At least by driving smarter.
Hear us out: You’ve heard that a big chunk– roughly 50 percent — of Salt Lake City’s winter air pollution comes from motor vehicles.
That’s why SLCgreen promotes cleaner transportation and getting out of our cars as much as possible, particularly during February and the Clear the Air Challenge.
But, we know that taking public transit, biking, or purchasing an electric vehicle is not practical for everyone – yet! However, there are some important ways to reduce pollution even when you do drive.
We all want to take better care of our health and live in a healthy world and by planning ahead we can help our city have fewer red air days! Here’s how:
Avoid Cold Starts. Cold starts occur when we start our vehicles after they have been resting long enough for the engine to get cold.
Did you know? A majority of the air pollutants used across an entire journey are emitted in the first few minutes after you start your car.
A study from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality “found that 75 percent of combined pollutants and emissions are emitted from a car during the first three minutes after a cold start,” as described in a UCAIR’s blog post and video below.
It’s only mid-December but we’ve already had a few inversions– and the dirty air they trap– this season.
Luckily this week’s winter storm has cleared out the inversion and the worst of the poor air, but it’s a reminder of why it’s all the more important to be mindful of how we can each reduce our contribution to the muck.
Because transportation accounts for 48% of the air pollution we see on any given wintertime inversion day, choosing cleaner ways to get around is one of the most impactful steps we as individuals can take
With that in mind, we’d like to share a couple of exciting options that are available right now to promote more sustainable travel.
Hive Pass Discounts
Salt Lake City residents can apply for the HIVE pass. The Salt Lake City program, in partnership with UTA, offers easier access to mass transit by reducing the cost of the monthly adult pass by 50%.
by Ryan Anderson, SLCgreen intern, and Tyler Poulson
Salt Lake City Sustainability recently helped host a workshop at the Utah Division of Air Quality to educate a diverse range of local government leaders on electric vehicle charger site selection, installation, and management.
Attendees at the electric vehicle charging infrastructure workshop | Sept 20, 2018
In partnership with Leaders for Clean Air, Rocky Mountain Power, Utah Clean Cities, and the Utah Division of Air Quality, we engaged dozens of representatives from local governments, plus staff from higher-education institutions, companies, and non-profits on how to build a robust charging network while leveraging local incentives.
Salt Lake City’s Climate Positive 2040 goal of Clean Transportation requires swift electric vehicle adoption throughout the region. Our recently published Electrified Transportation Roadmap highlights opportunities to support EVs which reduce local air pollutants along the Wasatch Front up to 99% relative to gasoline vehicles.
Fortunately, broader trends suggest a move to electrified transportation. Electric vehicles are expected to make up 55% of global new car sales in just a couple decades and by planning ahead and installing electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) we can make that transition as smooth as possible. Read more
Project Open’s All-Electric Apartments Set the Stage for Eco-Friendly Affordable Living
by Ryan Anderson, SLCgreen intern
If you’ve been to Salt Lake City in the winter, you know that our air quality leaves room for improvement. Our air pollution has already been found to have severe health impacts, and it’s crucial that we act now before the problem worsens.
Winters are plagued by inversions and in the summer we have a growing problem with ozone.
Both of these problems are directly tied to the emissions we put into the air. While transportation is the largest source, our homes and buildings are a close second and are projected to become the top polluter in the coming years.
With Utah’s population expected to double in the latter half of this century and a growth rate three times the national average, reducing emissions and improving our air quality has become even more pressing.
A key step in securing a healthier future for our community is to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas in residential and commercial buildings, plus the transportation sector.
Luckily, there are solutions. If we design and build our structures smarter, we can reduce much of the pollution that comes from our buildings. And if these structures also incorporate green transportation features, we can significantly move the needle on both air pollution and our community carbon footprint.
That’s why we’re excited to feature a forward-thinking new housing complex that is innovating on all of these fronts.
By Ryan Anderson, SLCgreen intern
(Originally published on the Utah Clean Cities blog. We thank them for helping support this initiative!)
The Salt Lake City Compliance Division has a colorful, new addition to their Parking Enforcement fleet. Four all-electric Chevrolet Bolts have replaced old JEEP Wranglers to deliver financial savings and notable pollution reductions.
Salt Lake City’s new all-electric Chevy Bolts help the City reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, and meet our Climate Positive goals.
“It’s important that we lead by example and demonstrate how electric vehicles offer a reliable, safe and efficient alternative to gas-powered cars,” stated Greg Fieseler, Compliance Division Field Supervisor. “The electric cars are fun to drive too!”
Greg acknowledged there was initially some skepticism among staff that the new EVs would prove viable as fleet vehicles. That skepticism has been replaced by enthusiasm as the electric cars are now “the preferred choice” for most employees.
Compliance has been able to seamlessly integrate these vehicles without any modifications to routes or other significant operational changes. Even with 90 degree-plus heat throughout July and the A/C running for most of the day, the 200-plus mile range of the Bolts has allowed officers to complete their daily routes with energy to spare. Read more
By Jack Hurty, SLCgreen intern
We’re all used to winter smog here along the Wasatch Front, with brown haze moving in and obscuring the mountains. But there is another pollutant in the valley, invisible but no less dangerous — ozone.
What is Ozone?
Ozone, a molecule consisting of three oxygen atoms, is created when nitrogen oxide (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) mix and are heated by the sunlight.
NOx and VOCs are typically emitted by motor vehicles, but they can come from consumer products as well as industrial sources. (Read more about how ozone forms.)
Ozone is often found in the Earth’s stratosphere, where it plays a beneficial role by protecting us from damaging rays. But when ozone sits in the atmosphere where we can breathe it in, it can be very damaging to our health.
Photos of residents enjoying SLC Open Streets 2015
by Ardyn Ford, SLCgreen intern
Imagine riding your bike down a wide city street under clear, blue skies. There are no cars in sight. You meander across lanes of traffic, surrounded by fellow bikers, skaters, and joggers. Food trucks and beer gardens line the streets. Echoes of laughter are carried by the warm breeze. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t!
On May 5th, Salt Lake City is bringing back a favorite community event called Open Streets. From 10 AM to 4 PM a section of downtown will be closed to all non-essential vehicular traffic. This means that streets will be open for anything from walking to rollerblading. People are encouraged to bring family and friends for a day of movement and fun community activities including yoga classes, art exhibits, and live music.
The route was designed for easy access to public transit and GREENbike stations in an effort to give people the opportunity to experience alternative, sustainable transportation in a safe environment. Read more