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Posts tagged ‘greenhouse gas emissions’

DIY Composting

By Salt Lake Valley Landfill Compost Marketer & Recycling Specialist, Zak Breckenridge

As we mentioned in our last post, compost is awesome! And when you put yard trimmings, leaves, vegetable and fruit scraps, and more in your curbside brown compost container, you’re engaging in one of the best forms of local recycling: Composting.

Municipal composting saves landfill space, reduces landfill greenhouse gas emissions, and maintains the local nutrient cycle.

About 30% of what we put in the trash could be turned into compost, which has a big impact on our community carbon emissions and our landfill space.

But what do you do if you don’t have access to curbside yard waste disposal?

Or, perhaps you prefer to skip the brown bin and make your own nutrient-rich compost for your vegetable, flower gardens, and lawn.

Whatever the case may be, today we’re focusing on at-home composting, which gives you the convenience of fresh compost right at home, plus all of the environmental benefits of putting your kitchen and yard waste to good use.

Of course, there isn’t only one right way to compost. While composting methods share the same basic principles, there are many factors to keep in mind. Read on to learn about the main composting techniques so you can decide what method will work best for you.

Compost bin
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Climate Week: What SLC is Doing to Combat Climate Change

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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!

SLCgreen, Dr. Mann & HEAL Utah Host Climate Event

On Wednesday, Dr. Michael Mann – one of the world’s most highly respected climate change scientists – gathered with SLCgreen program director Debbie Lyons, Salt Lake City water resources manager Laura Briefer, BYU geologist Barry Brickmore, University of Utah atmospheric scientist Court Strong and HEAL Utah policy director Matt Pacenza to call for immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Mann is the scholar behind the striking “hockey stick” graph demonstrating a sharp post-industrial increase in temperature.

The leaders highlighted a trio of definitive recent reports – from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Climate Assessment – demonstrating that climate change is already happening, and that in coming decades its effects will intensify.

The National Climate Assessment – released just last week – warns that Utah will face heightened drought, forest fires, protracted high temperatures, decreased stream flows and earlier snowmelt.

Green your 2014

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Update: Catch the feature on KUTV 2News! Our very own Tyler Poulson shares a few tips to save $$ and reduce your impact at home.

Step into a leaner, greener YOU in 2014 by committing to a SLCgreen New Year’s Resolution. Challenge yourself to lose 3,000 pounds of CO2 (or more!) by completing household action items that help the environment and save you money.

Make your green New Year’s Resolution for 2014
(Like most things, our form is best viewed in browsers other than Internet Explorer)

Don’t overlook the impact a single family can have on our environment. The average Utah household emits over 80,000 pounds of CO2 annually through its home energy, transportation, and dietary choices. This is equivalent to driving one-way from SLC to New York City 94 times in a Prius. (Do we have your attention now?)

Increase your impact by directing friends, relatives, co-workers and strangers to make their resolution. It is, after all, the sum of all our individual actions that create the future we leave for the next generation.

Just remember: every pound of CO2 counts!

Check back for our New Year’s Resolution “Carbon Counter.” We’ll be posting how much CO2 we’ve collectively resolved to reduce in 2014!

Mayor Becker Wins Climate Protection Award

MayorBeckerSalt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy have been selected as the nation’s top winners in the 2013 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards, an initiative sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Walmart.

The annual awards program, now in its seventh year, recognizes mayors for innovative practices that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An independent panel of judges selected the winners from a pool of applicants.

“Mayor Becker and Mayor Bellamy are great examples of the strong leadership at the local level working on climate protection,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “As others debate these issues, mayors are acting on real climate solutions, showing how to curb both energy use and climate-harming emissions.”

“We are proud to honor these cities and their mayors, who remind all of us how their leadership is making a real difference in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the quality of life in their communities,” said Greg Hall, Walmart’s Vice President of U.S. Sourcing and Manufacturing. “At the end of the day, these local efforts reduce our energy dependence and save money, results that help strengthen the U.S. economy.”

“In Salt Lake City, we are committed to doing what we can right now to address the climate change impacts that are already being felt at a local level and will only become more challenging,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. “Setting goals for ourselves like constructing net-zero public facilities is one of the many things we can do as a community to mitigate and adapt to changes in our climate, helping to ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for our City.”

“The City of Asheville is honored to receive this award,” said Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy. “By reinvesting our energy savings through our Green Capital Improvement Program, we are reducing air pollution in our region, making neighborhoods safer by installing high quality LED lights, and demonstrating fiscal responsibility by recycling tax dollars.”

“Mayors are leading the way on climate protection just like so many other issues before the nation,” said Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. “In their cities, we can see the innovation and imagination that leads to new strategies to combat the growing energy and climate challenges before us.”

First Place Winners

·       Salt Lake City, UT Mayor Ralph Becker for the Net Zero Public Safety Building and Salt Lake Community Solar (Large City Category – population over 100,000)

The Salt Lake City Public Safety Building will be the first public safety building in the nation to achieve a Net Zero rating. To reach this lofty goal and ensure the building produces as much energy as it uses, the city employed a host of innovative technologies including rooftop solar and an off-site solar farm, planned LEED Platinum certification, locally-sourced and environmentally-sound materials and high efficiency mechanical systems. Its Salt Lake Community Solar (SLCS), a unique, market-driven approach to reducing the cost of solar energy using innovation and ingenuity to tackle the logistical and financial barriers of going solar, helps businesses and homeowners purchase and install solar energy systems.

·       Asheville, NC Mayor Terry Bellamy for the Green Capital Improvement Program (Small City Category – population under 100,000)

The City of Asheville established a goal to cut carbon emissions in its municipal activities by 80 percent by 2030. In the five years following the adoption of this target, the city has achieved a 17.67% reduction in emissions, and it has also established a self-sustaining funding source that recycles energy savings to invest in additional sustainability programs. More recently, these energy savings and dollars are directed into the Green Capital Improvement Program (Green CIP) which funds the city ongoing initiatives to make further progress on its 80 percent reduction goal. During the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Asheville creatively reinvested energy savings to invest in improved greener services for its citizens.

In addition to the first place winners, Honorable Mentions were awarded to mayors in four large cities and six small cities for their exceptional achievements in efforts to promote climate protection:

Large City Honorable Mentions: Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic, Akron, OH, Mayor Gregory A. Ballard, Indianapolis, IN, Mayor Thomas Barrett, Milwaukee, WI, and Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Washington, DC

Small City Honorable Mentions: Mayor Kathleen J. DeRosa, Cathedral City, CA;  Mayor Roy D. Buol, Dubuque, IA, Mayor Nancy R. Rotering, Highland Park, IL, Mayor Jerry Willey, Hillsboro, OR, J. Richard Gray, Lancaster, PA, and Mayor Chris Koos, Normal, IL.

Read the report (PDF):

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