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Inspiring Outdoor Stewards

Salt Lake City was selected as one of the first 50 cities to participate in a nationwide movement to inspire and encourage young people to experience the outdoors.  U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell joined Mayor Ralph Becker, Vice President and General Manager of American Express Salt Lake City Victor Ingalls, and President and CEO of the YMCA of Northern Utah Rich West to announce grants totaling $258,653 to organizations throughout Utah, including the Utah Conservation Corps, Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, River Restoration Adventures for Tomorrow, and American Conservation Experience.

“For the health of our economy and our nation’s public lands, it’s critical that we work now to establish deep, meaningful connections between young people – from every background and every community – and America’s great outdoors.” -Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

The initiative, funded as part of a $5 million national commitment by the American Express Foundation, will provide two years of funding for the YMCA of Northern Utah to create a community coordinator position to facilitate collaboration, grow resources, and increase participation in outdoor programs on all public lands in Salt Lake City, from local parks to federal lands and waters. The funding will also support efforts to engage young adults and veterans to serve on the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps and engage new volunteers during next year’s National Park Service Centennial.

“When young people are given an opportunity to care for public lands, their experiences often inspire lifetime connections to their backyard parks and beyond,” said Secretary Jewell. “Volunteering opens doors to new and exciting career opportunities that can transform the personal lives of youth while benefiting the communities and special places they work to improve.”

“Salt Lake City is home to one of the most beautiful natural settings in the country and we couldn’t be more thrilled by this news. Our children benefit enormously from spending more time in nature, and this new funding will help us expand our work in Salt Lake City to help increase the amount of time our kids spend outdoors.” – Mayor Ralph Becker.

Victor Ingalls, American Express Vice President and General Manager in Salt Lake City said, “Since our founding more than 160 years ago, American Express has seen how America’s parks and public lands contribute to our sense of national and local identity, and we are proud to lead an effort to mobilize a new generation of volunteers to protect, conserve and revitalize America’s public lands and treasured national parks.”

“Many people in our urban neighborhoods don’t always have the chance to experience all that our public lands in and around the city have to offer,” said Rich West, President and CEO of the YMCA of Northern Utah. “This initiative will help us bring together leaders in conservation, education, recreation and service to provide opportunities to deepen connections to these natural and historic sites, develop important skills, and engage in activities where they can give back and strengthen our community.”

The movement is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside initiative and part an overall strategy by the Obama Administration to connect young people to the outdoors. Other efforts include the President’s recently announced Every Kid in A Park initiative to provide all fourth grade students and their families with free admission to national parks and other public lands and waters for a full year, and the National Park Service’s Find Your Park campaign preparing for next year’s centennial of the National Park System.

For more information about the initiative, visit: www.doi.gov/youth

Source: U.S. Department of the Interior, Press Release, “Interior Department Selects Salt Lake City as Priority City to Connect Youth to the Great Outdoors,” August 6, 2015. http://goo.gl/uxued5


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.

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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“Your Utah, Your Future” Survey

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How do you envision the future of Utah?  By 2050, our population will nearly double, and Utah will add an estimated 2.5 million residents. Will we have enough water to drink? Will our air be clean? How will we educate twice as many students? Will our economy remain strong? What kind of future will we leave for our children and grandchildren?

Envision Utah has created a survey called “Your Utah, Your Future” commissioned by Governor Herbert.  The survey gives five scenarios for the future of Utah.  Each scenario includes 11 topics affected by our population growth.  In the survey you select the choices you want to make in each topic area and then choose an overall scenario for Utah in 2050.

The survey will close on May 31, and at over 31,000 recorded responses, it is already the single largest community visioning effort ever undertaken in the US.  The goal is 50,000 participants.  Take the survey!

Please consider sharing it with your employees and coworkers, family and friends, and encourage them to take it, also.

Additionally, over 300 schools have registered across the state.  You can earn money for your local schools- $1 for every response collected!YourUtah

Mayor Becker Addresses Blueprint for a Better Future

On Tuesday, Mayor Becker joined Governor Herbert and other community leaders for a special Sundance event at The Leonardo. Blueprint for a Better Future: Clean Air, Clean Water, Clean Energy was hosted by The Diplomatic Courier Magazine and Hinckley Institute of Politics, and explored how climate change and climate action is impacting the future of our cities.

Mayor Ralph Becker took the stage to share how Salt Lake City is proactively addressing the city’s future by taking climate change and climate adaptation into account today.

“The effects of climate change are real and impose a serious threat globally, and to our own community,” said Mayor Becker. “Salt Lake City is aggressively preparing for future climate challenges, to be a resilient community with a high quality of life due to our climate preparedness activities. Our efforts will ensure future clean and sufficient water supplies, investment in renewable, clean energy systems, and alternative transportation systems.”

The Mayor highlighted how these investments will not only make Salt Lake City more resilient, but that they will also improve community health through better air quality and a more walkable community. He also said that while Salt Lake City has been fortunate to have access to clean and reliable water from the Wasatch Mountains, the most profound climate risk our community faces is the loss of and degradation of our water supplies. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the most important strategy to reduce climate impacts to our water supplies.

What Salt Lake City is Doing

Salt Lake City has been measuring our greenhouse gas emissions since 2002, and now can tell every department and division their emissions by source, so they can implement specific reduction strategies.

New buildings are reviewed to determine if they can be built to a “net-zero” standard. Our new Public Safety Building has met that goal.

Fleet vehicles are constantly being right-sized, eliminated or replaced with alternative fuel vehicles. Electric charging stations are being installed across the city.

The City is beginning a Climate Leadership Academy for employees to help enhance the City’s capacity for addressing climate change. Employees from all departments will attend monthly meetings for a year to learn about climate issues and opportunities, personally and professionally. This, and other training opportunities, will ensure that every city employee understands how they can make a difference.

The City has been fortunate to receive Federal support on our climate planning efforts, partnering with Western Water Assessment, part of the NOAA Regional Integrated Science Assessment Program, to conduct climate vulnerability work. This partnership has leveraged our access to actionable data and tools to support climate adaptation decision-making, especially within our water utility.

Due to these aggressive efforts, Salt Lake City has been designated by the White House as a Climate Action Champion.

Citywide & Regional Climate Action

Salt Lake City is launching a metro-regional climate planning group that will look at mitigation and adaptation efforts on a broader, regional basis in a collaborative way.

Other efforts include a Transit Master Plan, Complete Streets Ordinance, protected bike lanes, streetcars and the Mountain Accord planning process.

“Applying the true economic costs of future climate risks will be essential as we make future decisions. One example of this is our work with the State of Utah and regional energy providers to evaluate appropriate costs and account for benefits of renewable energy,” Mayor Becker said. “We need to consider long-term economic, environmental and societal benefits of these investments, not simply short-term decisions that often undervalue climate resilient strategies.”

Moving Forward

Salt Lake City understands that addressing climate change impacts is essential as part of our efforts to achieves our goals to be a livable city. And when we address climate change, we also address air quality, facilitate mobility choices, ensure a safe and abundant water supply, create more walkable neighborhoods and establish a vibrant downtown.

Learn more about our efforts at SLCgreen.com.

Community Gardens are Sprouting!

Do you dream of growing your own vegetables? Salt Lake City has some exciting news for you!

Eight City-owned or managed parcels of land have been identified for the development of community gardens.

Interested? Then head over to SLCgreen.com to review the eight available parcels, located in key areas throughout Salt Lake City. There you will also find the Green City Growers Application Packet, with information on the six step application process.

Applications are due by December 15, 2013. So get moving!

[10-18-2013] A special thank you to the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News for covering our October 17 event at Cannon Greens Community Garden!

It’s Time to Celebrate Local Food!

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It’s time to celebrate local food!

Food Day is a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food and a grassroots campaign for better food policies.

Salt Lake City is marking Food Day 2013 with a series of exciting local events.

Read more

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

Net Zero Cities Conference

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As the world tackles the challenges of climate change, energy supply and water security, communities are taking the lead in finding solutions.

The Net Zero Cities Conference (October 23-24, 2013) will bring together thought leaders from around the globe to share their systems-based approaches, processes and examples of success in working towards net zero at the community scale.

Salt Lake City’s own Vicki Bennett, director of Salt Lake City Green, will speak on the plenary panel on the second day of the conference. She plans to discuss Salt Lake City’s new net zero Public Safety Building and policies surrounding net zero energy.

You can learn more about the Net Zero Cities Conference on their website, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Look for the #NetZeroCities hashtag to join the conversation!