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Posts tagged ‘bad air’

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

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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

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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.

 

City Continues Efforts to Reduce Emissions with New Electric Vehicles

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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.

Data Competition Tackles Air Quality in Utah

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Utah Geek Events, the Big Data User groups and many other groups have joined forces to learn more about the air quality in Utah. For the past two months, technologists, scientists, air quality experts, and experts from related fields have been gathering information and data with correlations to Utah’s air.

Air quality is a complex problem that influences many aspects of our lives, including our health, economy and quality of life. Part of that complexity is understanding the entire puzzle of our air — why is it bad and how does it really affect our lives?

Get involved!

Now that we have the information to start gaining answers, we need the questions. Teams will be breaking off to compete to create amazing results with the latest technologies in Big Data, but we need your help.

We are looking for ideas of what to look for from the public. We are open to all ideas and suggestions regardless of how far-fetched or mundane they may seem. Feel free to share this survey with others.

Take the survey.

The more questions we have, the more we can start to understand our air and help create a brighter future for Utah.

Learn more at BigDataUtah.org.

 

Summer Ozone: Get the Facts

UCAIR_SummerOzoneGraphic

During the warmest summer months, Salt Lake City experiences poor air quality due to ozone pollution.

This helpful graphic from the Utah Clean Air Partnership – UCAIR outlines how ozone is formed, and what we can do to reduce our impact.

Learn more at UCAIR.org.

(Don’t forget to drive less this July with the Clear the Air Challenge. Track your impact and win prizes – it’s fun!)

Mayor Becker Takes on Air Quality

On Wednesday, January 8, Mayor Ralph Becker gathered with residents, students and stakeholders to deliver his 2014 State of the City Address.

But instead of following tradition and sharing the administration’s accomplishments, Mayor Becker focused his entire speech on air quality.

The Mayor began by focusing on what Salt Lake City has already accomplished to reduce emissions and help clear the air. Efforts include the City’s Idle Free Ordinance, bike share, electric vehicle charging stations, biking infrastructure and the new net zero Public Safety Building. Read the full summary.

Then he outlined Salt Lake City’s next steps on air quality issues, including discount transit pass for city residents, creating an incentive program to replace woodburning stoves and phasing out inefficient maintenance equipment like 2 stroke engines. Read the full summary.

In some of the most compelling moments of the address, Mayor Becker outlined five clear requests for state government. These requests specifically deal with limitations that local governments face when combating air pollution. Part of the plea included the message “If this can’t be accomplished at the state level, let us. We at the local level can get it done.”

  1. Allocate more money for public transit. “We have to make it easier for people to use transit as an alternative to driving. We need more coverage that runs more frequently and costs less. Recent polling and many anecdotes I hear reinforce how difficult it is for most people to use transit. It just takes too long and is too inconvenient. And the only way to improve transit service is to better fund it. I urge our State to raise the cap on sales tax for transit. It should be a no-brainer. Or, if you are unwilling to do so, let us do it. Give us local control to fund transit. We at the local level can get it done.”
  2. Make lower sulphur gasoline available. “Tier 3 gasoline, as it is called, has lower levels of sulphur and therefore decreased emissions. It is mandated in other states and should be required for use along the Wasatch Front. This technology exists today to significantly reduce tailpipe emissions. Interestingly, one of our local refineries, Chevron, already produces Tier 3 gasoline, but it is shipped to Washington State because it’s is required there. Even our Salt Lake County Council of Governments endorsed the shift to Tier 3. Or, once again, if you are not willing to do that, let us make that determination locally.”
  3. Change state law to allow for standards that are relevant to Utah. “Do you all know that we have a state law that says our air quality standards here in Utah cannot be more strict than federal standards? Are we really okay with a standard that represents a passing grade for most other cities and states, but still allows us to fail? Since when are we content with Federal officials in Washington determining what’s best for the people of Utah? If this can’t be accomplished at the state level, give us local control over air quality standards so we can make them fit our local needs.”
  4. Make the true cost of driving transparent at the pump. “Gas prices directly affect whether people drive their cars more or less. According to a recent statewide survey, about half of Utahns would reduce vehicle use if gas cost an additional 25 to 75 cents per gallon. And, at an additional $1 per gallon, nearly two thirds would reduce their vehicle use and find other ways to run errands, get to work, and live their lives. If this can’t be accomplished at the state level, let us. We at the local level can get it done, and in fact local governments are united around a proposal for a local option gas tax increase.
  5. Require buildings to use power efficiently. Utah’s energy code standards date back to 2006. Since then, national and international building codes have been upgraded and have been proven to achieve a 30% improvement in energy efficiency. Many other jurisdictions across America have done this already. If state entities cannot or will not, let us do it. We can get it done locally.”

The event closed with the 4th grade ELP students from Whittier Elementary singing an original song called “The Frightful Inversion.” Watch the video below!

Additional Resources

Read a full transcript of the 2014 State of the City Address.

View images on SLCgreen Instagram.

Join the conversation! Use the #clearupslc hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.