delighted to have worked closely with Tooele County, the State of Utah and regional stakeholders to ensure that the Elektron Solar Project would be a success for all involved.” 

Salt Lake City and Momentum Recycling Unveil New Public Art Piece —a Glass Recycling Dumpster

November 24, 2020

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What started out as a small idea to beautify one of Salt Lake City’s glass collection sites has become a highly-visible statement piece in Liberty Park. To celebrate the importance of glass recycling in the community, Salt Lake City and Momentum Recycling unveiled on Nov. 18 a new dumpster at the Liberty Park drop-off location featuring a hand-painted, wrap-around mural of Utah red rock arches by local artist Josh Scheuerman.

The piece brings a splash of public art to a frequently-used recycling location, trading the basic blue of the original dumpster for a bright mural paying tribute to Utah’s iconic natural landscapes.

Local artist Josh Scheuerman’s Arches design on the new glass recycling dumpster.

“As a native Utahn, I feel responsible for the wild and natural places,” Scheuerman said. “I believe it’s vitally important for new technology and information to help increase recycling alongside local art.”

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Celebrate America Recycles Day November 15!

Except for maybe Earth Day, America Recycles Day is one of our favorites. November 15 is all about Recycling. It’s particularly worth celebrating this year because, even during a pandemic, recycling is one of the easiest and best ways to help the planet.

According to the EPA, Americans have drastically improved our recycling recovery rate – from only 7% in 1960, to 35.2% in 2017.  Recycling and composting help us reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, conserves natural resources and energy, and prevents pollution. You can find out exactly how much energy is saved when you recycle with this calculator from the EPA! On top of the environmental benefits, recycling also creates well-paying jobs and supports the economy.

Join SLCgreen for America Recycles Day this November 15th.

In Salt Lake City, we do our part to help improve recycling. With compost and recycling efforts, we are able to divert 42% of our waste from the landfill. In August 2020, we recycled 606.1 tons of your recyclables. Recycling at this rate helps avoid 880 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. It also helps save the energy equivalent to powering 79 homes, and the daily water needs of 12,205 people!

You can be confident that this material is making its way to legitimate destinations. Our recycling contractor, Waste Management, has been keeping all plastic recycling domestic since last year.

They have also opened up a state-of-the-art new recycling facility here in Salt Lake City that benefits our residents, as well as other customers and communities throughout the state.

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Tricks & Treats: Have a Safe and Sustainable Halloween

Halloween is an exciting time of year, but it’s an event that is often associated with a lot of garbage. This year, we’re all having to take steps to protect our community from the coronavirus. But that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop – plus, changing up the Halloween traditions gives us a chance to make the holiday more sustainable!

Safety First

Due to rising transmission of COVID-19 in Salt Lake County, there are several restrictions in place to help stop the spread. The previous color-coding phased guidelines are no longer being used; however Salt Lake City is in a high level of transmission. The new public health guidelines include:

  • Gatherings must be limited to 10 people or fewer
  • Masks must be worn at all times indoors, and at all times outdoors when social distancing is not possible.

If you’re curious about how to keep your family safe from COVID-19 during Halloween, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued several recommendations including keeping your Halloween celebrations limited to your household, or carving pumpkins and decorating outside with smaller groups at a safe distance. The CDC also provides guidance on safe trick-or-treat options.

Image of a smiling jack o' lantern in front of a lantern. Leaves are scattered around the pumpkin, and a string of cheerful pumpkin shaped lights frames the top of the image.
The CDC provides many ways to keep Halloween fun and safe this year.

Stir Things Up!

Although Halloween events are time-honored family traditions, trick-or-treating, costumes, decorations, and other Halloween-related activities can produce a lot of waste. But why not consider the new safety constraints a little extra motivation to be more eco-friendly?

When planning your Halloween this year, remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever possible! Plus, keep in mind these creative ways to have a green Halloween.

Sweet Tooth?

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