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Posts from the ‘Air Quality’ Category

Avoid the Cold Start

We’re in the midst of a yucky inversion. At one point on Monday, the amount of particulate pollution crossed the 55.5 microgram/cubic meter threshold, which puts us in the red category of “Unhealthy” territory.

Dec 11 Air Quality

Air quality conditions and forecasts are available at http://air.utah.gov

Unfortunately, our weather patterns and geography mean we have to work extra hard to reduce what goes into the air.

One of the simplest things you can do is to leave the car at home.

Did you know that the majority of pollution comes when you simply turn your car on?

It’s the phenomenon of “Cold Starts.”

It means that 60-90% of your commute’s emissions come in the first three minutes. Pretty incredible, huh?

You can learn more about cold starts from UCAIR’s great blog post and video below.

So what can you do? Well, aim to keep your car parked as frequently as possibleeven if it’s just for a day, or a single trip you’re skipping

Cold-Starts

How to avoid the Cold Start: Read more

Green Holiday Guide

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SLCgreen’s “Green Holiday Guide.” It’s snow bunny approved.

 

During the holiday rush, sustainability may not be the first thing on your mind. Fortunately, there are a number of measures you can take to ensure your festivities are more eco-friendly and sustainable.

We’ve compiled these actions into a convenient Green Holiday Guide. No matter how you celebrate, we at SLCgreen hope you find this information helpful and wish you the best of times and a very happy New Year!

Christmas Trees

One great option for your home Christmas tree is a live native potted tree. When you’re done with it, plant it after the holidays or let it live on as a house plant. As an added bonus, a live tree will absorb carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen for cleaner air.

Check with your local nursery or garden center for advice on the best type of tree, depending if you are planning to replant or keep it inside.  If you can, hold off and plant it in late March or early April. This will increase the tree’s chance of surviving long term.

If you go for a cut tree, use the compost bin to dispose of it after the holidays. Make sure to cut it up so it fits in the bin and remove any tinsel or non-organic decorations (Just be sure to dispose of it before the wintertime suspension of compost bin collection, beginning the week of January 22, 2018).

If you can’t cut up your tree for the compost bin, no problem. Leave it curbside and we’ll be by during the month of January to collect it.

No matter what you do, do not burn your tree. Burning anything during the winter is horrible for our air quality (Burning during “air action” days is also against State regulation and violates Salt Lake County Health Department rules).

Energy efficiency

When stringing up lights this season, think “less is more.” For the lights you do put up, go for LED lights, which are 80-95% more efficient than traditional bulbs and will last longer. (This is a good reminder to switch out any other traditional light bulbs you may have in your home for LEDs too!)

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LED lights look great on me!

Make sure you have your lights on a timer so they only are on when you want them to be. Some LED Christmas lights are even solar powered! Read more

Inversion Season is Here — Here’s What You Can Do

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We’re getting into dirty air season. Our first big inversion is starting this week and is expected to last awhile.

What this means is that a high pressure system is setting up, trapping cold air on the valley floors– and with it all the pollution we collectively emit. Pollution doubles every day during inversions— and it can get yucky.

Salt Lake City is committed to reducing emissions and helping our community breathe easier.

But we need your help. 

A significant source of pollution comes from our cars (roughly 50%), as well as our homes and buildings (roughly 35%). That means each of us can make a difference to our air quality.

This winter, the SLC Sustainability Department will be pushing out regular air quality tips and reminders.

Please join us! Follow along on social media and right here on our blog.  We also encourage you to join our email list to have tips delivered right to your inbox.

Share, repost, and demonstrate your commitment to clearing the air.

The top three things you can do this winter are listed in the graphic above. Click here for more information.

  1. Drive Less— aim to increase your #CarFreeDays to have the most impact. Make use of the Hive Pass if you live in Salt Lake City.
  2. Be Idle Free
  3. Skip the wood burning

Read more

How’s the Air Quality at Your Home?

During the winter, when high pressure rolls in, pollution builds up.

Specifically pollution called PM2.5 which are tiny particles that actually obscure our view of the mountains and even of neighboring buildings on bad days.

The Division of Air Quality operates monitors at several locations across the Wasatch Front, but pollution concentrations can vary depending on where exactly you’re located. Contributing factors include:

  • Do you live next to a road?
  • Do you have a neighbor who frequently fires up their meat smoker or burns wood?
  • Is there a nearby restaurant or small business that releases precursor pollutants?
  • On top of all those factors– what is happening with the particular mix of geography and weather at your location?

Air quality science is complex.

But gaining a better understanding of pollution nuances across the valley can help policy makers make better decisions, and can help residents better protect themselves. Read more

Breathe Clean Festival on November 18

Inversion season is upon us (yuck!)

As we prepare for colder weather and snowfall, it’s also important to understand how to take action on air quality at this time of year. 

UCAIR has helpful resources for understanding Utah’s air pollution problem and what you can do about it.  SLCgreen also has a handy list of actions you can take to reduce your contribution to the bad air.

We’d also like to invite you to come to a free community event on November 18 to learn more.

Breathe Clean Festival

There will be presentations from organizations involved in tackling this issue, as well as helpful giveaways for you and your family (air masks, LED lights, home insulation kits, and more!) Read more

Sustainability Saturday: Take Advantage of SLC’s Sustainability Assets

Does SLC’s commitment to sustainability improve your quality of life? Does it make Salt Lake City a better place to live and work? We think so! Check out our latest blog with SLC Economic Development on how and why businesses should seek out and take advantage of our city’s “sustainability assets.”

#e2business #SustainableBusiness #SustainableCity #LiveWorkPlay

Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development

When you hear about Salt Lake City – whether that’s in a travel magazine, a business journal, or talking with people who live or visit here—you hear about our quality of life.

The importance and uniqueness of our quality of life is rooted deeper than our attractive natural landscapes and recreation opportunities—it also recognizes that Salt Lake City is a modern, progressive city, especially when it comes to sustainability.

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It may not come as a surprise then that across the county, Salt Lake City and its businesses are often viewed as leading out when it comes to ambitious and successful sustainability practices. The concepts of sustainability and high quality of life are in many ways synonymous—to live in a place with abundant local food, clean energy growth, active transportation options, energy efficient buildings, and walkable neighborhoods—these are the features of a truly sustainable city. They also make it a pretty…

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#UtahClimateWeek: What Can You Do?

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We’re in the middle of Climate Week in Utah! Our events have been a great success so far and we are looking forward to the rest of the week’s activities.

Today we want to focus on what you can do to combat climate change. Of course, national and international policies make a huge difference in how many emissions global society ultimately cuts in the coming years.

But each of us can also play a role. Here’s how:

Calculate your carbon footprint

Green Calculator

Measure your impact with this comprehensive carbon footprint calculator for individuals and households. It will show you how your consumption habits compare to national and global averages and give you suggestions on how to offset your carbon footprint. SLCgreen also has a handy list of household actions you can take to reduce your impact.

Knowledge is power

Misinformation on climate change is all-too-prevalent. Be informed. Check multiple sources focusing on articles which cite and list scientific studies.  Here is a sample of some reputable sites, documentaries, and books:

skepticalscience.com

grist.org

timetochoose.com

billmckibben.com

merchantsofdoubt.org

Walk the talk

Transportation plays a big role in our carbon footprint. The western states have all been working to install more electric vehicle infrastructure, making it a viable and increasingly affordable option for Utahns. Consider an EV next time you are purchasing a car.

Don’t discount the big impact that walking, taking public transit (HIVE passes are great for this), or riding a Greenbike can have on your carbon footprint!

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