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Posts tagged ‘emissions’

We've Got the December Bad Air Blues

The view from the SLCgreen office on Dec. 4, 2019.

With a week of air that has been some of the worst in the country, it’s no wonder we’re all feeling frustrated. Salt Lake City’s current air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups and requires mandatory action of limited driving and no wood burning. For most of us, Salt Lake City’s notoriously bad air is a nuisance and health concern, limiting our activities and turning our skyline grey. Moreover, pollutants like PM 2.5 are dangerous, especially for older residents, children, pregnant women, and people with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. Air quality is a public health concern, as well as an economic one.

It may come as a surprise that although transportation currently contributes nearly half of the emissions causing Salt Lake City’s bad air, buildings are catching up. Indeed, houses and buildings currently contribute roughly 38% of emissions, and industry point sources produce the other 13%. As emissions standards on cars are becoming more strict, managing emissions from houses and buildings is a growing priority.

PM 2.5 is the primary winter concern in Salt Lake City’s airshed. The particulate matter poses serious health risks and gets trapped in the Salt Lake valley during inversion. Most of the PM 2.5 is a direct result of precursor emissions from tailpipes, smokestacks, and chemicals that mix to form PM 2.5 in the atmosphere.

When you look outside, it may feel like there’s no good news. However, per capita pollution in Utah is decreasing. Salt Lake City is taking steps to help clean the air and protect our public health and environment. Find out how you can keep our airshed (and lungs!) clean and healthy.

What is SLC doing?

Reducing combustion and emissions are a key step towards cleaning the air.

Salt Lake City has many air quality initiatives in place that are helping clean the air. Among these include the continued expansion of EV infrastructure, expanding cleaner vehicles in our fleet, and implementing our energy benchmarking ordinance for nearly 1,000 commercial buildings. Additionally, the HIVE pass provides residents with access to UTA’s public transit system at a reduced cost.

Salt Lake City built the nation’s first Net Zero energy Public Safety Building.
In 2018, Salt Lake City converted five parking enforcement vehicles to all-electric Chevy Bolts. As of Oct. 2019, the Salt Lake City fleet has over 135 hybrids, 32 all-electric vehicles, 72 compressed natural gas heavy duty vehicles, and 117 clean diesel heavy duty vehicles.

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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.

President Announces Clean Power Plan

Today President Obama announced the Clean Power Plan rule.  The Clean Power Plan, proposed by Environmental Protection Agency, is a plan to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants. This plan will maintain an affordable, reliable energy system, while cutting pollution and protecting our health and environment. There were previously no national limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, which account for forty percent of U.S. carbon emissions and are the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S. These EPA-proposed standards are the first-ever national limits on this type of pollution. Nationwide, the Clean Power Plan will help cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 30 percent below 2005 levels. (1)  According to a recent survey by Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, “A large majority of Americans support setting strict emission limits on coal-fired power plants.” (2)

Mayor Becker gave the following remarks:

 “I applaud President Obama and the United States Environmental Protection Agency for announcing the Clean Power Plan today. The Plan is a forward-looking and common sense policy to address one of the most critical issues facing local communities: climate change.

Like many other cities across the Nation, Salt Lake City is actively working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions responsible for contributing to climate change. In particular, Salt Lake City continues to be a  leader through many initiatives, including increasing energy efficiency of our existing municipal facilities, requiring all new municipal facilities to achieve “net zero” status, and promoting and investing in clean distributed solar energy. These investments not only cut pollution, and save money on our energy bills, but they make Salt Lake City an energy-smart and more livable city.

Over the coming days and weeks, I look forward to learning about the full scope and the long-term benefits that the Clean Power Plan will have on our communities.”

In addition to his work with the City, Mayor Becker is serving as the president of the National League of Cities, which advocates on behalf of over 19,000 member cities, villages, and towns from across the country. Mayor Becker has asked the National League of Cities to act as “an army of advocates” to encourage better climate change policy and work with the administration to assist state, local, and tribal work on this critical issue. #ActOnClimate.

Sources:

  1. Environmental Protection Agency, http://www2.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan, July 31, 2015.
  2. Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, http://environment.yale.edu/poe/v2014/?&est=CO2limits, August 3, 2015.

Buildings are Key to Salt Lake City’s Clean Air Future

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Buildings represent a large and growing part of our local air quality problem.  A new infographic, released at the Mayor’s Project Skyline Awards Ceremony, presents statistics on building energy efficiency and economic benefits. For example, buildings contribute nearly 40% of pollutants on a typical winter day. By making buildings more energy efficient, we can conserve enough resources to power up to 37,000 homes every year. If Salt Lake City were to adopt energy savings best practices, building owners across the city could save up to $48 million dollars annually.

As many know, Salt Lake City has significantly poor air quality, especially during the winter months; however, fewer know how dramatically we can improve our air quality by improving the energy efficiency of our buildings.  By making large buildings in Salt Lake City more energy efficient, we could remove one million pounds of pollutants, which equates to taking 32,000 vehicles off the road for one year. Additionally, we would prevent 650 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year! View the complete infographic for additional facts.

Join us and become a part of Project Skyline to save money, improve property values, and clean our air.

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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Exchange your old gas can (for free!) on Saturday, April 11

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Exchange your old empty 2.5 or 5 gallon gas can for a free, brand new, environmentally friendly can of equal size!

UCAIR and Chevron are exchanging over 4,500 gas cans. That’s equivalent to eliminating 540 cars off Utah’s roads per day over the 5-year life of each gas can. Making this small change can have large impact on our air quality. Together we can make a difference in Utah’s air quality.

The Gas Can Exchange Program will be the first of its kind in Utah and help our state come into compliance with the EPA standard.

The event will be held on April 11, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the following locations:

  • 2100 S. 300 W., Salt Lake City, Chevron Station
  • 1997 E. 3500 N., Layton, Davis Landfill
  • 1855 Skyline Dr., South Ogden, Chevron Station
  • 1200 Towne Center Blvd., Provo Towne Center Mall

Why exchange your old can? Old gas cans contribute to volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by:

  • Permeation of vapors through walls of containers.
  • Escaping fumes while fuel is being dispensed.
  • Spillage and over filling as fuel is being poured into equipment.
  • Spillage and evaporation through secondary vent holes.
  • Evaporation through inadequately capped spouts.

The new cans have several improvements including:

  • Automatic shut-off feature to prevent overfilling.
  • Automatic closing feature.
    • Sealed when it is not in use.
    • Prevents leaking vapors.
    • Protects children from accidental spills and ingestion.
    • Secondary venting holes are eliminated to stop venting of fumes into the air.
    • Thicker walls to reduce vapor permeation.

Please contact Angie at coordinator@ucair.org if you have any questions about the gas can exchange.

Source: http://www.ucair.org/hot_topics/ucair-chevron-gas-can-exchange/

3rd Annual Idle Free Fleets Conference

2015 Idle Free Conference Save the Date FINAL

You’re invited!

The Third Annual Utah Idle Free Fleets Conference will take place on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hale Center Theatre.

Register online.

Questions? Contact Sophia Jackson at (801) 535-7736 or sophia.jackson@utahcleancities.org.

Drive Less, Clear the Air & Win Prizes this July

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The 2014 Challenge kicked off at the Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday, June 14.

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 Basics

  • 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!

Registration

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 tracker@ppbh.com 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)

Prizes

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.

New technology

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!

 

[VIDEO] Get Inspired to Clear the Air

‘Tis the season for New Years Resolutions.

While you’re revisiting resolutions to exercise, eat healthy and spend more time with those you love (a great way to start the new year!), consider making one more resolution — to help clear the air.

Through the winter Care to Clear the Air project (2010-2012), a series of videos captured the stories of residents making a resolution to limit their impact on air quality by driving less.

Watch the videos below to hear from people that have done everything from moving closer to where they work, to biking, carpooling and taking public transit.

Their stories will inspire you to make your own resolution to help clear the air!

Kyle LaMalfa shares his commitment to take public transit.


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