It’s February which means it’s time for the Ninth Annual Clear the Air Challenge! If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to get signed up and start identifying how you can drive less and drive smarter to save pollution. Read more
Posts tagged ‘clear the air challenge’
Transportation emissions are responsible for nearly 50% of the pollutants that make up our poor air quality. These pollutants become a serious concern during the winter months when normal atmospheric conditions (cool air above, warm air below) become inverted. This allows the air quality in the valley to become filled with particles that can quickly become unhealthy.
While there is much work being done to reduce those emissions (better transit, cleaner vehicles, more active transportation), the fact is– we can and should all help. We can each be a #CleanAirChampion.
There are many ways to participate! They all help the air and give you points in the Challenge:
- Ride the bus or train
- Bike or walk to work
- Link your errands together when you are driving (aka “trip chain”)
- Skip the trip by working from home or saving that errand for later
It all adds up!
The Utah Division of Air Quality estimates that if every driver along the Wasatch Front were to give up driving for just one day per week, it would keep 6,500 tons of emissions (or 85 times the weight of the International Space Station) out of our airshed.
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.
- 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.
- Be Idle Free
- Skip the wood burning
Throughout Utah, air pollution is reaching alarmingly unhealthy levels. In fact, many areas along the Wasatch Front are currently out of compliance with portions of the Clean Air Act.
Transportation is a major cause of the problem. Vehicle emissions are responsible for 50 percent of ground level ozone, meaning that each time we turn the key, we produce pollution which harms our health and the health of our children.
The 2016 Clear the Air Challenge kicks off July 1st and is a great opportunity to explore alternative methods of transit to improve our air quality. For the past several years, local businesses and citizens have participated in reducing emissions. In 2015, we kept 646.5 tons of CO2 out of the air!
This year our goal is even greater: eliminating 700 tons of CO2, in addition to the many other pollutants coming out of our tail pipes.
How to Take the Challenge!
Besides helping everyone breathe a little easier, participants are eligible to win prizes from the Challenge!
The challenge is open to all residents of Utah and offers many options for reducing trips in vehicles.
Employers can encourage employees to participate as a team (to earn prizes and be recognized by the City for good performance!). They can also provide support incentives including the following:
- Transit passes
- Bike parking
- Car-pool incentive programs
- Bus-to-work days
- Telecommute days
- Alternative schedules
- Commuter reimbursement benefits, and
- Employee recognition of participation in the challenge.
Don’t have an employer who’s participating? Individuals can sign up by tracking their trips and miles saved using the TravelWise Tracker. Individual participants compete against one another based on total miles saved for prizes and recognition.
Miles can be updated throughout the entire month. Your information is used to determine the total emissions saved and, collectively, show us how little changes can make a big difference!
Taking part has never been easier:
- Visit Ride UTA for fares and schedules. If you live in Salt Lake City, consider signing up for the HIVE pass, which saves you 50 percent!
- The city’s green bike program can help you get around downtown without a car, and new bike lanes make traveling on city streets safer and easier.
- Partner with a co-worker to alternate who drives to work each day.
And thank you for helping make our city a cleaner, healthier place to live, work, and play!
Salt Lake City has been recognized as a Climate Action Champion for showing leadership on climate change. The accomplishments of Salt Lake City in the past seven years demonstrate a commitment and successful track record of innovation and leadership to integrate the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and enhance climate resilience into local and regional planning and decision-making.
Here are some of the City’s climate actions, goals, and key initiatives:
Joint Resolution To Reduce Carbon Footprint. Mayor Ralph Becker and the Salt Lake City Council signed a joint resolution in 2008 committing the City to reduce its municipal carbon footprint 20% below the 2005 level by 2020; 50% below the 2005 level by 2040; and, 80% below the 2005 level by 2050.
Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory. The City completed its first community GHG inventory in 2009, which quantified 4.75 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions – or 26 metric tons per person – and prompted the City’s commitment to eliminate 1.3 million metric tons of CO2e by 2020. The City also has a goal for reduction of GHG emissions in the community by 80% below the 2005 level by 2050.
Clear the Air Challenge. The City created the Clear the Air Challenge to engage citizens in voluntary reductions in vehicle miles traveled, resulting in the elimination of over 9.5 million single-occupant vehicle miles traveled and reducing more than 7.5 million pounds of GHG emissions between 2009 and 2014.
Salt Lake City Sustainable Code Revision. The Salt Lake City Sustainable Code Revision project is a ground-breaking initiative to incorporate sustainability provisions into zoning and subdivision ordinances.
Salt Lake City Energy and Transportation Sustainability Plan. The Salt Lake City Energy and Transportation Sustainability Plan (2011) details strategies for the City to contribute to climate resilience, cleaner air, greater energy security, a green energy economy, and protection of our water supply, wildlife, and other natural resources. Salt Lake City Energy and Transportation Sustainability Plan goals include:
- Decrease total building energy use in the city by 5%, to 35 million MBTUs by 2015
- Transform all City government buildings into net-zero facilities
- Increase renewable energy generation on City facilities to 2.5 megawatt by 2015
- Generation of 10 megawatts of solar energy in the community by 2015
- Reduction of vehicle miles traveled by residents by 6.5% by 2015
Salt Lake City Public Safety Building. The City’s $125 million Public Safety Building is the first public safety building in the nation constructed to achieve Net Zero energy use due to the use of multiple innovative energy efficiencies and solar-photovoltaic (PV) technologies.
Livability in Salt Lake City 2012-2016. Mayor Becker published his agenda, Livability in Salt Lake City 2012-2016, to frame a broad vision of local climate response goals, strategies, and actions that lead to greater resiliency, vitality, accessibility, sustainability, and diversity further distilled in the Sustainable Salt Lake Plan 2015.
Sustainable Salt Lake – Plan 2015. The Sustainable Salt Lake – Plan 2015 (Plan 2015) grounds the City’s broad and ambitious climate response strategy with goals, key metrics, and milestones related to air quality, energy, transportation, water resources, urban forestry, and open space. Sustainable City Dashboard. The Sustainable City Dashboard is an innovative new online tool to track key metrics and milestones associated with the Plan 2015 and promote an increased level of public engagement and feedback on climate response initiatives.
To learn more about Salt Lake City’s climate actions, visit SLCgreen.com!
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!
Are you ready to help clear the air? The 2014 Clear the Air Challenge starts next week on Tuesday, July 1!
The month long Challenge is just that — an excellent way to challenge yourself to “drive down your miles” and reduce your emissions. Choose alternatives to driving alone and track your impact on air quality.
(And keep an eye on the leader board for the Salt Lake City Corporation network, which is SLCgreen’s home team!)
- The Clear the Air Challenge runs July 1-31, 2014.
- Register at www.CleartheAirChallenge.org (registration details below).
- Track the trips and miles you save by using alternatives to driving alone:
- Active transportation (walk, bike) — Biking and walking, also known as active transportation, are gaining popularity as healthy, efficient and sustainable means of transportation.
- Public transit — To put it simply, ride UTA!
- Carpool — Carpooling involves more than one person traveling together in a car and can be used for many occasions including commuting to work, attending special events or taking kids to school, practices or recreational activities. This strategy requires some coordination of schedules, but can be easily implemented to achieve significant results.
- Telework — Teleworking is possible from just about anywhere – from home, a telecenter, the local coffee shop or anywhere that has a wireless Internet connection. Teleworking can include conference calling or video conferencing for meetings instead of driving to an off-site location or working from a remote office.
- Skip the trip — The skip the trip strategy is as easy as it sounds. Just plan ahead to avoid unnecessary trips. These can be trips taken for work or for home activities.
- Learn more about these strategies at TravelWise.utah.gov.
- Join a network, track your impact and compete for great prizes!
This year there is a new and greatly improved tracking tool for the Clear the Air Challenge. The new tool will require all users to re-register, but the registration process will only take about 30 seconds and users now have the ability to sign up using their Facebook profile.
During the registration process you will be asked to join a team/network, although it’s not required. If you do not see your team/network listed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Team/network name
- Team/network admin name (the person on your team who will have admin rights)
- Admin’s email
- Team/network address
- Team/network description (a little about who your team is- optional)
The Challenge has approximately $10,000 in prizes to give out this year to participants. A number of weekly prizes will be randomly given to people who have earned badges. Grand prizes will be given to the winners in various categories, including: most trips saved, most miles saved and overall champion. The Grand Prize for the overall individual champion will be a $1,300 pair of powder skis provided by Ramp Sports.
Here are some of the features of the new technology implemented this year:
- Social media integration: Sign up with your Facebook account and share Clear the Air Challenge posts to your Timeline.
- Easier tracking and recording of saved trips:
- Set up favorite trips – Trips you take often can be easily added to your tracker dashboard
- Multiple day trip recording – Forgot to track each time you took the TRAX over the past week? Simply click on each of the days you made the same trip and record them all at once!
- Trip Planner: Not sure how you might use alternative transportation to get somewhere rather than your car? Simply enter in your starting and ending locations, and you’ll receive carpool, vanpool, transit, walking and biking options to get to your destination. Use this feature all year round whether you are tracking trips or not!