Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘air pollution’

Mayor Becker Discusses Air Quality, Energy and Water

ralph-becker-300x167

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.

Trailblazers of Clean Energy Speaker Series

Trailblazers Invitation_Short Version FinalThis fall, Utah Clean Energy and the University of Utah’s Sustainability Office are hosting a first-of-its kind lecture series featuring three climate change innovators. Hear these national experts speak about their outside-the-box approaches to combat climate change and shape a positive future for the world.
Race car driver and Sundance film star, Leilani Münter, will kick off the series on September 22nd at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. When you think race car driving, you usually don’t think environmental activist – unless it’s Leilani Münter.  Learn how this fearless female NASCAR driver wants to bring 75 million racing fans over to the “green side.”  Her motto is “Live is short. Race hard. Live green.”

The award-winning national director of Green For All, Vien Truong, will speak on October 21st. Truong is one of the nation’s foremost experts fighting for climate justice in low-income communities. Hear from Troung on how we can safeguard the most vulnerable from the worst impacts of climate change.

Bestselling author of Green Sense for Your Home and founder of organicARCHITECT, Eric Corey Freed, will speak on November 5th.  Freed promotes both an organic and ecological approach to design and is considered a pioneer in the tradition of Organic Architecture.

Sign up for this three part lecture series on innovative solutions to our world’s most pressing challenges.  Tickets are $5 per event and free for University of Utah students (registration required).

Mayor Becker Signals Support for Stronger Clean Air Protections

 

airquality

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker released a letter signed by more than 50 U.S. mayors from around the country signaling support for President Obama setting the strongest possible clean air protections against smog pollution, also known as ground-level ozone.

“Poor air quality is one of the most significant threats to our quality of life here in Salt Lake City,” said Mayor Becker. “Stronger smog protections will help our families breathe easier and spend more time outdoors, without having to worry about the quality of the air we breathe.”

According to the American Lung Association, inhaling smog pollution is like getting a sunburn on your lungs and often results in immediate breathing trouble. Long term exposure to smog pollution is linked to chronic respiratory diseases like asthma, reproductive and developmental harm, and even premature death. Children, seniors, and people with asthma are especially vulnerable to smog’s health impacts.

Salt Lake City is taking action to reduce its impact on air quality by increasing electric vehicle infrastructure, reducing fleet tailpipe emissions and replacing two-stroke maintenance equipment with more efficient models. Explore all of the actions Salt Lake City is taking to reduce air pollution at www.SLCgreen.com.

The letter was signed by a diverse coalition of local leaders and supports efforts by President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stay true to the science and issue protections consistent with the recommendations from leading public health organizations like the American Lung Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Health Association.

Media Contact:

Kate Lilja Lohnes
Communications Manager
Salt Lake City, Division of Sustainability
(801) 535-7755

 

President Announces Clean Power Plan

Today President Obama announced the Clean Power Plan rule.  The Clean Power Plan, proposed by Environmental Protection Agency, is a plan to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants. This plan will maintain an affordable, reliable energy system, while cutting pollution and protecting our health and environment. There were previously no national limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, which account for forty percent of U.S. carbon emissions and are the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S. These EPA-proposed standards are the first-ever national limits on this type of pollution. Nationwide, the Clean Power Plan will help cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 30 percent below 2005 levels. (1)  According to a recent survey by Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, “A large majority of Americans support setting strict emission limits on coal-fired power plants.” (2)

Mayor Becker gave the following remarks:

 “I applaud President Obama and the United States Environmental Protection Agency for announcing the Clean Power Plan today. The Plan is a forward-looking and common sense policy to address one of the most critical issues facing local communities: climate change.

Like many other cities across the Nation, Salt Lake City is actively working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions responsible for contributing to climate change. In particular, Salt Lake City continues to be a  leader through many initiatives, including increasing energy efficiency of our existing municipal facilities, requiring all new municipal facilities to achieve “net zero” status, and promoting and investing in clean distributed solar energy. These investments not only cut pollution, and save money on our energy bills, but they make Salt Lake City an energy-smart and more livable city.

Over the coming days and weeks, I look forward to learning about the full scope and the long-term benefits that the Clean Power Plan will have on our communities.”

In addition to his work with the City, Mayor Becker is serving as the president of the National League of Cities, which advocates on behalf of over 19,000 member cities, villages, and towns from across the country. Mayor Becker has asked the National League of Cities to act as “an army of advocates” to encourage better climate change policy and work with the administration to assist state, local, and tribal work on this critical issue. #ActOnClimate.

Sources:

  1. Environmental Protection Agency, http://www2.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan, July 31, 2015.
  2. Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, http://environment.yale.edu/poe/v2014/?&est=CO2limits, August 3, 2015.

Buildings are Key to Salt Lake City’s Clean Air Future

Untitled

Buildings represent a large and growing part of our local air quality problem.  A new infographic, released at the Mayor’s Project Skyline Awards Ceremony, presents statistics on building energy efficiency and economic benefits. For example, buildings contribute nearly 40% of pollutants on a typical winter day. By making buildings more energy efficient, we can conserve enough resources to power up to 37,000 homes every year. If Salt Lake City were to adopt energy savings best practices, building owners across the city could save up to $48 million dollars annually.

As many know, Salt Lake City has significantly poor air quality, especially during the winter months; however, fewer know how dramatically we can improve our air quality by improving the energy efficiency of our buildings.  By making large buildings in Salt Lake City more energy efficient, we could remove one million pounds of pollutants, which equates to taking 32,000 vehicles off the road for one year. Additionally, we would prevent 650 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year! View the complete infographic for additional facts.

Join us and become a part of Project Skyline to save money, improve property values, and clean our air.

Salt Lake City Announces Project Skyline Challenge Award Winners

ProjectSkyline 400

Today, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency for the U.S. Department of Energy, and Matthew Dalbey, Director of the Office of Sustainable Communities for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, joined City leaders and building owners in honoring the winners of the Project Skyline Mayor’s Challenge 2015 Awards. Project Skyline, a multi-year challenge to reduce building energy use in buildings across the city, was launched in May 2014. The goal is to challenge building owners across Salt Lake City to proactively meet – and exceed – the air quality and energy-saving targets of the Sustainable Salt Lake – Plan 2015 by 15 percent by 2020. Throughout its first year, Project Skyline has been overwhelmingly successful, hosting educational and networking workshops, providing resources for evaluating the building’s energy use, and helping establish energy-saving goals for each business involved.

At the 2015 Project Skyline Awards Luncheon, five winners were recognized for their leadership in Challenge efforts over the past year.

This year, the Energy Innovator Award goes to Basic Research. Basic Research has improved the efficiency of their 230,000-square-foot facility by improving the lighting, HVAC systems, and installing the largest privately owned solar photovoltaic project in the state of Utah. By making these improvements, Basic Research has improved their ENERGY STAR score from 10 to 99.

The Sustained Excellence Award goes to Fidelity Investments. Across the country, Fidelity Investments is working to obtain LEED certification in 65 percent of their buildings and their location on 49 N 400 W is no exception. The building falls under LEED Silver certification, and recently, they added LED lighting and lighting controls and photovoltaic panels to improve the building’s ENERGYSTAR score to 96.

The McGillis School, a private co-ed school located on the Northeast bench of the Salt Lake Valley, has earned the Most-Improved EnergyStar Score Award. In 2014, the school reported an ENERYSTAR score of 97, which marks a 17 point improvement from 2013.

The Energy Efficiency Leadership Award goes to Newmark Grubb ACRES. Throughout the past year, Newmark Grubb ACRES has helped tremendously attending and presenting at multiple workshops. Company leadership also participates on BOMA Utah’s Energy and Sustainability committee and helped launch the BOMA Utah Kilowatt Crackdown. Additionally, the company is working on energy efficiency in several of its properties and are continuing to improve their ENERGYSTAR scores.

Lastly, the Benchmarking Champion Award goes to the Salt Lake City School District. Since 2009, the Salt Lake City School District has begun benchmarking to monitor energy consumption in over 40 buildings. Not only are 72 percent of the district’s schools benchmarked, but they are also certified ENERGY STAR buildings. They have seen an an 18 percent improvement in ENERGY STAR scores in all of their buildings.

Congratulations to these businesses.  For more information on Project Skyline and the Mayor’s Challenge, visit our website.

 

City Continues Efforts to Reduce Emissions with New Electric Vehicles

Loaner Pool Electric 1d

With ongoing air quality problems, the City continues efforts to reduce its overall emissions. Seven new, all-electric vehicles are being added to the City’s fleet this year, replacing older, fossil fuel-burning vehicles and helping to achieve aggressive emission reduction goals set by Mayor Becker. Salt Lake City has a total of 224 clean vehicles as part of its fleet, including clean diesel, CNG, all-electric and hybrid-electric options.  Since 2009, the percentage of clean fleet vehicles operated by the City has grown from just over 2% to more than 15% of the total fleet.  The City has historically focused on integrating hybrid-electric vehicles, with 120 of these in the current fleet, but new all-electric sedans represent an even greater air quality benefit due to zero tailpipe emissions.

“Our program to carefully assess emissions and local air pollutant impacts, as part of the cost-to-own analysis for fleet purchases, is paying dividends,” said Mayor Becker. “We weigh these factors to produce outcomes that mitigate climate and air quality impacts and save taxpayer resources.”

Salt Lake City currently operates public EV charging stations at six separate locations.  The City recently received a $200,000 grant from the Utah Division of Air Quality to expand public charging options and will use these funds to install 25 new charging ports throughout the City.

Residents can review, and weigh-in on, the City’s work to reduce its overall carbon footprint via the Sustainable City Dashboard tool, here.