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Posts tagged ‘utah clean energy’

Act on Climate: The 4th Annual Utah Climate Week is September 21 – 27, 2020

Home damage from the hurricane-force wind storm Salt Lake City experienced on Sept. 8, 2020.

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So far 2020 has been a record year for climate-related natural disasters. Alongside the global coronavirus pandemic, severe weather like what we experienced with last week’s wind storm, record breaking temperatures in August, and fires burning throughout the Western United States, have shown us first-hand the effects of climate change in our backyards.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to call attention to climate change– and the urgency of taking action at all levels.

We’re in luck because the Fourth Annual Utah Climate Week is coming up from September 21 – September 27 and offers everyone the platform not only to learn and engage, but also to call attention to climate change during what has seemed like a year of jumping from one immediate crisis to another.

So many people are struggling and so many are exhausted with all 2020 is bringing to bear on our communities. We hear that and we feel it too.

And that’s exactly why we must continue looking at the big picture, and to draw the connections between immediate events and the larger harm we’re doing to our planet.

This year’s Climate Week will be a little different– there won’t be in-person events, but there are a suite of interesting and engaging events taking place online and we hope to see you at one or more of them.

Then join us on social media to highlight why you care about climate change. Use the tags #UtahClimateWeek and #ActOnClimate to call attention to this issue!

If you’re not a big social media user, take the opportunity to do some learning, then perhaps have a conversation with your friends, family, or other networks. Whatever you do: Learn. Activate. Engage. Let’s go!

Utah Climate Week 2020

See the full Utah Climate Week schedule of events here.

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Utah Climate Week is an annual event– now in it’s fourth year– and is coordinated by the Utah Climate Action Network, Utah Clean Energy, and many partners. The week provides a chance to learn, share resources, and re-commit to the necessary work to #ActOnClimate.

Check out the list of events here.

We’ve been involved in planning and coordinating one event in particular and we’d like to invite you to attend.

The Utah Sustainable Business Coalition and the Salt Lake City e2 Business Program are hosting a panel discussion on how local businesses of all sizes are working to improve sustainability at their companies.

The event will be held on Tuesday, September 22 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. on Zoom. Click here to register!

Register for the Utah Sustainable Business Coalition during Climate Week here.

Environmental Justice and Climate Change

As we have noted in previous blog posts, sustainability and resiliency intersect with environmental, social, economic, and equity work.

Communities of color are disproportionately affected by climate change. In Utah, the health threats of air pollution are the most obvious example. On a global scale, climate change and pollution are affecting us all, especially coupled with COVID-19, starting with communities who are already experiencing systemic racism and inequity.

Because these areas of life are directly connected, it is important to take action on every level. Individuals; businesses; and local, state, and national governments have an important role to play in addressing inequity and supporting sustainability.

What Can You Do?

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Staying Cool this Summer and as the Climate Warms

Photo of Salt Lake City looking towards east-bench foothills on sunny day.
Summer in Salt Lake City can be beautiful, but rising temperatures make staying cool a challenge.

Staying cool during Utah summers is always difficult when the thermometer climbs above 90, 95, and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

This year it’s even more challenging with the necessity of staying home, and the closures or limitation on public swimming pools, splash pads, and some cooling centers.

With more people spending more time at home, utility bills and household waste have spiked.

As the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) points out, there are other ways to stay cool than by cranking up the A/C. Here are a few ideas that work especially well in our desert climate:

  • Stay Hydrated! Staying hydrated will help you stay cool and healthy, even when it’s hot! Read more about the signs of dehydration here.
  • Use your windows! Windows can be your best friend. Try to open things up at night to help cool your space down, but close the blinds or use window coverings when it starts to get hot our during the day.
  • Fans: Be strategic about box fans or overhead fans – they can help keep things cool and reduce the need for AC. But save energy by turning them off before you leave the house!
  • Optimize Space: Keep doors shut to areas you’re not using – that way you’ll be cooling a smaller space, which is more energy efficient!
  • Cook Carefully: Opting for recipes that don’t use the oven or require a long time on the stove will help keep your kitchen cooler – and may even help with your indoor air quality.
  • Switch to LED lights: Using more efficient lighting will help you save energy and money. LEDs, and other home energy efficiency improvements, can help you cut your energy bills and keep space cooler. Typical incandescent lights also put off more heat, so switching to LED reduces the heat burden in your home.

Salt Lake County Opens Two Cooling Centers this Weekend

The National Weather Service – Salt Lake City tweets about the heat risk forecast for July 11 and 12, 2020.
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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?

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Utah Communities Celebrate Landmark Renewable Energy Legislation

We have some exciting news! Check out the below press release for details on Salt Lake City’s legislative progress toward our Climate Positive goals.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APRIL 22, 2019

Rocky Mountain Power partnered with local governments to support passage of the Community Renewable Energy Act which authorizes a path to net-100% renewable electricity

Representatives from numerous Utah communities along with Rocky Mountain Power will join Governor Gary Herbert at a ceremonial signing this afternoon for the Community Renewable Energy Act (HB 411). The legislation was sponsored by Representative Steve Handy and enables next steps towards a net-100%* renewable electricity portfolio by 2030 for Utah communities with ambitious clean energy goals.

Park City, Salt Lake City and Summit County worked with Rocky Mountain Power for over three years leading up to the passage of HB 411 to envision this first-of-its-kind legislation. The bill authorizes future regulatory filings at the Utah Public Service Commission that will define rules, rates and expectations for the community renewable energy program.

Mayor Jackie Biskupski speaks about HB411, the Community Renewable Energy Act, with community partners. From left: Lead sponsor Rep. Steve Handy, Park City Councilmember Tim Henney, Summit County Councilmember Glenn Wright, Rocky Mountain Power CEO Gary Hoogeveen, Grace Olscamp with HEAL Utah, Ashley Soltysiak with the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club, and Josh Craft with Utah Clean Energy.

“House Bill 411 is groundbreaking legislation, not just for our state, but for the country. It also represents the biggest breakthrough ever in Salt Lake City’s pursuit of clean energy,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, who also serves as co-chair of the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy Campaign and is the Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Alliance for a Sustainable Future. “Powering all of our homes and businesses with renewable energy by 2030 will cut our community carbon footprint in half and create a replicable roadmap for others across the country.”

We’re in the midst of what some are calling ‘The New Energy Economy,’ which is both exciting and challenging,” said lead bill sponsor Representative Steve Handy. “When I first heard about the concept of what eventually became HB 411, the Community Renewable Energy Act, I immediately recognized it as groundbreaking. And when it comes to ‘The New Energy Economy,’ I believe that it’s the role of government to remove barriers and let market forces take over, which is exactly what HB 411 does.” 

Rocky Mountain Power will facilitate the transition to a net-100% renewable electricity portfolio and the utility will continue to provide all of its standard services for customers. The financial costs and benefits of the program will be isolated to participating communities so that no costs are shifted to other utility customers. Additionally, individual customers in participating communities have the ability to stay on standard Rocky Mountain Power rates through an opt-out process after the program is established.

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Salt Lake City, Utah Clean Energy and its Energy Ambassadors Launch Empower SLC

Some of the partners involved in launching Empower SLC, an energy efficiency outreach program funded with a $200,00 investment from Salt Lake City, in collaboration with Utah Clean Energy.

The Salt Lake City Sustainability Department and Utah Clean Energy have teamed up with the International Rescue Committee, Salt Lake County Aging & Adult Services, and YouthCity Government to achieve a common goal: empower Salt Lake City’s west side neighborhoods with the tools to reduce pollution while saving energy and money. 

The unique partnership is the result of a $200,000 investment from Salt Lake City and was announced on April 11, 2019 with the launch of Empower SLC, a community engagement effort to help Salt Lake City residents reduce pollution and save energy on a community-wide scale. The program is being managed by long-time experts Utah Clean Energy.

“Energy efficiency is often the unsung hero of clean air and a healthy climate,” said Kevin Emerson, energy efficiency program director, Utah Clean Energy. “When you save energy at home, you reduce pollution. Now consider the possibilities when we save energy throughout our entire community.

Kevin Emerson, of Utah Clean Energy, describes the energy efficiency offerings of Empower SLC.

Small steps in energy efficiency can make a big impact on air quality and climate solutions. We are thrilled to bring this pilot program to westside Salt Lake City and make a positive impact in so many lives.”

Saving energy is something everyone can do and the Empower SLC website features a handy list of actions (PDF), with associated energy and cost savings, available to all.

However, the reality is that not everyone can access simple energy efficiency tools.

Read more

Utah Climate Week is Coming Up!

by Emily Seang, SLCgreen intern

utah climate week

Source: Utah Climate Action Network

October is the month for falling leaves, cooler breezes and– now in its second year– Utah Climate Week!

Why Climate Week?

According to the latest National Climate Assessment, global temperatures will rise by some amount this century. The extent of the increase, however, will depend on how aggressively global society can rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

This change in the climate is already contributing to existing extreme weather patterns all over the world.

This is the case in Utah too. In 2018 alone, Utah has felt the effects of climate change on many fronts, including low water levels, an explosion of algal bloomspoor air quality, extreme heat, and frequent wildfires. These repercussions take a toll on our health, as well as our summer and winter outdoor recreation past-times and economic drivers.

Record 50 degree nights 2018

The National Weather Service tweeted a record 131 days in 2018 that temperatures in the Salt Lake City area did not dip below 50 degrees F.

Climate change is clearly a concern to our public safety, natural resources, and economic development. But we can all play a role in amplifying the message that it’s time to take action.  We can also look at our daily routines and make small changes that add up to meaningful emissions reductions.

These are the goals behind the Second Annual Utah Climate Week.

Utah Climate Week is hosted by the Utah Climate Action Network, a partnership that aims to reduce emissions, enhance resiliency, and engage individuals and local leaders within our state.

Utah is one of only a few other communities to host a climate week, joining the likes of New York City and LondonRead more

Coming Together on Climate

Mayors Climate Picture

Mayor Biskupski meets with local elected officials from across Utah to discuss policies to address climate change.

Last week, Mayor Biskupski brought together mayors and councilmembers from nine other Utah communities to discuss what local government can do to address climate change.

The latest data about fossil fuel consumption and associated pollution is deeply troubling. For the first time in hundreds of thousands of years, the Earth hit a monthly average of 410 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere.

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 SLCwe 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 EnergyClimate 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.

READ MORE VIA THE MAYOR’S BLOG . . .

Check out our Roadmap for Electrified Transportation!

 

EV Roadmap image

Pop-out doors, instant acceleration, electric bikes, autonomous electric ride-share programs. . . the future is exciting when it comes to electrified transportation.

And, in many cases, the future is here. So local governments better get ready!

That’s why we’re excited to introduce you to a new report SLCgreen recently co-produced with Utah Clean Energy.

The Electrified Transportation Roadmap describes 25 steps that local governments can take to accelerate the electric transportation revolution.

The Roadmap outlines how local governments can implement a variety of electric powered modes of transit including electric vehicles (EVs), e-bikes, electric transit, and electrified ridesharing.

Salt Lake City has integrated a number of these best practices into our internal operations, and we’re now working toward more community-scale projects as part of our Climate Positive SLC plan.

As the capital city’s sustainability department, we also believe it’s important to share what we’ve learned with other local governments.

That’s the idea behind the Roadmap—as well as a workshop we organized March 14 with representatives from 16 local governments across the Wasatch Front to talk about best practices and to view EV options from a variety of local dealers. Read more

Utah Climate Action Network Nationally Recognized for Innovative Partnerships

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Vicki Bennett, Sustainability Director (middle) accepts the Innovative Partnership Certificate for the Utah Climate Action Network.

Last week the Climate Leadership Conference recognized eighteen businesses and organizations for their significant efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

The Utah Climate Action Network (UCAN) received an Innovative Partnership Certificate for bringing the public and private sectors together to find solutions for climate issues.

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New Climate Change Leaders Network Launched!

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Path to Positive Utah brings together 40 inaugural leaders who have committed to discussing and forging local solutions to climate change in Utah.

Read more in the press release below!

SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 14, 2017 – Prominent Utah leaders from business, government, higher education, faith communities and civic organizations united on Nov. 14, 2017 to sign a declaration acknowledging shared responsibility for protecting Utah’s economy, air quality and environment, and safeguarding against the risks of climate change.

The gathering kicked off Path to Positive Utah, a collaborative initiative sponsored by Utah Clean Energy and ecoAmerica, that represents a diverse group of leaders seeking to understand, prepare for and raise awareness about climate change risks and solutions.

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