Overlooking the city from the rooftop terrace of the downtown library, business leaders, clean air advocates, and healthcare professionals joined Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to announce the launch of Project Skyline. The initiative is designed to impact air quality by cutting energy waste. Administrator McCarthy’s presence served to underscore EPA’s nationwide leadership in providing key energy management tools and resources through the Energy Star program.
Project Skyline is a cornerstone initiative of Sustainable Salt Lake – Plan 2015, the Mayor’s blueprint to improve air quality, boost economic development and improve livability in Salt Lake City. As part of the initiative, Mayor Becker challenged building owners, tenants, universities, schools, hotels, and hospitals across the city to proactively meet – and – exceed the air quality and energy-saving targets of Sustainable Salt Lake – Plan 2015 by joining theMayor’s Skyline Challenge.
The event kicked off with remarks from Mayor Becker who stressed the themes laid out in his State of the City address earlier this year, including the direct impact of air quality on the physical and economic health of the city. The Mayor also recognized the Salt Lake City businesses and institutions that have already joined the Challenge and emphasized his commitment to lead by example by cutting energy waste in municipal operations.
Administrator McCarthy followed Mayor Becker with a powerful message about energy efficiency and the importance of working together to improve the health of American families. “Energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective opportunities we have to make our businesses more competitive, improve air quality, and save money. And we know that healthy communities attract investment, businesses, and more jobs. Environmental health promotes economic health,” said Administrator McCarthy.
President and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power Rich Walje highlighted the enormous opportunity for businesses to save money by maximizing energy efficiency opportunities and taking advantage of the utility’s Wattsmart incentive program. “The cleanest and cheapest energy is the energy we don’t use. Working together, we can significantly reduce energy waste and make a positive difference in our community,” said Walje.
Remarks by President and CEO of Economic Development Corporation Utah Jeff Edwards followed by echoing Mayor Becker’s message, calling attention to the top reason businesses choose not to come to Utah— poor air quality. “Air quality is becoming a growing concern across the nation, and companies want to know what Utah is doing to address this issue,” said Edwards. “If we want to continue to attract quality growth to Utah, we must lead by example. I applaud Mayor Becker’s efforts to do just that and encourage building owners to step forward and participate. Project Skyline will set the example for other cities across the country.”
University of Utah Health Care CEO Dr. Vivian Lee wrapped up the event, bringing the perspective of a major healthcare provider and research institution. Dr. Lee stressed how significant the local air quality issues are to the health of Salt Lake City’s residents.
Leadership from partner businesses, organizations, and the community stood alongside Mayor Becker and Administrator McCarthy during the launch to show their support for the initiative:
President and CEO Questar Gas Ron Jibson, Senior Managing Director CBRE Mark Bouchard, Managing Director Goldman Sachs Bruce Larson, Senior Vice President and CSO Intermountain Healthcare Greg Poulson, Director of Engineering Marriott International Charles Cooley, Salt Lake Community College President Dr. Deneece Huftalin, Chief Pulmonary Division and Director Program for Air, Health, and Society Dr. Robert Paine, President BOMA Utah Lorrie Ostlind, Executive Director Utah Clean Energy Sarah Wright, Board President USGBC Utah Whitney Ward, Hotel Monaco General Manager Daryn White, New Mark Grubb Acres Vice President Justin Farnsworth, Salt Lake Chamber Vice President of Business and Community Relations Ryan Evans, UCAIR Executive Director Ted Wilson, Salt Lake City School District Energy Manager Greg Libecci, Salt Lake City Fire Department Captain Rick Stratton, and Breathe Utah Board President Dr. Deborah Sigman.
The Mayor’s Skyline Challenge is created through a partnership between Salt Lake City, Questar Gas, Rocky Mountain Power, BOMA Utah, USGBC Utah, and Utah Clean Energy.
For more information or to join the Challenge, visit http://www.slcgov.com/projectskyline.
Watch the Press Conference