by Talula Pontuti, SLCgreen intern
For weeks, we have experienced wildfires across the state, primarily in the southern part of Utah, where firefighters are fighting tirelessly to protect communities and landscapes.
Those fires have not only destroyed homes, habitats, and landscapes, but the fires are contributing to poor air quality in those areas and throughout Utah.
In addition, fireworks from the Fourth of July increase particulate matter, aggravating respiratory conditions for those with preexisting respiratory and heart illnesses, such as asthma and heart disease.
Combine the fires and fireworks with ozone created by vehicle and product pollution – and we have the perfect mix for poor air quality.
Understanding what is going on and what our impacts are on air quality in our city is critical to being able to keep people healthy and having fun this summer. Read more
SLCgreen staff member Tyler Poulson on a tour of a large solar farm in Parowan, Utah, 2015.
Check out Tyler Poulson, Salt Lake City’s sustainability program manager, on the HEAL Utah podcast! He chats with HEAL’s Matt Pacenza about several key climate and energy issues including Utah Climate Week, coming up October 8-14. Tyler also offers his take on the recent rooftop solar settlement reached between Rocky Mountain Power and other stakeholders.
For more information about all of the interesting activities occurring during Utah Climate Week, visit the website of the Utah Climate Action Network.
We’re excited to announce Utah’s first Climate Week, with events from Ogden to Orem and here in the capital city!
Organized by the Utah Climate Action Network, Utah Clean Energy, and Salt Lake City, Climate Week will provide an inspiring opportunity for community members to learn of the risks and breakthrough solutions to climate change.
Click here for a full list of events, and take note of an interesting panel we’ll be part of on October 12: Utah’s Clean Energy Future.
Mayor Biskupski will offer opening remarks on our Climate Positive goals and SLCgreen team member Tyler Poulson will participate on the panel discussing what cities in Utah are doing to transition to clean energy. Other panelists include HEAL Utah, the Sierra Club, and Rocky Mountain Power. Utah Clean Energy will moderate the discussion.
What: Utah’s Clean Energy Future
When: Thursday, October 12, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Where: Salt Lake City Main Library Auditorium (210 E 400 S)
Learn more in the press release below.
With all of the storms, hurricanes, and wildfires hitting our country this fall, we need to take the opportunity of September being Emergency Preparedness Month to prepare for and mitigate climate change.
Read the op-ed published in The Salt Lake Tribune from Salt Lake City’s directors of Sustainability and Emergency Preparedness.
By Vicki Bennett and Cory Lyman
September is Emergency Preparedness Month.
While Utahns traditionally take important measures to prepare for sudden natural disasters such as earthquakes, we also need to think about taking mitigating action for climate-related events such as extreme flooding, changing water supplies, wildfire and heat waves.
This need is amplified by the awful pictures we see of Hurricane Harvey and Irma and the destruction they have wrought. In Texas alone initial estimates are putting the damage at over $180 billion – that is billion, with a “b” – and we can’t start to comprehend numbers like that.
Scientists have been warning us for years that a warming climate increases the strength of storms like these — larger, powerful and devastating to our communities.
One month before Harvey hit, Salt Lake City experienced our own 200-year storm. .
CONTINUE ON THE TRIBUNE’S SITE.
Salt Lake City’s 1 MW solar farm.
Solar panels on the Public Safety Building
On Monday, the Governor’s Office of Energy Development issued news that a significant agreement had been reached between parties previously at odds over how to move forward with rooftop solar development in Utah.
The main point of contention was how to compensate rooftop solar owners for the excess electricity they sell back to the utility. In November 2016, Rocky Mountain Power proposed a change in their rate structure that could make it more difficult for homeowners to afford solar panels.
Because Salt Lake City is committed to advancing clean energy and supports the growth in rooftop solar, we opposed the proposed changes to the rate structure. In other states, notably Nevada, where similar changes have taken effect, the solar industry has imploded.
At about the same time, the Governor’s Office of Energy Development stepped in, outside of the formal Public Service Commission process, to try and broker an agreement on this thorny issue. Read more
Salt Lake City’s Public Safety Building is the first Net Zero facility of its kind in the country. Even so, energy benchmarking and tune-ups helped us realize even more dollar and emissions savings.
Did you know that our buildings, homes, and small businesses contribute over a third of the pollution that obscures the valley during the winter?
Also known as “area sources,” this sector is the second-largest source of emissions and is forecasted to become the largest one in the coming years (as cars continually get cleaner due to federal regulations).
This is why everything we can do to reduce emissions from our homes and buildings can make a difference to our environment and public health. It’s also why the City is focused on educating residents and businesses about the crucial role of efficiency to our airshed and to our carbon footprint. To this end, we provide guides for home improvements, including details on thermostat controls, home insulation and efficient appliances to help move residential buildings toward a cleaner energy future.
Our skyline’s largest buildings also have a role to play. While there is no “silver bullet” for wiping away all of Salt Lake City’s air pollution problems, the city’s commercial buildings can help simply by measuring their energy usage and making efficiency improvements where feasible. Read more
University of Utah President David Pershing, Mayor J. Biskupski, and Utah Clean Energy Executive Director Sarah Wright
Mayor Biskupski trying out new 2016 EV models.
Mayor J. Biskupski launches U Drive Electric Program
In a joint press conference, the University of Utah and Salt Lake City today announced the launch of an electric vehicle purchase program extending discounts on multiple makes and models of vehicles. The second round of U Drive Electric offers U community members and Salt Lake City community members the opportunity to purchase or lease electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles at discounted prices through Oct. 31, 2016.
This joint program is aimed at improving air quality and community health both today and for 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.