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The 2022 Lawnmower Exchange is Almost Here!

Salt Lake City residents can pre-register now to swap out their polluting lawnmowers for an electric upgrade

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The State of Utah’s Lawnmower Exchange is back, and Salt Lake City will once again be participating!

In case you didn’t hear about last year’s lawnmower exchange, the program consists of residents exchanging their gas-powered mower for a (max: $299) coupon for an electric mower.

You might be wondering: Why lawnmowers? Lawnmowers are a significant source of air pollution. In terms of emissions, running a gas-powered lawn mower puts out the equivalent criteria pollution to driving a car 64 miles, according to the Division of Air Quality.

Switching to an electric mower is much cleaner. They’re easier to maintain and quieter to operate too!

Launching and funding this program every year is one of Mayor Mendenhall’s goals.

Last year, we provided funding for the exchange of 509 mowers, removing 4.02 tons of pollution from the airshed each and every year.

This year, our goal is to swap out 1,000 gas-guzzling mowers for clean electric options.

The 2022 Lawnmower Exchange

Switching to an electric lawn mower is a small way that you can make a big impact on our air quality.

Program highlights:

  • This year, the program is a coupon-based program ($299) for the online purchase of an electric mower of your choice through the vendors Home Depot or Redback.
  • FIRST, enter the lottery through our Salt Lake City resident pre-registration form NOW, or by signing up on the State’s website beginning at noon on April 4.
  • The State will notify you via email on Wednesday, April 6 if you have been randomly selected to participate.
  • SECOND: If you were selected, recycle your mower by taking it to a metal recycler OR by scheduling a pickup through Call 2 Haul.
  • After your mower has been recycled, you will receive a recycling verification number. Enter it on this site to unlock your coupon code.
  • THIRD: ORDER ONLINE: Once you select a vendor (Home Depot or Redback), you cannot change your mind and pick a different vendor! Input the coupon code at checkout.
  • You will have through April 17 to place your online order. Coupons will be invalid after that point.
  • $299 coupons will not work on an electric mower retailing less than $299.

For more information, visit slc.gov/sustainability/lawnmower/.

If you are not a Salt Lake City Resident, sign up at lawnmower.utah.gov on April 4th at 12pm.

Thank you for helping improve air quality!

Be a Recycling Champion! Sign up for SLC’s 2022 Master Recycler Program!

Become a champion for reducing, reusing, and recycling in our community!

Are you interested in the ever-changing landscape of recycling?

Do you want to learn why composting is an integral part of waste diversion?

Have you always wondered why glass is recycled separately in Salt Lake City?

Or wanted to learn how to effectively promote recycling practices within your community?

Salt Lake City Green is excited to announce the 2022 Salt Lake City Master Recycler program! Register now at SLCMasterRecycler.com.

Applications will be accepted through Monday, April 4th (unless we fill up sooner).

This FREE program provides in-depth education about recycling, composting, policy and solid waste management for Salt Lake City community members and professional sustainability practitioners.

Master Recyclers touring the recycling facility (aka a MRF site.)
Master Recyclers touring Momentum Recycling.

The Master Recycler program gives participants a behind-the-scenes look at Salt Lake City’s waste management system from bin to the recycling plant.

Participants are required to attend two “core” classes, Waste and Materials Management I and II, which include tours of the Salt Lake Valley Landfill, Waste Management’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF), and Wasatch Resource Recovery’s anaerobic digester!

After finishing these two classes, participants choose a minimum of four additional electives, and two hands on activities (however, they can take up to 6 electives and 3 activities) from a variety of options, like; Compost 101; Food Waste with Wasatch Resource Recovery; Business & Multi-family Unit Recycling; Glass Recycling; Policy Making 101; and Living a Zero-Waste Lifestyle.

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Salt Lake City Accepted into Prestigious Program to Advance Commercial-Scale Solar on the Westside

To read the Mayor’s Press Release online, click here.

Salt Lake City’s Sustainability Department is one of just eight teams across the country selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to receive project support for an initiative to increase solar adoption in commercial buildings on the city’s Westside. NREL made the announcement last week as part of the third round of its program known as the Solar Energy Innovation Network (SEIN) with the goal of discovering transformative ways to enable the equitable adoption of solar in underserved communities.

In close partnership with the non-profit Utah Clean Energy, Salt Lake City will work with stakeholders to increase awareness of existing incentive programs for solar and battery storage, and develop new recommendations for financing mechanisms and incentive programs to increase solar adoption in areas of the city that have faced economic hardships and energy injustice.

“Investing in clean energy is key to addressing our climate, public health, and economic resiliency over the coming years,” said Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “We need to make sure more members of our community have access to it and this project will go a long way toward that goal.”

The Salt Lake City SEIN project brings together technical experts with community partners and Westside businesses to identify challenges, opportunities, and next steps to increase the amount of solar on rooftops across the Westside’s businesses, warehouses, offices, retail stores, and other commercial properties.

The Salt Lake City team comprises Utah Clean Energy, the Suazo Business Center, Rocky Mountain Power, the Utah Office of Energy Development, Centro Civico Mexicano, the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs, and McKinstry.

“We selected teams that are experimenting with creative, promising ideas to use solar power in underserved communities across the United States,” said Eric Lockhart, who leads the Innovation Network at NREL. “The work of these teams will provide a blueprint for other communities pursuing novel ways of adopting and benefiting from solar energy.”

The Salt Lake City team’s participation in the Solar Energy Innovation Network will include financial, analytical, and facilitation support as it works to anticipate and address new challenges and opportunities stemming from equitable solar energy adoption and other distributed energy technologies.

Specifically, this project will make recommendations on how to refine Rocky Mountain Power’s battery incentive program with an emphasis on underserved and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) commercial customers. It will also develop recommendations for new financing mechanisms and/or a state-wide clean energy fund that expands underserved communities’ access to the benefits of solar energy.

“Rooftop solar has grown significantly in Utah and yet remains out of reach for too many Utahns, particularly in underserved communities that have been passed over by programs designed to make solar more accessible and affordable,” said Kate Bowman, Renewable Energy Program Manager with Utah Clean Energy. “Rooftop solar can provide a needed reprieve from monthly utility burdens, and essential backup power during grid outages. Participation in this network will help us explore how to overcome the barriers to solar adoption in the communities that stand to benefit the most.”

The Solar Energy Innovation Network is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office and led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. 

See NREL’s news story here: https://www.nrel.gov/news/program/2022/round-three-announcement-solar-energy-innovation-network.html

See the Salt Lake Tribune story of this effort: “The air on Salt Lake City’s west side may enjoy a brighter future. Here’s why.”

Reshaping Our Future: The 2022 Intermountain Sustainability Summit

Over 400 sustainability professionals, engaged citizens, and emerging leaders will gather virtually on March 16-18 for the Intermountain Sustainability Summit. It’s Utah’s largest sustainability conference, and also one of our favorite yearly events! In the past, the event has occurred at Weber State University, but due to safety concerns, it will occur virtually again this year.

The Summit is hosted by Weber State University’s Sustainability Practices and Research Center (SPARC) and was created to increase sustainability practices by engaging students, sustainability professionals, and the general public in topics such as clean energy infrastructure, green buildings, urban water, and other sustainability topics.

The 2022 Intermountain Sustainability Summit features three days of events, including the pre-summit workshop on Wednesday, March 16, the main Summit day on Thursday, March 17, and workshops on Friday, March 18.

This year’s event includes over 50 local and national speakers on topics like Clean Energy, Buildings & Cities, Equity, Climate & Engagement, Zero Waste, and more.

SLCgreen’s own Christopher Thomas and Peter Nelson are presenting on the main summit day! Christopher will present Utah 100 Communities: How Local Communities Are Leading on The Renewable Energy Program. Peter will present Residential Electrification in Utah: An Economic Lens.

Our RDA team will also be presenting about the Sustainable Development Policy they passed last year that requires all new buildings funded by the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City (RDA) to meet energy efficiency requirements.

Perhaps the most exciting thing is this year’s keynote speakers: physicist and climate communicator, Rob Davies, and award-winning science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson.

Dr. Davies is a physicist whose work focuses on global change, human vibrancy, and the science of systems. He has delivered hundreds of public lectures ― to policymakers, business leaders, civic organizations and faith communities. He has also worked as a scientific liaison for NASA.

Kim Stanley Robinson is the author of more than twenty books, including the international bestselling Mars trilogy, and The Ministry for the Future. He has been called a “Hero of the environment” by Time magazine.

Check out the schedule of events that not only includes speakers, but also makes time for social networking, collaboration, and a student poster competition!

Day 1’s pre-summit workshop on Wednesday, March 16 will focus on “Securing Utah’s Balanced Water Future in a Climate Change World,” a workshop that will continue on the final day, Friday, March 18, as well.

Everyone is welcome at the Intermountain Sustainability Summit! If you are interested in attending, register here.

The Summit is open to professionals, students, and the general public! We hope to see you there!

Announcing the 2022-2023 Resident Food Equity Advisors Program!

The Resident Food Equity Advisors program is currently accepting applications for 2022-2023!

Food security and equitable access to food resources are closely tied to environmental justice and climate change issues. With this in mind, the Sustainability Department launched the Resident Food Equity Advisors (RFEA) program in 2020 in an effort to create programs with residents rather than simply for them.

In the 2020-2021 cohort, 13 advisors from a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences with food collaborated on creating a set of recommendations for the City. The program culminated in a meeting with Mayor Mendenhall and a final report summarizing the Advisors’ key ideas on how the City can advance food equity. The 2022-23 program will focus on prioritizing and developing the food equity solutions recommended by the first cohort.

The 2022-2023 cohort will consist of many of the same advisors in order to continue their successful work, but we are also hoping to add 3-4 new perspectives into the group.

The first group meeting of the 2022-2023 RFEA cohort will be held in April.

Applications for the 2022-2023 program are due on March 6, 2022. Priority will be given to applicants from underrepresented communities.

Good candidates are residents who are passionate about food, engaged in their community, and have firsthand experience of the challenges that many residents face getting the food they want and need.

Ideal applicants will be interested in sharing their knowledge and ideas on what the City can do to increase access to healthy, affordable and culturally relevant food for all. Priority will be given to applicants from underrepresented communities who live in the Glendale, Poplar Grove, Ballpark, Central City, or southwest Liberty Wells neighborhoods, but residents from any part of Salt Lake City are welcome to apply.

Read more about the program and access the application information here.

And see our previous blog posts:

Mayor Mendenhall Releases 2021 Report Card; Outlines Achievements and Priorities in her 2022 State of the City Address

Last week, Mayor Mendenhall released her 2021 Report Card, showing how the City fared on achieving the goals she laid out in January 2021.

We encourage you to check it out– particularly the “Air and Energy” page which details many of the projects we have worked on.

See the Mayor’s 2021 Report Card here.

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Then this week, Mayor Erin Mendenhall delivered her third State of the City address.

In addition to acknowledging the challenges of 2021 with the COVID-19 pandemic, homelessness, and affordable housing, the Mayor detailed significant progress on air quality and environmental initiatives.

She praised the determination residents and business owners have shown throughout the pandemic and other challenges the City has faced.  “The City has shown tremendous resilience and grit; and incredible grace in trying to help others through this time,” she said. 

With environmental achievements, the Mayor described historic progress:

From transitioning the City to net-100 renewable energy to expanding free public transit and planting trees, Salt Lake City is making significant efforts to improve the City’s air quality. 

These are the kind of steps I dreamed of as an air-quality advocate — our city is taking unprecedented control of its energy future,” Mayor Mendenhall said. “Every tree we plant, every mower we swap out, every public-transit ride, every energy-efficient upgrade and every net-zero building that goes up – combined with the 100 percent renewable energy that will soon flow into our city – we are making history together.”

That progress has come through four key approaches: removing pollution, investing in better data, reducing the volume of emissions created, and working to deliver 100 percent renewable energy to the entire city by 2030.

Here are a few highlights as they relate to sustainability from her speech:

Read more

SLCgreen is Hiring: Part-Time Sustainability Outreach Coordinator

Are you excited about communicating sustainability information to the public? Do you have writing or social media experience?

SLCgreen’s Sustainability Division is hiring a Part-Time Outreach Coordinator.

This position is focused on communications and outreach. The Outreach Coordinator will write, help manage our social media, design outreach materials, connect with the public, supervise our summer internship program, manage our outreach event calendar, and attend community events throughout the summer.

We’re looking for an energetic and passionate individual to support SLCgreen’s mission to protect natural resources, reduce pollution, slow climate change, and establish a path toward greater resiliency and vitality for all aspects of our community.

This position is 24-29 hours/week at $18/hour. Applications close February 13, 2022.

Click here for more information and how to apply!

Check out the SLC Sustainability 2021 Year in Review!

Happy New Year!

How is it already mid-January already?! We’ve been busy here the last two weeks on projects for the new year which we’re excited to share with you.

Before that, we’re taking some time to reflect on 2021 and all of the work we accomplished with your support. It’s also an important time to take stock; learn from the experiences we had in 2021; and continue to improve our programs, services, and operations.

Every January, we release a Year in Review with our high-level accomplishments as well as priorities for the year ahead. Below are a few highlights. Make sure to check out the full document for more!

Read the full 2021 Year in Review here.

Saying Goodbye to Team Members and Welcoming New Ones

In 2021, SLCgreen certainly felt the impacts of the “Great Resignation.” We said goodbye to Food & Equity Manager Supreet Gill and welcomed Brian Emerson. In the spring, we parted with the founding director of our Sustainability program, Vicki Bennett, who led our team for 20 years and is also recognized around the country as a leader on these issues.

With Vicki’s retirement, Debbie Lyons stepped up to be Sustainability Director and Sophia Nicholas moved from Communications Manager to the Deputy Director role. We also toasted Shannon Williams, Special Projects Assistant, who moved on to an exciting new role in a new state; while welcoming Bimini Horstmann who hails from Boston (with a stop over at Davidson College) and has a passion for rock climbing and environmental science. And, for the first time, we have a dedicated air quality manager position, filled by Catherine Wyffels who joined our team in the summer. She has brought a wealth of insight and expertise to our department. (See blog).

It didn’t stop there! We gave Gregg Evans, our Financial Manager, to the Public Lands Department (luckily he didn’t go far) but were thrilled to welcome Angie Nielsen to our team in the critical accounting role for our department. Finally, December closed out with Max Barnewitz– the “voice” behind the SLCgreenblog and so many of our outreach functions– moving on to an exciting position with Art Access.

We are proud of how our staff, both seasoned and new, integrated into a cohesive and energetic team tackling a variety of projects this past year.

At the beginning of 2021, the deep connections between equity, resiliency, and climate action were clearer than ever due to 2020’s challenges. It set an important focus for our work last year:

Air Quality, Energy Efficiency, & Electrification

Even with more people than ever working from home in 2021, wildfire and inversion seasons still occur. We developed many new programs and engaged with the public to address these issues from an equitable as well as a scientific lens. Additionally, SLCgreen continued strong efforts to move city departments towards electrification and improve energy efficiency. Some notable achievements in the air quality, energy efficiency, and electrification realms include:

Read more

Introducing Salt Lake City’s Air Quality Action Day Program for Employees

We had an amazing December with lots of storms and snow that filled our mountains and gave kids around the neighborhood plenty of opportunities to build snowmen.

But this week the dreaded high pressure took hold and we’re looking at several days, if not a couple of weeks, of inversions. This means that whatever we emit into the air stays there. And pollution doubles every day. Yuck!

This is the time for us all to prioritize ways to reduce our contribution to the haze.

It’s also a fitting time for Salt Lake City to launch a new air quality program.

As you’ll recall, Salt Lake City works hard to create programs, projects, and policies to improve air quality:

We passed one of the first anti-idling ordinances in the state; continue to prioritize electric vehicles for our fleet, as well as offer free charging at City-owned EV stations for the community; implemented a building benchmarking ordinance to measure and reduce emissions from our city’s largest commercial buildings; and just last month the RDA passed an aggressive new sustainability policy to significantly reduce air pollution from new building construction that receives RDA funding. (Learn more about Salt Lake City’s air quality efforts here).

We also aim to reduce emissions by implementing air-conscious internal policies with our 3,000-strong workforce.

And one of the ways we can do this is to encourage best practices within our workforce on days when the air quality is forecasted to be unhealthy.

This is the intention behind the Air Quality Action Day program which launched in December 2021 (and was debuted during our inversion this week).

Read more

Have a Happy and Sustainable Holiday!

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.

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 your SLC curbside 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 24, 2022).

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 during the winter is a significant source of pollution. (Burning during No Burn 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!)

Y_Christmas_Tree_2
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!

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