Salt Lake City Publishes Plan to Tackle Climate Change and Carbon Pollution
Climate Positive plan prioritizes regional collaboration, community participation, and innovation to reduce pollution and enhance local resilience to warming temperatures.
Salt Lake City has released a comprehensive plan entitled Climate Positive 2040, detailing ways the Capitol City will sustain its leadership role in addressing climate change.
Google’s Project Sunroof shows Salt Lake City’s massive solar potential. Click the image to navigate to the Sunroof site to explore the city’s energy potential.
Did you know that more solar energy reaches Earth in just five days than all of the fossil fuel reserves combined? Harnessing that solar energy is a critical part of switching to renewable energy and creating a more sustainable community, especially for sunny Utah.
And while the $2,000 state solar tax credit is set to phase out by 2021, there’s still enormous room for growth.
Salt Lake City and Salt Lake Chamber partner on the Third Annual Skyline Challenge to accelerate commercial building energy efficiency
As part of her mission to improve air quality, reduce carbon emissions, and form strong partnerships with the business community, Mayor Jackie Biskupski is pleased to launch the Third Annual Skyline Challenge—this year with the Salt Lake Chamber joining the roster of partners.
The annual Skyline Challenge is a voluntary program to accelerate investment in energy efficiency from large commercial buildings and raise public awareness of building energy performance while creating jobs and fostering a stronger local economy.
University of Utah President David Pershing, Mayor J. Biskupski, and Utah Clean Energy Executive Director Sarah Wright
Mayor Biskupski trying out new 2016 EV models.
Mayor J. Biskupski launches U Drive Electric Program
In a joint press conference, the University of Utah and Salt Lake City today announced the launch of an electric vehicle purchase program extending discounts on multiple makes and models of vehicles. The second round of U Drive Electric offers U community members and Salt Lake City community members the opportunity to purchase or lease electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles at discounted prices through Oct. 31, 2016.
This joint program is aimed at improving air quality and community health both today and for future generations. With almost 50 percent of Utah’s urban air pollution coming from tailpipe emissions, electric vehicles represent an important tool for improving air quality along the Wasatch Front.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and City Council have committed to a Joint Resolution to transition the community to 100 percent renewable electricity sources by 2032 and an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2040.
The Mayor and City Councilmember Erin Mendenhall were joined by other City leaders and community members on the steps of the City and County Building today to announce the resolution.
“This is the most ambitious step ever taken by Salt Lake City to address the threat of climate change,” said Mayor Biskupski. “This commitment places the City among leading communities worldwide that acknowledge our responsibility to rapidly reduce emissions and forge a new path forward that protects our economies, societies and overall human well-being.”
Salt Lake City had previously committed to 100 percent renewable electricity sources for its government operations, along with major carbon reductions for City operations, but this resolution expands the scope to include all electricity and emissions on a community scale.
The Joint Resolution cited the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and being driven by the burning of fossil fuels. The Resolution also acknowledged local impacts such as changes in water systems and extreme weather events that are affecting Salt Lake City now and will be exacerbated in the future.
“We can tackle this challenge and deliver clean energy solutions that will simultaneously improve air quality, protect public health and deliver local jobs. Leading on climate change today is an obligation we all share with each other and to future generations,” stated Mayor Biskupski.
Visit www.slcgreen.com/climatepositive for more information about the plan.
See the full Carbon Reduction Joint Resolution here.
Last Friday, Salt Lake City was recognized by The White House and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for its efforts to unlock access to energy data for building owners and improve energy efficiency.
Since 2013, Salt Lake City has partnered with both Rocky Mountain Power and Questar to provide whole-building energy data access to building owners through the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Tool. The effort, which is on track for completion in 2017, will ensure effortless energy data management for building owners, providing a complete picture as to building energy use and enabling them to employ more responsive strategies.
“Salt Lake City, Rocky Mountain Power and Questar are working together to help building owners understand how their building is operating and to identify opportunities to improve energy management,” says Vicki Bennett, sustainability director for Salt Lake City. “By automating and streamlining the process, more Salt Lake City building owners will be able to improve energy efficiency – ultimately saving energy, money and emissions.”
Salt Lake City is committed to improving air quality, and buildings play an important role in emissions. The most recent data from the Utah Division of Air Quality show that 39% of existing air pollution comes from area sources (i.e. homes and businesses). This percentage is expected to increase significantly over the next 20 years as vehicles become more efficient, making building energy efficiency efforts more and more important.
Last week, Mayor Jackie Biskupski extended an invitation to leading industry experts to share their ideas and best practices for energy efficiency in buildings, as part of the Elevate Buildings process.
“There is nothing more important than the air we breathe, and working to clear our skies is a top priority of my administration,” says Mayor Biskupksi. “By collaborating with industry experts we will help improve air quality through increased energy efficiency our city’s largest buildings.”
Learn more about Salt Lake City’s efforts to cut energy waste in buildings at SLCgov.com/ProjectSkyline.
Tackling climate change requires fresh perspectives, diverse collaborations and a profound transition to cleaner energy sources.
Join us on Thursday, February 4th to explore these themes and what they mean for Utah. We’ll be joined by two prominent local leaders, Sarah Wright and Matt Pacenza, who will share their insights on clean energy and climate solutions.
We’ll start the evening with a 60-minute screening of Episode 6 of the Emmy-award winning series Years of Living Dangerously. This will be followed by a 30-minute panel with our local experts. Episode 6 of the series focuses on methane leaks from natural gas operations, lobbying forces in America and home-grown renewable energy solutions.
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Watch the trailer:
Sarah Wright is the founder and Executive Director of Utah Clean Energy, a non-profit partnering to build the new clean energy economy in Utah for the past 15 years. She leads a team that collaborates with government, private sector and other community partners to stop energy waste while simultaneously building a smarter energy future.
Sarah is an intervener in regulatory proceedings and an expert witness in legislative hearings, testifying in support of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Sarah has a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from Bradley University and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Utah.
Matt Pacenza joined HEAL Utah five years ago and began serving as Executive Director in 2015. HEAL is a non-profit that promotes renewable energy and advocates for enhanced public health while opposing toxic harms to the environment.
Matt has managed HEAL’s policy agenda on nuclear waste, energy and clean air issues and now leads the organization’s staff, program and budgets. Matt has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Policy from Cornell University and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from New York University. From the east coast, he now happily calls “Sugarhood” his home.