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Posts tagged ‘clean air’

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

Looking for a new car? Sign Up for ZOOm Go Electric through May 31

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Are you waiting for the right time to buy a low-emission vehicle? Are you interested in helping clean the air and save money?

We’re excited to let you know that a new bulk purchase program for electric vehicles is BACK! (The last one, U Drive Electric, put 127 cleaner cars on the road in three months!)

ZOOm Go Electric is the newest discount program to launch. It runs from now through May 31, so get on it soon.

According to a 2013 analysis conducted by SWEEP and Utah Clean Energy “all electric” vehicles produce 99% lower emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), 95% less sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, 76% less nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions as compared to a new gasoline vehicle. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles reduces emissions significantly as well. Read more

Air Quality in the Utah Legislative Session

The Utah Legislative Session is in its final days. All proposed bills must be passed before midnight on March 9.

Salt Lake City has staff who attend important hearings, speak to our legislators, and represent the City’s interests in the 45-day session.  Here in the Sustainability Department, we closely follow important bills particularly as they relate to air quality, energy, food, and other sustainability initiatives.

One of the most impactful ways to improve air quality is to fully fund the state agencies that must research and regulate it. This is a common sense measure that Salt Lake City supports. Because it is not under our purview to regulate air quality permits, emissions, or compliance with the federal Clean Air Act, we want to see the State’s Division of Air Quality– which does undertake those tasks–receive the funding they need to do their jobs effectively.

However, receiving their full appropriations request is never a sure thing.

In the waning days of the 2017 session, we hope the Utah Legislature will support clean air funding and other bills to reduce pollution.

For more information, please read the below copy of Breathe Utah’s recent letter to the Executive Appropriations Committee.  To stay informed on air quality legislation, please visit HEAL Utah, Breathe Utah, Utah Clean Energy, or Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment.

Breathe Utah Logo

March 8, 2017

To: The Honorable Members of the Executive Appropriations Committee

Re: Budget for the Division of Air Quality Read more

Alternative Transportation Once a Week: Salt Lake City Employees Take a Clean Air Challenge

by Eli Wire

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It’s January, and while you might be focusing on a fresh start to the New Year, you may have noticed Salt Lake City’s air has been anything but fresh.  It’s something every Salt Lake City resident is familiar with, and whether you call it smog, inversion, pollution, or just plain bad air, each of us can have an impact on our air quality.

Here at Salt Lake City Corp, we’re doing everything we can to clear the air. One of those is an employee alternative transportation challenge! This month, we’re asking all 3,000 of Salt Lake City’s employees to take part by picking at least one day per week to get to work without driving alone in their vehicles.  

The City makes this easy by providing full-time employees with transit passes. “Alternative transportation” also means biking or walking to work; finding a carpool buddy; or telecommuting.

The Challenge also extends to other clean air actions through our sustainability platform called Empower SLC, which was designed and is powered by Sustain3.

Here’s how the Clean Air Challenge works: Read more

Mayor Jackie Biskupski signs amicus brief in defense of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Today, Mayor Jackie Biskupski joined more than 50 city and county governments from 28 states in signing an amicus brief in defense of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

“I signed this brief on behalf of Salt Lake City because the effects of climate change are real, but so are the solutions,” said Mayor Biskupski. “The EPA estimates that the Clean Power Plan will reduce the pollutants that contribute to smog by more than 25 percent, a change that will benefit everyone along the Wasatch Front, especially during our increasingly dangerous winter inversion season.”

The brief, filed in federal court today, argues the administration’s plan is critical to the safety and economic security of local communities across the United States. Signatories of the brief represent a diverse geographic, economic, and political mix. In all, the signatories represent 51 localities, home to more than 18 million Americans.

“Climate change challenges our very way of life in Salt Lake City. Increasing temperatures and a shorter winter season are resulting in less snow, threatening not only our billion dollar ski industry, but the water we need to keep up with our population growth,” said Mayor Biskupski. “My administration is committed to strengthening our actions in cleaning our air. This week I asked our city’s Department of Sustainability to work with mayors and cities across the Wasatch Front to provide any resources we can to help them join this fight.”

The full brief is available here: http://web.law.columbia.edu/climate-change/clean-power-plan-amicus-brief

Community electric cars come to University of Utah

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Exciting news from our friends at the University of Utah today! They have announced a new bulk purchase program that offers steep discounts on an array of electric vehicles. Read on for details – SLCgreen

The University of Utah is the first university in the country to sponsor a community-level electric vehicle purchase program that includes discounts on multiple makes and models.

U Community Drive Electric offers members of the U community, including faculty, staff, students, alumni and campus guests in Salt Lake, Summit, Weber, Tooele, Utah and Davis counties, the opportunity to purchase or lease electric vehicles at a discount of 5 percent to 20 percent off of MSRP. The limited-time program launches today, Dec. 14, and runs through Dec. 31, 2015.

Car dealers are able to offer a discount because these types of community programs tend to generate more customers in close proximity during a specific timeframe. There are three participating car dealers: BMW of Murray, Larry H. Miller Ford Lincoln – Sandy and Tim Dahle Nissan of Murray.

There will be a community workshop with questions and answers, Thursday, Dec. 17, 6-7:30 p.m. at the University of Utah Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building on the 7th floor, 7170.

This program is part of the university’s goal to implement creative solutions to lessen its environmental impact and to improve conditions for the community and future generations. With almost 50 percent of Utah’s urban air pollution coming from tailpipe emissions, electric vehicles represent an important tool for improving air quality along the Wasatch Front.

“We are excited to support U community members’ access to emissions-reducing cars that will improve air quality,” said University of Utah Chief Sustainability Officer Amy Wildermuth.

To offer this incentive, the Sustainability Office is partnering with Utah Clean Energy, a nonprofit, public interest organization that works to drive the transition to a clean energy future. The program is enabled by a generous grant from Utah Clean Air Partnership, or UCAIR, which encourages businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations to invest in emissions-reducing and energy-efficient technologies.

“This is a terrific program recognizing the positive impact electric cars can have on air quality,” said UCAIR Director Ted Wilson. “I congratulate the University of Utah and Utah Clean Energy for forming a strong program making electric cars more economical to buy. Once owned, they are clean and simple with almost no maintenance. In other words, both economically smart and a fine contribution to better air.”

“The support of UCAIR is key to U Community Drive Electric,” said Wildermuth. “This unique opportunity will allow individuals to make a meaningful difference for our local community and will serve as a model to others for what is possible. Reducing tailpipe emissions is just one of the many ways we are working to improve local air quality. With UCAIR support and partnership with Utah Clean Energy, we hope to help make a significant contribution.”

In addition to increasing awareness about electric vehicles’ impact on Utah’s air quality, the organizers of U Drive Electric hope to connect the benefits of combining solar power with electric vehicles.

“Fully electric vehicles have no tailpipe,” said Utah Clean Energy Executive Director Sarah Wright. “They eliminate 99 percent of the smog-producing volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide emitted by gas-fueled cars in our airshed. And when powered by solar energy, they are truly pollution free.”

U Drive Electric will also include plug-in hybrids to provide an opportunity for people who require a longer-range option to participate in the program. Including these vehicles maximizes the choices for consumers, which will ultimately help even more community members reduce their pollution.

Participating community members will sign up for the program with Utah Clean Energy at www.udriveelectric.org. Once registered, participants work directly with any of the selected dealers to purchase the electric car of their choice. Participants must sign a contract before Dec. 31, 2015, to guarantee the discount.

For more information about the U Community Drive Electric program, visit www.udriveelectric.org.

About Sustainability at the University of Utah
The University of Utah is committed to integrating sustainability across all areas of the institution, including academics, operations and administration. Additionally, the university is supporting sustainability efforts and research under the Sustainability Office to better streamline initiatives and collaboration across campus.

About UCAIR
UCAIR is a statewide clean air partnership created to make it easier for individuals, businesses and communities to make small changes to improve Utah’s air quality. Every small change adds to a collective bigger step toward better health, a better economy and better overall quality of life for all of us.

About Utah Clean Energy
Utah Clean Energy is Utah’s leading expert public interest organization working to expand renewable energy and energy efficiency in a way that is beneficial not only for Utah’s environment and health, but also our economy and long-term energy security. Utah Clean Energy is committed to creating a future that ensures healthy, thriving communities for all, empowered and sustained by clean energies such as solar, wind and energy efficiency.

Mayor Becker Signals Support for Stronger Clean Air Protections

 

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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