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Posts tagged ‘air’

Provo City Launches Provo Clean Air Toolkit

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As we’ve discussed previously, we think cities are hotbeds of sustainability solutions.

Here’s another example from our friends to the south: Provo’s Clean Air Toolkit.

In 2014, Provo was awarded a grant by Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) to pursue this project. The toolkit’s goal is to present local residents and businesses with a centralized list of strategies they can use to achieve cleaner air in Utah County, and to make clean air the common goal of Provo City’s strategic planning and operations.

You can check it out at www.provocleanair.org.   As you’ll see, it offers a comprehensive guide for individuals, businesses, and municipalities to use to reduce air pollutants, as well as helpful statistics and infographics detailing projections for air quality over the next few decades.

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U Drive Program Puts 127 New Electric Vehicles on the Road

You may remember how excited we were to collaborate with Utah Clean Energy and the University of Utah on the second round of U Drive Electric this fall.

The goal: Get more EV’s on the road to promote cleaner air.

The how: By spreading the word about the limited-time bulk discounts available through the University of Utah’s innovative program.

Over the course of September and October, we worked with the U. and Utah Clean Energy to speak with hundreds of people about what “going electric” really means– including how cost-effective owning an electric vehicle is.

Now that this round has wrapped up, we’re excited to announce that 127 electric vehicles were purchased through U Drive Electric II!

When combined with Round I there are now over 200 new electric vehicles on the road thanks to U Drive Electric. These new EV owners have taken an important step towards improving air quality along the Wasatch Front.

  • Electric vehicles produce up to 99% less of the criteria air pollutants that cause bad air quality. With winter inversion season upon us it’s easy to see the importance of driving electric.
  • Furthermore, the EVs purchased through U Drive Electric will significantly reduce green house gas emissions. The carbon dioxide avoided over the next five years is equivalent to not burning nearly 2 million pounds of coal, or 200,000 gallons of gasoline.
  • Put another way, this is like switching 63,000 incandescent bulbs to LEDs, or the equivalent amount of carbon sequestered by 1,700 acres of forest in one year. 
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Testimonials from U Drive Electric participants can be found at utahev.org

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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.

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.

Salt Lake City Announces Project Skyline Challenge Award Winners

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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.

 

Idle Free City Celebration

An Idle Free City celebration took place at Liberty Park Tuesday morning.  This media event included speeches by Mayor Becker, UCAIR Director, Ted Wilson, and Youth City students.  High pollution levels are affecting air quality this summer.  Join the Clear the Air Challenge, which starts today, and remember, turn your key, be idle free!

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Exchange your old gas can (for free!) on Saturday, April 11

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Exchange your old empty 2.5 or 5 gallon gas can for a free, brand new, environmentally friendly can of equal size!

UCAIR and Chevron are exchanging over 4,500 gas cans. That’s equivalent to eliminating 540 cars off Utah’s roads per day over the 5-year life of each gas can. Making this small change can have large impact on our air quality. Together we can make a difference in Utah’s air quality.

The Gas Can Exchange Program will be the first of its kind in Utah and help our state come into compliance with the EPA standard.

The event will be held on April 11, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the following locations:

  • 2100 S. 300 W., Salt Lake City, Chevron Station
  • 1997 E. 3500 N., Layton, Davis Landfill
  • 1855 Skyline Dr., South Ogden, Chevron Station
  • 1200 Towne Center Blvd., Provo Towne Center Mall

Why exchange your old can? Old gas cans contribute to volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by:

  • Permeation of vapors through walls of containers.
  • Escaping fumes while fuel is being dispensed.
  • Spillage and over filling as fuel is being poured into equipment.
  • Spillage and evaporation through secondary vent holes.
  • Evaporation through inadequately capped spouts.

The new cans have several improvements including:

  • Automatic shut-off feature to prevent overfilling.
  • Automatic closing feature.
    • Sealed when it is not in use.
    • Prevents leaking vapors.
    • Protects children from accidental spills and ingestion.
    • Secondary venting holes are eliminated to stop venting of fumes into the air.
    • Thicker walls to reduce vapor permeation.

Please contact Angie at coordinator@ucair.org if you have any questions about the gas can exchange.

Source: http://www.ucair.org/hot_topics/ucair-chevron-gas-can-exchange/

SLC Proposes Discount UTA Pass Program

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Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker gathered with community leaders late last week to unveil a new proposed program geared towards clearing the air. The program would offer discounted UTA passes to Salt Lake City residents for just $30 a month — a 63% discount!

We all know that vehicle emissions are a key factor in the poor air quality that plagues our valley during the winter months. The good news is that getting people out of their cars and on to public transportation can go a long way to help reduce emissions and clear the air. This exciting program – the first of its kind in Utah – could make it possible for most city residents to have a UTA pass in their pocket!

Here are the details on the proposed program.

Purpose: Offer an annual transit pass to Salt Lake City residents to incentivize transit use and make riding transit more affordable.

Basic Structure: Salt Lake City residents will be eligible to purchase a one year transit pass for $360. The passes will be available for purchase from Salt Lake City upon providing proof of residency. Residents may pay all at once, or pay in 12 installments of $30 via a monthly bill.

The pass will be issued with the resident’s photo on it, and is non-transferable. There is no limit per household. The pass will be good on local and express bus, TRAX, and FrontRunner. Ski bus, Park City Connect and paratransit services will be excluded from the pass.

The program is a unique partnership between UTA and Salt Lake City. While modeled after other bulk pass programs offered by UTA for employees of eligible organizations, it’s the first pass of its kind to be designed for residents.

Benefits: In just 12 local trips per month (6 round-trips), residents who opt in to the pass will have broken even on their investment. Having a ‘pass in pocket’, residents are more likely to use transit.

Timeframe: The program will launch in early 2014. This pass is being implemented as a one-year pilot program. If successful, UTA and SLC may choose to continue the program. The program will be refined as needed and made available to other communities.

Basis: UTA completed a random sample telephone survey to assess interest in purchasing this pass. Based on results of the survey, up to 6,000 passes could be sold.

Media Coverage:

Next Steps: To make this program a reality, work to be completed over the next few months includes:

  • Funding allocated from Salt Lake City Council (Pending decision)
  • Set join goals between UTA/SLC to define goals and positive outcomes
  • Set up administrative systems
  • Determine tracking mechanisms
  • Marketing  and public information
  • Materials preparation (passes, etc..)
  • Back-office functions for both UTA and SLC accounting procedures

Air Quality Grants Available

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The Utah Clean Air Partnership (more commonly known as UCAIR) is now accepting proposals for their new grants program.

The purpose of the program is to provide incentives to the private sector, government entities, and individuals to reduce emissions of criteria pollutants that cause Utah’s poor air quality.

Grants will be used to promote investment by the private and public sector in emission-reducing technology, lower emission vehicles, energy efficiency and other proven methodologies for reducing or eliminating emissions, including education of the public.

The program will also encourage creative thinking and promote the development of new technology, but will be based on solid metrics and performance standards that demonstrate actual emissions reductions. A loan program will be announced at a later date.

Visit the UCAIR website for more information, and to download the application form.