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Posts tagged ‘air pollution’

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

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

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

U Drive Electric Extended through November 30th

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Our winter time inversion season is here, but this year Utah will have more clean, electric cars on the road that are helping to improve our air quality through the U Drive Electric program. The University of Utah’s U Drive Electric program has facilitated the sale of 92 electric and plug-in-hybrid cars in the last six weeks. Due to the popularity of the program, U Drive Electric has been extended through Nov. 30, 2016. The program is offered through a collaboration between the university, Salt Lake City and Utah Clean Energy.

Read more

Salt Lake City Partners with Utilities to Improve Building Energy Efficiency

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.

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The University of Utah Explores Society, Water and Climate

The Utah College of Social and Behavioral Science hosted an intriguing breakfast presentation last Friday at the Red Butte Garden Classroom on the topics of Society, Water, and Climate.

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Drs. Rick Forster and Andrea Brunelle. Photo credit: Annette Barrett, University of Utah.

Drs. Rick Forster, Associate Dean for Research in the College of Social and Behavioral Science, and Andrea Brunelle, Geography Chair, presented on the University of Utah’s new interdisciplinary faculty cluster, an effort to focus research and use a multifaceted approach to addressing challenges related to society, water, and climate. The new faculty cluster includes an ecohydrologist, an air quality scientist and a glaciologist. The addition of a social or behavioral scientist is forthcoming. “This transformative cluster connects research on hydrology, air quality, climate change, societal response, and policy, seeking to meld multiple scientific perspectives to lead society towards sustainable water solutions in a changing world.” (Society, Water, and Climate)

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Dr. Rick Forster and Tyler Poulson, SLCgreen Photo credit: Annette Barrett, University of Utah.

Drs. Rick Forster and Andrea Brunelle also shared experiences and some great photos from their own field-based research.  Dr. Forster studies glaciers and seasonal snow cover response to climate change. He showed some incredible footage of dripping water, despite air temperatures well below freezing, found when ice cores were lifted to the surface at a research site in Greenland.  The water had come from a perennial aquifer under Greenland’s Ice Sheet.

“Climate change will bring increased temperatures combined with likely increases in the severity, frequency, and duration of weather extremes, such as droughts and floods. Changes in water availability due to climate change will be further complicated by use of water for agriculture, changes in land use, and population growth. In many regions of the world, issues centered on climate change and water availability will profoundly shape society in the next century. Addressing these issues requires a focused, transdisciplinary effort from scientists with expertise in society, water and climate.” (The Theoretical Framework of the Society, Water and Climate Research Cluster)

This collaborative approach is an important piece in finding sustainable solutions to issues of society, water, and climate in the future.

Mayor Becker Discusses Air Quality, Energy and Water

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Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker talks with P3 Utah in a recent podcast.

“Ralph Becker, Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah,  visits with Steve Klass of P3 Utah about his work developing a world class livable city. Mayor Becker explains his accomplishments in terms of focus on air quality, setting net zero energy efficiency standards for buildings and watershed and recreation protection as part of the recently adopted Mountain Accord.

He explains the roles of local government, state and federal government in carrying out sustainability initiatives.  He explains the challenges he is leading the City to meet in continuing progress and expresses a desire for greater public engagement.  He says that there are trade-offs and learning at a community level necessary to live differently in order to truly make our metropolitan area more sustainable and adapt successfully to climate change. Listen and be inspired!”

Listen to the podcast here.