2021 is here! SLCgreen is excited to move forward. But as we prepare for the year to come, we’re also ready to incorporate what we’ve learned from 2020.
At the beginning of 2020, SLCgreen was eagerly preparing for a new administration and planning for a year of innovative sustainability projects. After a busy 2019 we were ready to take the next steps towards bringing net-100% renewable energy to our community. A new state-of-the-art recycling facility was near completion. And an innovative resident-led food equity program was convening to help improve food access in Salt Lake City.
The challenges of the past year have been harrowing. Within the first months of 2020, Salt Lake City pivoted our work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We experienced an earthquake that damaged our homes and businesses. Hurricane-force winds toppled thousands of trees and left many members of our communities without power for several days.
Despite it all, SLCgreen was able to accomplish many of our goals with the help of our dedicated crews and community members. The challenges our community faced in 2020 laid bare the deep connections between equity, resiliency, and climate action. The year required us take more direct actions to improve our emergency response plans, to better support the voices of residents who have been excluded in the past, and to expand our communications to facilitate more collaborative work.
SLCgreen is ready to build off of what we learned during the past year, but before we set our sights on 2021, here are a few highlights from 2020.
The Engineering News Record (ENR) chose Salt Lake City’s Fire Station 14 as their “Best of the Best Project” in the national Government/Public Building category. This is the seventh award for Utah’s first Net Zero energy fire station which was built in 2018.
The latest award, which is detailed in the March 23 issue of ENR, is the culmination of a year-long process during which construction experts from ten different regions selected finalists. Those 200 finalists then moved to the national competition and were vetted by a different panel of judges.
Fire Station 14is believed to be not only Utah’s, but the nation’s, first Net Zero energy fire station. That means it produces as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis.
It’s also expected to become certified as LEED Gold, showing it meets a range of holistic sustainability benchmarks, including material management, waste diversion, water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and more.
The project was recognized last year as the Best Government/Public Building for the Mountain States Region. As a result, it was automatically entered into ENR’s national “Best of the Best” Competition. Representatives from Zwick, the general contractor, anticipate accepting the award as a representation of the collaboration between the architects, Blalock & Partners, Salt Lake City (Engineering/Fire Dept.), and themselves.
Fire Station 14, near California Ave. and 3800 West, and Fire Station 3, in Sugar House, are both Net Zero and were opened within months of each other in 2018.
The 2-day event features workshops and lectures from leaders in sustainability. The Summit highlights sustainability solutions to help build resiliency and protect the environment and economy.
Highlighting Clean Energy Communities
The Intermountain Sustainability Summit began as a way to bring students, professionals, and the public together to learn about sustainability topics including clean energy, infrastructure, and water conservation. The Summit unites non-profits, businesses, local governments, educators, students, and interested members of the public together for a variety of workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities.
We’re excited to report that the United States Conference of Mayors honored Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, recognizing Salt Lake City efforts to move towards the city’s Climate Positive goals.
Check out the press release below for more details!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 28, 2019
Salt Lake City receives prestigious
recognition of climate achievements at U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting
Today at its annual conference, the United States Conference of Mayors recognized Mayor Jackie Biskupski for her leadership to advance renewable energy and tackle climate change. Presented at the “Climate Luncheon,” Mayor Biskupski was recognized for Salt Lake City’s efforts to transition to net-100 percent clean electricity, which made significant strides in 2019 with the passage and enactment of HB 411, the Community Renewable Energy Act.
We talk a lot about electric vehicles at SLCgreen (seriously – check it out).
That’s because they’re one of the critical pieces of transitioning our community to a lower carbon footprint (and they’re pretty fun to drive too).
Therefore, over the last several years, SLCgreen has developed policies to promote electric vehicle adoption in the community at large and in our government fleet.
But this support is not without substantive research and justification.
While EVs are a key part of the puzzle, they’re not a panacea to climate change or our air quality problems. Other forms of transportation (biking, walking, riding the bus or train) and good urban planning are just as important.
Today, however, we are taking a deep dive on a common question regarding electric vehicles– just how clean are they?
Did you see the news about Salt Lake City’s grand opening of Fire Station 3 last week?
We are thrilled our fire crews have a new home base from which to work, rest, and recover.
Station 3 is the second Net Zero fire station in the country behind Station No. 14, and Salt Lake City is home to the only two Net Zero energy fire stations in the U.S!
Net Zero means the Station will produce as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. It’s also expected to become certified as LEED Gold, which means it meets a range of holistic sustainability benchmarks, including material management, waste diversion, water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and more.
Salt Lake City’s internal Comprehensive Sustainability Policy (6.01.02) specifies that all new municipal construction should be evaluated to meet Net Zero energy standards (if over 10,000 square feet), as well as LEED Gold.
Station 3 is one example of Salt Lake City’s commitment to sustainability, as well as the 100 percent renewable-energy goal described in our Climate Positive 2040 plan. The thoughtful design features are anticipated to result in long-term environmental and economic benefits for our city and the surrounding areas. Read more
Project Open’s All-Electric Apartments Set the Stage for Eco-Friendly Affordable Living
by Ryan Anderson, SLCgreen intern
If you’ve been to Salt Lake City in the winter, you know that our air quality leaves room for improvement. Our air pollution has already been found to have severe health impacts, and it’s crucial that we act now before the problem worsens.
Both of these problems are directly tied to the emissions we put into the air. While transportation is the largest source, our homes and buildings are a close second and are projected to become the top polluter in the coming years.
A key step in securing a healthier future for our community is to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas in residential and commercial buildings, plus the transportation sector.
Luckily, there are solutions. If we design and build our structures smarter, we can reduce much of the pollution that comes from our buildings. And if these structures also incorporate green transportation features, we can significantly move the needle on both air pollution and our community carbon footprint.
That’s why we’re excited to feature a forward-thinking new housing complex that is innovating on all of these fronts.
But we still have a window to act. That’s why it’s critical for local governments to drive policies that reduce energy consumption, catalyze renewable energy development, and transform our transportation sector.
In addition to creating our own plan, Climate Positive SLC, we need to work together to achieve the kind of change our planet and future requires.
That’s why the Mayor has taken leadership roles in a number of high-profile networks, including Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, Climate Mayors, and locally with Path to Positive Utah. She was also recently appointed to chair the Alliance for a Sustainable Future Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
It’s also important, as Utah’s capital city, for us to lead locally and share the expertise and experience we have with other cities and towns. We can and must be stronger together.
That was the intention behind last week’s meeting, which was co-hosted with the Salt Lake City chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. It garnered interest from mayors and councilmembers from Utah cities and towns representing 750,000 residents which is 24 percent of the state’s total population.
Several weeks ago, Salt Lake City’s Sustainability Department Director, Vicki Bennett, traveled to Sydney, Australia to meet with the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA). The purpose of her trip (which was fully funded by a scholarship) was to share best practices in carbon reduction strategies with 20 other cities from around the world.
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).