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Posts tagged ‘vicki bennett’

Check Out this Interview with the SLCgreen Director

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The Sustainable Nation Podcast interviewed our very own Sustainability Director -Vicki Bennett. Check out the podcast to hear insights and advice from the leader of our City’s award-winning Salt Lake City Green sustainability program.

The Sustainable Nation Podcast produces interviews with global leaders in sustainability and was developed to provide information and insights from the world’s most inspiring change-makers.

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Vicki Bennett has led Salt Lake City’s award-winning Salt Lake City Green sustainability program for 17 years and has integrated sustainability policies throughout government operations and Salt Lake City as a whole. She works with both city agencies and the public to create a more livable community.

Vicki’s experience includes sustainability program management, climate change mitigation, and adaptation, energy policy, food security, waste diversion, and environmental compliance.

She is a founding member of both the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Utah Climate Action Network. She holds a degree in Chemistry from the University of California at San Diego, and an Executive MBA from the University of Utah.

The interview gives listeners a glimpse of Vicki’s journey from a lab chemist to her current role as the leader of Salt Lake City Green. Vicki has forged some of the City’s most innovative programs to ensure a healthy sustainable future for us all. Give the podcast a listen to learn more!

 

For more information on Climate Positive, please visit: http://www.slcgreen.com/climatepositive and follow #ClimatePositiveSLC for continuing updates.

 

 

Mayor Biskupski’s State of the City Sustainability Highlights

We’ve accomplished a lot in the last year! From a Cooperation Statement with our electric utility, to a new community garden, to a  mobile farm stand, to the announcement of ambitious climate goals, Salt Lake City has made great strides in 2016. Read on for Sustainability highlights from the Mayor’s State of the City. 

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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.

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SLCgreen Director Vicki Bennett Appointed New Urban Sustainability Directors Network Co-Chair

USDN logoThe Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) has announced their new Planning Committee co-chairs, Michael Armstrong from Portland, Oregon and Vicki Bennett from Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City Green is proud to have Vicki at the helm, serving as Sustainability Director for Salt Lake City and working closely with Mayor Ralph Becker.

USDN is a network of sustainability directors from cities and counties across the United States who collaborate on a variety of issues facing urban areas. USDN’s ultimate goal is to build and strengthen the connections between members in order to quickly access each other’s knowledge and expertise to achieve better, more effective outcomes at scale. The connections fostered by USDN have become increasingly important as cities both large and small lead the way in developing the next generation of sustainable communities.

The Planning Committee serves as USDN’s governing body, with responsibility to advance the strategic direction of the network. Members are fortunate to be supported by a managing director and staff who provide high-level leadership and day-to-day management. Each year, USDN leaders, members, and staff collaborate on a Strategic Plan to guide the network for the year. An external edition of the 2015 plan can be downloaded here.

USDN accomplishes its goal by focusing on three core objectives:

  1. Offering members peer-to-peer Networking Opportunities
  2. Creating solutions that scale through a funded Collaborative Innovation System
  3. Expanding access and addressing specific issues through Regional Networks

Vicki Bennett (Salt Lake City) has worked as the Sustainability Director for Salt Lake City for 14 years, where she works with both city agencies and the public to create a more livable and sustainable community. Vicki has over 25 years of experience in government, industry and consulting with an emphasis in sustainability, climate, environmental management, and energy issues. She has been on the cutting edge of several national efforts, including the White House State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

Vicki was a founding USDN member, joining the network in early 2009, and has “seen [the] organization grow and adapt as the field of sustainability has been developed.” In addition to her work on the Planning Committee, Vicki has led USDN’s Climate Change Preparedness User Group for several years, one of the network’s most popular groups, co-founded the Western Adaptation Alliance Regional Network, and serves on the USDN External Relations Committee.

SLCgreen director touts city’s efforts toward sustainability, meets with President Obama during Utah visit (FOX13 Story)

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SLCgreen Director Vicki Bennett was recently profiled by FOX 13 News during President’s Obama’s visit to Utah. Click on the screenshot above to view the video. Here is the transcript:

SALT LAKE CITY — Vicki Bennett has been with Salt Lake City for 14 years, and she said this city in particular has been on the forefront of sustainability.

The word sustainability can mean different things to different people, but for Bennett and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker’s administration, it comes down a pretty basic concept.

She said: “How do we ensure we keep Salt Lake City the best we can, for now and for our children? We want people to want to continue to want to live here, we want a healthy environment.”

During Becker’s nearly two terms, Bennett has helped lead the mayor’s sustainability team by developing solar energy projects, reducing carbon emissions and encouraging local business owners to meet air quality and energy targets by evaluating their building’s energy use, setting energy-saving goals, and conducting energy-saving improvement projects.

“And what’s so exciting is that Salt Lake’s sustainability program, if you talk to our peers, is considered one of the top 10 in the nation, for a small city,” Bennett said.

Those efforts have also been noticed by leaders in Washington D.C.

Mayor Becker and President Barack Obama share a similar vision regarding sustainability, and it has helped them forge a strong, working relationship. Bennett said that in turn helps the effort back in Salt Lake City.

“He’s been able to get us a voice in the White House,” she said. “Because of that, we’ve been able to get funding for grants that a lot of cities aren’t even invited to apply for.”

Bennett knows there will soon be a new mayor but said she believes Salt Lake City’s advances in walkable housing, transportation, solar power and recycling are here to stay.

“We always have to be improving our environment, we always have to be ensuring we have healthy air to breathe, that we have water quality and water quantity for our residents,” she said.

Bennett was able to briefly meet President Obama Thursday night during his visit to Utah, and she said the honor gave everyone on their staff a renewed sense of determination to move forward with sustainability efforts.

Full story, including video, available at FOX13Now.com.

SLCgreen Highlights from 2014

Happy New Year! It’s been a busy year for the Salt Lake City Green team, and we look forward to an exciting 2015 with your ongoing support. Since we’re in a reflective mood, take a look at some of our highlights from 2014.

Climate Task Force

We started the year with Mayor Ralph Becker’s appointment to the White House’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Both Mayor Becker and Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett attended a series of round tables throughout the year, which culminated in the presentation of recommendations to the President in Washington D.C.

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Project Skyline

In May, Salt Lake City hosted EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for a historic visit. In addition to a round table discussion with key partners, Administrator McCarthy joined Mayor Becker to kick off Project Skyline and the Mayor’s Skyline Challenge, a new initiative to curb energy waste from our city’s commercial buildings. SLCgov.com/ProjectSkyline

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SmartTrips Sugar House

During the summer, we kicked off a new year of SmartTrips in the Sugar House/S-Line neighborhood. The program focused on encouraging residents to walk, bike and take public transit to reduce their vehicle trips and impact on air quality. It was a great success! Over 500 households participated, increasing their alternative transit trips by 46% during the height of the program. SmartTripsSLC.com

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SLC Goes Solar

In June, we flipped the switch on Salt Lake City’s new solar farm. The farm produces 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy annually for our net zero Public Safety Building. We also celebrated two other important solar projects at the event, rooftop installations on the Public Safety Building and Plaza 349. Over 4,000 solar panels were installed on the three project sites, which will generate 1.7 million kilowatt-hours annually. SLCgreenBlog.com

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Popperton Plots Community Garden

In August we celebrated the successful opening and dedication of the Popperton Plots Community Garden in the Avenues. Popperton is one of the first community gardens to open on a parcel of city-owned land, made available through an expanded Green City Growers program. Popperton was also the receipient of a Partners for Places grant to support their development. It was a wonderful harvest celebration and an important milestone! More plots are available for development: SLCgreenblog.com

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Sustainable Business Leadership Award

In November, Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett was recognized by Utah Business Magazine with a Sustainable Leadership Award, and the whole SLCgreen team was there to help her celebrate! Vicki has led Salt Lake City’s award-winning Salt Lake City Green program for 13 years, spearheading initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and divert waste from the landfill. Congratulations, Vicki! SLCgreenblog.com

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SLCgreen Director Vicki Bennett Honored with Sustainable Leadership Award from Utah Business Magazine

Today Salt Lake City Green Director Vicki Bennett was recognized with a Sustainable Business Leadership Award from Utah Business Magazine. And the entire SLCgreen team was there to cheer her on! Please join us in congratulating Vicki on this outstanding achievement.

Visit Utah Business Magazine to read the award nomination, also included below.

Vicki Bennett has led Salt Lake City’s award-winning Salt Lake City Green program for 13 years, spearheading initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and divert waste from the landfill. “What we are trying to achieve is the healthiest possible place to live,” Bennett says. “That’s what the breadth of sustainability is all about.”

The scope of her work is reflected in the Sustainable Salt Lake Plan 2015, a plan that has been described as one of the most ambitious and broad-reaching sustainability agendas in the country. Some of the plan’s “targets” include increasing the number of CNG fueling stations and electric-vehicle charging stations in the city, increasing renewable energy generation for city buildings, increasing the residential recycling rate to 50 percent, increasing on-road bikeways by 50 percent—and many, many more.

The Sustainable City Dashboard provides details of the plan and its goals, and enables residents to track the city’s progress toward meeting those goals. Going forward, Bennett says the city will focus on climate issues and adapting to the changes that are already happening.

Community outreach is a major component of her work. She says, “It’s important to help people understand they are paying for the pollution they create,” whether that’s through health impacts, ecological degradation, or waste cleanup and storage.

Prior to joining the city, Bennett implemented environmental management systems for PacifiCorp and offered international environmental consulting for a variety of industries.