Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘energy’

YouthCity’s Energy Science Summit

Energy is key to our societies, communities, health, and more. It’s also an important concept when we consider the environment and climate change.

Our youngest community members play a key role in inspiring our climate action. Helping students engage with topics including energy conservation, renewable resources, and climate action helps us all build a more sustainable community.

That is why we were thrilled to team up with Salt Lake City’s YouthCity to explore energy for their fall after school program. This year, YouthCity has spent 4 months exploring energy and sustainability. And last week we heard from 22 student groups and several of our community partners at the 5th annual YouthCity Science Summit.

What is YouthCity?

YouthCity is Salt Lake City’s after school program for young people ages 8-19. The program provides student-centered, hands-on opportunities for social, emotional, skills, character, and citizen development in an inclusive and caring environment.

Each year, YouthCity’s after school courses help kids learn about physical health, financial awareness, the scientific method, and more. In the fall, YouthCity focuses on STEM subjects, and for the last 5 years the session has culminated in a Science Summit event where students share what they have learned with their families and peers.

This year, the Science Summit applied energy concepts to real world problems. The Summit featured projects on green power, climate and extreme weather, aquaponics and photosynthesis, renewable energy powered cars, solar power, light energy, and environmental justice. YouthCity instructors and students worked through questions with hands-on science and were able to relate energy topics to real-world issues including air quality, recycling, and public health and safety.  

Why Energy?

Read more

Support Rooftop Solar By Participating in this Study

Participate in a survey that can help determine future rates, and the future of the solar industry in Utah.

We love clean energy! And rooftop solar is no exception.

Also known as “distributed solar”, this is the on-site solar energy that powers businesses and homes with panels installed on rooftops or mounted on the ground. Regardless of the location or size of array, distributed solar is an important step towards a clean energy grid.

These on-site arrays not only save money, they help reduce air pollution and carbon emissions.

Now, home and business owners with rooftop solar have the opportunity to show just how important their solar is. The Utah Public Service Commission is set to evaluate the credit residential solar customers receive for the energy exported to the grid. To help demonstrate the impact of clean solar power to our communities, the organization Vote Solar is conducting a study of rooftop solar in Utah.

If you have rooftop solar, you may have recently received a letter from Rocky Mountain Power about this topic. The letter references signing up to participate in the study. What this entails is allowing your solar array details and usage data to be shared with the non-profit Vote Solar— not with Rocky Mountain Power.

The study will analyze the benefit that rooftop solar provides to the overall grid. Sign up here.

This has been a contentious topic for several years, and was a key issue in a rates compromise brokered two years ago. (Read more on the SLCgreen blog and in the Salt Lake Tribune).

The data from this survey– and the next phase in the ratemaking– could have significant impacts on the future of the solar industry in Utah. That’s something we all should care about!

Utah Solar Power

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Utah ranks 10th in the nation for installed solar capacity. As of 2018, there are 323,532 homes powered by solar across the state, and 6 percent of the State’s electricity comes from solar. And the industry is showing no signs of slowing down.

The need to continue investing in clean renewable resources is critical and benefits our environment, economy, and public health. The average 5 kilowatt solar installation helps home owners and businesses save 50 percent on their energy bills (resulting in $700 savings per year) and prevents 12,159 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

As solar installations become more accessible, more clean energy is able to enter our electrical grid system. In Salt Lake City, residential Rocky Mountain Power customers receive credits for the kilowatt-hours of solar energy that are added to the grid.

A fair evaluation is critical to determining future rates for rooftop solar owners. Among other impacts, the rate structure could have ripple effects on the solar industry in Utah and the 6,000 solar jobs it supports. So if you have rooftop solar, we encourage you to consider signing up to join the study.

Read more from Utah Clean Energy.

Sign up to participate in the study

To sign up, visit: https://csapps.rockymountainpower.net/public/vote-solar

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions at slcgreen[at]slcgov.com We’re happy to chat or point you in the direction of further resources.

Thanks for supporting solar energy!

Salt Lake City Partners with Utilities to Improve Building Energy Efficiency

Last Friday, Salt Lake City was recognized by The White House and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for its efforts to unlock access to energy data for building owners and improve energy efficiency.

Since 2013, Salt Lake City has partnered with both Rocky Mountain Power and Questar to provide whole-building energy data access to building owners through the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Tool. The effort, which is on track for completion in 2017, will ensure effortless energy data management for building owners, providing a complete picture as to building energy use and enabling them to employ more responsive strategies.

“Salt Lake City, Rocky Mountain Power and Questar are working together to help building owners understand how their building is operating and to identify opportunities to improve energy management,” says Vicki Bennett, sustainability director for Salt Lake City. “By automating and streamlining the process, more Salt Lake City building owners will be able to improve energy efficiency – ultimately saving energy, money and emissions.”

Salt Lake City is committed to improving air quality, and buildings play an important role in emissions. The most recent data from the Utah Division of Air Quality show that 39% of existing air pollution comes from area sources (i.e. homes and businesses). This percentage is expected to increase significantly over the next 20 years as vehicles become more efficient, making building energy efficiency efforts more and more important.

Last week, Mayor Jackie Biskupski extended an invitation to leading industry experts to share their ideas and best practices for energy efficiency in buildings, as part of the Elevate Buildings process.

“There is nothing more important than the air we breathe, and working to clear our skies is a top priority of my administration,” says Mayor Biskupksi. “By collaborating with industry experts we will help improve air quality through increased energy efficiency our city’s largest buildings.”

Learn more about Salt Lake City’s efforts to cut energy waste in buildings at SLCgov.com/ProjectSkyline.

Project-Skyline-Infographic-Blog-Banner

Utah Regulators Approve Subscriber Solar Program

Solar-Panels

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Public Service Commission has approved a new program that allows customers to subscribe to some or all of their electricity from solar power. Rocky Mountain Power sought approval from the state last June for the subscriber solar program which gives customers a choice to get their power from the sun even if they cannot afford rooftop solar panels or live in apartments or condos.

Using a competitive bidding process, Rocky Mountain Power is in final negotiations with a developer to build a 20-megawatt solar farm here in Utah. The solar farm is expected to be built and on-line in late 2016.

“Utility-scale solar is the most cost-effective way to build solar and the bidding process will help us select the best economical choice for our customers,” said Lucky Morse, Rocky Mountain Power Regional Business Management Director. “It’s exciting because the pricing is very competitive and will offer customers a terrific value.”

Participants will be able to subscribe in 200-kilowatt hour blocks up to their total usage; the 20-megawatt solar farm will provide 20,000 blocks. Residential customers will receive a “locked-in” generation rate of 7.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, plus about 4 cents for transmission and distribution, totaling 11.7 cents per kilowatt-hour.

For example, a typical Utah customer uses 742 kilowatt-hours monthly and would pay an additional $1.26 each month (average) for one solar block. The benefits and costs of the program will vary depending on how much electricity a customer uses.

“High-energy users in the summer may actually pay less money for their energy because electricity costs are as high as 14.5 cents per kilowatt-hour,” added Morse. “The ‘locked-in’ rate is also a hedge if electricity prices go up in the future.”

The subscriber solar program is a great alternative for people who are renting, cannot afford solar panels, have homes that are not suited for rooftop solar, are restricted due to HOA rules, or simply don’t want rooftop solar systems. Subscribers will not have to pay upfront costs, make long-term commitments or deal with the ongoing maintenance of installed solar panels.

Salt Lake City intends to subscribe to a sizable amount of solar for its municipal operations to lock in the energy portion of the city’s bills for up to 20 years.

“Salt Lake City supports this new program aimed at expanding the portfolio of renewable energy options for our residents,” said Vicki Bennett, Salt Lake City Sustainability Director. “Subscriber Solar offers a choice for residents and business owners who are unable to install solar, but still desire a direct connection to clean energy sources. We believe this program can be a major catalyst for ongoing transitions to renewable energy in Utah.”

The voluntary program will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Customers will be able to subscribe to the program soon. Subscribers would only pay a termination fee if they cancel their subscription before three years after they enroll.

The program will also be available for commercial and industrial customers. Customers can get more details and sign up to receive updates and put their names on a list indicating they would like to subscribe to the program at rockymountainpower.net/subscriber.

Original press release posted by Rocky Mountain Power.

Mayor Becker Discusses Air Quality, Energy and Water

ralph-becker-300x167

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker talks with P3 Utah in a recent podcast.

“Ralph Becker, Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah,  visits with Steve Klass of P3 Utah about his work developing a world class livable city. Mayor Becker explains his accomplishments in terms of focus on air quality, setting net zero energy efficiency standards for buildings and watershed and recreation protection as part of the recently adopted Mountain Accord.

He explains the roles of local government, state and federal government in carrying out sustainability initiatives.  He explains the challenges he is leading the City to meet in continuing progress and expresses a desire for greater public engagement.  He says that there are trade-offs and learning at a community level necessary to live differently in order to truly make our metropolitan area more sustainable and adapt successfully to climate change. Listen and be inspired!”

Listen to the podcast here.

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

Untitled

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.

Salt Lake City Announces Project Skyline Challenge Award Winners

ProjectSkyline 400

Today, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency for the U.S. Department of Energy, and Matthew Dalbey, Director of the Office of Sustainable Communities for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, joined City leaders and building owners in honoring the winners of the Project Skyline Mayor’s Challenge 2015 Awards. Project Skyline, a multi-year challenge to reduce building energy use in buildings across the city, was launched in May 2014. The goal is to challenge building owners across Salt Lake City to proactively meet – and exceed – the air quality and energy-saving targets of the Sustainable Salt Lake – Plan 2015 by 15 percent by 2020. Throughout its first year, Project Skyline has been overwhelmingly successful, hosting educational and networking workshops, providing resources for evaluating the building’s energy use, and helping establish energy-saving goals for each business involved.

At the 2015 Project Skyline Awards Luncheon, five winners were recognized for their leadership in Challenge efforts over the past year.

This year, the Energy Innovator Award goes to Basic Research. Basic Research has improved the efficiency of their 230,000-square-foot facility by improving the lighting, HVAC systems, and installing the largest privately owned solar photovoltaic project in the state of Utah. By making these improvements, Basic Research has improved their ENERGY STAR score from 10 to 99.

The Sustained Excellence Award goes to Fidelity Investments. Across the country, Fidelity Investments is working to obtain LEED certification in 65 percent of their buildings and their location on 49 N 400 W is no exception. The building falls under LEED Silver certification, and recently, they added LED lighting and lighting controls and photovoltaic panels to improve the building’s ENERGYSTAR score to 96.

The McGillis School, a private co-ed school located on the Northeast bench of the Salt Lake Valley, has earned the Most-Improved EnergyStar Score Award. In 2014, the school reported an ENERYSTAR score of 97, which marks a 17 point improvement from 2013.

The Energy Efficiency Leadership Award goes to Newmark Grubb ACRES. Throughout the past year, Newmark Grubb ACRES has helped tremendously attending and presenting at multiple workshops. Company leadership also participates on BOMA Utah’s Energy and Sustainability committee and helped launch the BOMA Utah Kilowatt Crackdown. Additionally, the company is working on energy efficiency in several of its properties and are continuing to improve their ENERGYSTAR scores.

Lastly, the Benchmarking Champion Award goes to the Salt Lake City School District. Since 2009, the Salt Lake City School District has begun benchmarking to monitor energy consumption in over 40 buildings. Not only are 72 percent of the district’s schools benchmarked, but they are also certified ENERGY STAR buildings. They have seen an an 18 percent improvement in ENERGY STAR scores in all of their buildings.

Congratulations to these businesses.  For more information on Project Skyline and the Mayor’s Challenge, visit our website.

 

Your Utah. Your Future. Take the Survey!

 

Envision Utah needs 50,000 Utahns like you to help make history and participate in the Your Utah Your Future project. Over the past few months, they have been using your input from the BUILD YOUR 2050 UTAH WEB APP and working with more than 400 task force members to create a survey to find out what you want Utah to be like in 2050.

Take a few seconds now and reserve your spot in the survey. Envision Utah will send you a link to the online survey when it goes live this spring.

Learn more about the Your Utah Your Future initiative below, or visit EnvisionUtah.org.

EnvisionUtah - Infographic

 

 

Mayor Becker Issues Executive Order to Increase Energy Efficiency at City Facilities

cc3

Today Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker issued an Executive Order designed to maximize superior energy management at all Salt Lake City facilities.

“We must lead by example,” said Mayor Becker. “By taking steps to actively monitor our energy use and improve the efficiency of city facilities, we will cut energy waste, improve air quality, protect our natural resources and ultimately save taxpayer dollars.”

The order, which establishes Salt Lake City among leading cities nationwide, creates a multi-department Energy Management Steering Committee and requires City facilities to develop annual Energy Management Plans and track results.

“Through this Executive Order, Mayor Becker again demonstrates his commitment to air quality and smart energy use,” said Sarah Wright, Executive Director of Utah Clean Energy. “Improving the efficiency of Salt Lake City municipal facilities is a fantastic way to showcase how local governments can save taxpayer dollars while simultaneously reducing pollution.”

Energy Management Plans will report on facilities’ progress utilizing best practices in energy management, including energy benchmarking, identification of energy-saving opportunities, requiring building energy efficiency training for facilities managers and operators, empowering employees to play an active role in cutting energy waste and improved transparency of facility energy performance.

The new Executive Order is a cornerstone of Project Skyline, an initiative designed to dramatically cut energy waste in Salt Lake City’s commercial buildings by accelerating investment in energy efficiency and raising public awareness of building performance. In 2014, Project Skyline kicked off with the Mayor’s Skyline Challenge, enlisting 20 businesses in a proactive effort to reduce building energy use. Learn more at SLCgov.com/ProjectSkyline.

A previous Executive Order issued by Mayor Becker in 2013 required all new City facilities achieve net-zero energy status (i.e. producing as much energy as they consume).

Project Skyline: October Recap

Building Operator Certification

Beginning in October, Salt Lake City facilities staff began attending the Level 1 Building Operator Certification training as part of the City’s internal efforts to lead by example and meet the overall energy goals of Project Skyline. BOC training focuses on the improved operating efficiencies that can be realized in existing buildings by ensuring that mechanical systems are properly functioning and synchronized with each other. While this may sound like an obvious course of action, many existing buildings systems do not function as they are designed. BOC training explores the methods of evaluating and fine-tuning building systems to cut energy waste and maintain maximum efficiency.

Members of Salt Lake City building staff are very enthusiastic about what they have already gained from these courses. “My work in the facilities division is on the preventative maintenance team, and the first few days of this course were closely related to my day-to-day assignments,” says Ron Lindquist of Public Services Facilities

What’s most compelling about the BOC training is the focus on major building efficiencies that can be gained from no-cost measures. Salt Lake City plans to continue participating in these training opportunities in the future.

Energy Star Certification Nation

To celebrate 15 years of ENERGY STAR certification for buildings, EPA launches Certification Nation 2014, awarding special recognition for multiple-building certifications. If your buildings have an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or better, there has never been a better year to certify. Join today!

Project Skyline Welcomes new participant Fidelity Investments

Fidelity focuses its environmental sustainability efforts on the tangible steps they can take to minimize the effect our operations may have on the environment. In that regard, they focus on reducing consumption of resources such as paper, water, and energy. As a result they are  expanding LEED® certification to 65% of the North American corporate real estate portfolio to 6 million square feet of green office space.

October News

Project Skyline attends the Intermountain Healthcare Energy Summit

On October 29th, Intermountain Healthcare, one of our Mayor’s Skyline Challenge participants, hosted the company’s Energy Summit at the Marriott City Creek in downtown Salt Lake City. The day-long event featured panel discussions, break-out sessions, as well as the announcement of the Intermountain Energy Innovator of the Year award. The panel discussions explored the topics of Utah’s Energy Landscape and Energy Demand Management, and featured a long list of experts including Dr. Laura Nelson, Utah Director of Energy Development. While each of the panel discussions were engaging and insightful, one of the most remarkable aspects of the event  was seeing the level of focus placed on energy management by  Intermountain Healthcare. The Project Skyline team was happy to be in attendance and learn first-hand from Intermountain’s own expert energy staff as well as their guest speakers. Congratulations on a successful Energy Summit Intermountain Healthcare!

Project Skyline hosted another successful workshop

The Mayor’s Skyline Challenge workshop series continues, most recently with our October 30th installment that focused on Energy Action Plans. An Energy Action Plan serves as the road map for how you will move forward with efficiency improvement projects.

Leslie Cook of Energy Star took attendees through the various components of an energy action plan and what tools are available on Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool to assist in this process. Next, Troy Jensen of Intermountain Healthcare answered questions from attendees about the company’s own 10-year strategic energy plan. All of this tool place over coffee and pastries sponsored by official Project Skyline partner Rocky Mountain Power.

Thanks again to our presenters Leslie Cook and Troy Jensen, as well as Energy Star, Intermountain Healthcare and Rocky Mountain Power for sponsoring our breakfast.  We hope to see another great attendance at the next fall workshop on November 19th for presentations on building commissioning and recommissioning.

Project Skyline at the 2014 USGBC Green Build Conference and Expo

Thank you to the Challenge participants who have recently submitted 2013 baseline data. If you haven’t submitted the 2013 baseline data for your participating buildings yet, please visit this link to get started!

Project Skyline director, Sonal Kemkar, attended the USGBC Green Build Conference last week in New Orleans to discuss the progress being made on commercial building efficiency in Salt Lake City. In addition to highlighting the newest technologies in green building design, the conference brought together leadership from various levels of government and the real estate community who are working on the next-generation of energy efficiency programs. With the launch of the Mayor’s Skyline Challenge, Salt Lake City joins cities like New York, Denver, and Atlanta who are also working with local business leaders on increasing awareness of building performance. Salt Lake City joined members of USGBC and USGBC Utah, AIA, and BOMA at the annual conference.