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December Partner Meeting

Rounding out 2021, the December UCAIR Partner Meeting focused on multiple UCAIR funded projects and highlighted their successes. We had three projects presented by multiple partners:

Empower Low & Zero Emission Construction in Redevelopment Project

  • Lauren Parisi
    • Salt Lake Redevelopment Agency
  • Kevin Emerson
    • Utah Clean Energy

Tri-City Emissions Baselining Project

  • Samantha DeSeelhorst
    • City of Cottonwood Heights

Ebus Air Monitoring Program

  • Michael Shea
    • Salt Lake County

First, Kevin and Lauren presented on the Redevelopment Agency project which focused on updating Salt Lake City RDA programs and policies to promote and incentivize area source emission reductions using low-and zero-emission practices in new building construction and major rehabs. Area sources will be the largest category of air pollution emissions by 2024 which includes our homes and buildings. One of the solutions is to implement in class energy efficiency and emerging clean air technologies as well as moving renewable energy forward, both on-site and off-site. Salt Lake City has focused their sustainability goals to a climate positive 2040 which means 100% renewable energy for community electrical supply by 2030 and an 80% reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Mayor Mendenhall’s goal is to emission free by 2023. The purpose of the SLC sustainability policy is to:

  1. Reduce building related greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Improve local air quality.
  3. Preserve natural resources.
  4. Enhance community resiliency.

A few of the proposed Sustainable Development Policy updates include developing threshold requirements in which all new construction projects receiving over certain $ amount will have an Energy Star score of 90 and participation in Elevate Buildings. Additionally, a few program requirements to qualify for incentives or loans include utilizing off-site net zero buildings by supplying 100% of the building’s electricity needs with renewable energy utility tariffs, as well as encouraging on-site net zero buildings with 100% of the building’s electricity with as much on-site solar energy generation as they can. This program can be used and replicated successfully to local governments and other local RDAs. We just shared this with Utah Development Association. We have high hopes that this project will spur other projects around the valley. Please visit the Salt Lake City website to learn more about the RDA sustainability initiatives.

Next, Samantha presented the Tri-City Emissions Baselining Project. About three years ago Cottonwood Heights, Holladay, and Millcreek entered into an agreement with the main goal being to collaborate on sustainability. All three cities have been unincorporated and share boundaries with similar outdoor identities. Some of the shared projects are the community renewable energy program, electric vehicle charging infrastructure installations, anti-idling ordinances and rain barrel incentive programs. This specific project focused on two main areas: city buildings and city vehicles – both fleet and employee commutes. There was an overarching need to know what needs to be improved, and a need-to-know existing conditions. Through the generous funding of UCAIR, we were able to bring in all these wonderful partners on this massive project. The first phase of the project was to baseline current emissions-SLCC Energy Institute collected data from utility bills and site visits, from there we were able to analyze and categorize energy use. Utah Clean Cities and Utah Clean Energy collected data on municipal buildings and vehicles and their use to analyze and categorize energy uses. Then phase 2 consisted of recommending changes. For buildings recommendations such as enrolling in ongoing tracking services, lighting systems, weatherization, renewable tech, low EUI for new construction, etc. For fleets the recommendations included introduce alternative fuels, utilize motor pool management, reduce vehicular idling, offer efficient driving training, etc. The project resulted in a successful understanding of existing conditions from city operation. The recommendations to reduce emissions in each sector were implemented in an interlocal sustainability plan that was recently adopted by all three cities. Please visit the following links to learn more about Cottonwood Heights sustainability initiatives, as well as the Interlocal Sustainability Plan.

Finally, Michael presented on the Electric Bus Air Quality Monitoring Project. The first air quality monitor was installed in SLC in 1963, since then many more monitors have been installed throughout the state. Data and internet make this information much more accessible now. Please see the DAQ air quality monitoring website for more information. These installed monitors have always been at fixed locations and only give a broad analysis for the air quality in that fixed area until 2014 when the University of Utah placed monitors on TRAX trains covering over forty-five miles of rail lines. This project grows on historical air monitoring project and installs monitors on three UTA electric buses within SLC business areas, tracking PM2.5s, ozone and nitrogen oxides. The buses offer an emission-less mobile platform (E-bus) to collect real-time, air quality monitoring data. When the project is successfully completed, and the evaluation finds positive results the electric bus air quality monitoring can be scaled to all new e-buses in UTA’s fleet. To see more information on this project you may visit the Salt Lake County website.

Division of Air Quality Update: Following the presentations, Bryce Bird, Director of the Division of Air Quality, gave an update on the current air quality in Utah. The EPA opened the $20 million dollar grant competition for community air pollution monitoring- for more information please follow the following link: Community Air Pollution Monitoring Grant. This funding focuses on air monitoring projects that can help foster transparency and accountability to reduce pollution in underserved communities. This is a national competitive grant. Grant close date for applications is February 25th, 2022.

Partners Roundtable-UCAIR Partners: Partners then shared what projects and initiatives they are currently working on.

Ned Hill, Provo City: Provo Power is finishing a 560-acre solar farm and using 80 megawatts of power. These are moveable panels that face the sun and track it during the day. Billing is also being changed for those who are charging electric cars during the night to get a lower rate.

Michelle Brown, State of Utah: Save the date: First ever Utah State Sustainable Purchasing Summit will be held on March 22nd, 2022 in Taylorsville, UT. This will be a hybrid meeting. Please see more information here.

Kevin Emerson, UCE: We are working to better understand opportunities and solutions for affordable electrification programs with a recently awarded program with the EPA.  

Kip Billings, WFRC: Letter form the EPA-regarding carbon monoxide for Ogden City has completed participation and are no longer non-attainment.

Closing Mentions-Kim Frost: Please participate in the UTA Free Fair Days are coming up and the community can ride free when we are having bad air days. The days will be announced on the UCAIR social media as well as on UTA’s website and social media pages.