How the ‘Inconvenient Youth’ Can Influence (Pester?) Others on Clean Air Action

By Edwin Stafford (ed.stafford@usu.edu) and Roslynn Brain (roslynn.brain@usu.edu)
See the past winner posters here!

Social influence is often instrumental for encouraging pro-social behavioral change in others.  Who else are the most influential in our lives but our own children – with whom we want to maintain mutual love and respect?   We call this the “Inconvenient Youth” effect, and it is our current focus with the Utah High School Clean Air Poster Contest (cleanaircontest.usu.edu).  

Now in its fourth year, we piloted the contest at Logan High in 2015 to engage teens learning to drive to understand the air pollution implications of their new driving privilege through a fun poster contest where participants could win desirable prizes donated by local businesses (merchandise, gift cards and cash).  Posters have been funny, edgy, and reflecting teen values and pop culture.  Winning posters have then been displayed throughout the community.   

What we’ve discovered, however, is that not only do teens learn driving strategies to help preserve air quality, such as refrain from idling and engage in trip-chaining and carpooling, but they also become clean air evangelists, influencing (pestering?) their parent, families and friends to take the same actions as well.  

For our expanded 2017 iteration of the contest involving over 400 teens in Cache Valley, we found approximately two-thirds of surveyed participants reported encouraging others to engage in clean air actions – even though we did not instruct them to do so – and 43% believed that they actually changed others’ behaviors for good.  

Can the Inconvenient Youth effect be harnessed and encouraged?  That’s what we’re investigating next!  We’ve published our current findings in the December 2017 issue of Sustainability:  The Journal of Record (article available upon request).  Specifically, we overview some strategies and future research for further harnessing the ‘Inconvenient Youth’ and how teens may be further empowered to foster clean air behaviors within their families and social networks.  

 

Utah Embraces Alternative Fuel for Fleets

Green Fleets – Save Money and Clear the Air

The following post was featured on Salt Lake City’s Economic Development blog, highlighting the benefits that local businesses have observed following their switch to clean vehicles. We at SLCgreen wanted to thank Utah Clean Cities and their partners who provided statistics and success stories for this post. Our hope is to continue to encourage and promote the use of clean vehicle technology, which we see as a harmonious method to create economic growth and a healthier community.  It has been updated for Utah Clean Cities Mind Fuel.

 

Inversion season is nearly upon us. Poor air quality is something Salt Lake City, other municipalities along the Wasatch Front, and the State of Utah are actively working to improve.The biggest source of emissions comes from vehicles which contribute to over half of the wintertime inversion pollution. The good news is that cars, trucks, and other equipment are getting cleaner!

Businesses can help by taking advantage of the newest technologies to reduce emissions from their vehicles fleets.

Doing so can save pollution, of course, but also offers a whole host of other benefits, including saving your business money. Clean vehicles have had an unprecedented growth rate over the past few years. This new technology has caught the attention of businesses across the nation, with many starting to integrate a variety of electric, hybrid, clean diesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), and other alternative-fueled vehicles into their corporate fleets.

CNG and Clean Diesel

CNG can replace large traditionally diesel-powered vehicles like refuse trucks or cement mixers and burn 45-90% cleaner and have a much longer lifecycle than their traditional diesel counterparts.Similarly, “clean diesel“– which is a combination of low-sulfur diesel fuel, advanced engines, and better emissions controls can significantly reduce the emissions from heavy duty vehicles. Salt Lake City now has several “clean diesel” garbage trucks in our fleet.

Electric Vehicles

For passenger class vehicles, EVs are a sound option. One reason: Driving an electric car in Utah costs half as much, mile per mile, as driving a gas car. EVs are also great for our air. In fact, according to a 2017 analysis, compared to a gasoline-fueled vehicle, all-electric vehicles along the Wasatch Front produce 98% fewer Sulfur Oxides, 99% fewer Volatile Organic Compounds, and 90% fewer Nitrogen Oxides with significant additional reductions in Particulate Matter (81% for PM2.5 and 57% for PM10). Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles reduces emissions significantly as well.

That’s a lot of pollution saved!

Plus, when you drive electric, many routine maintenance tasks (for example, oil changes, timing belt replacements, emissions testing) become a thing of the past! Electric options are making their way to larger vehicles too– including buses, semi-trucks, and more (check out Utah-based Nikola Motors with its electric-hydrogen semi-truck!)

Local Examples

This trend is on the rise here in Utah, with government and corporate fleets shifting towards cleaner vehicles. Here are some examples of organizations that are saving money with clean fleets:

  • Salt Lake City: Currently has 57 CNG vehicles, 50 clean diesel trucks, 14 fully electric vehicles, and 117 hybrid electric cars in the city-wide fleet.
  • Park City Transit: Introduced 6 all-electric buses and plans to buy only all-electric moving forward.
  • UTA: Currently using 47 CNG buses and expects to save $10,000 to $13,000 a year in fuel costs per CNG bus that it operates. Planning on releasing 5 all-electric busesin 2018.
  • ACE Recycling: Currently using 88 CNG refuse trucks.
  • Geneva Rock: Currently using 24 CNG cement trucks (90% cleaner than diesel predecessors).
  • Snowbird:Currently exploring alternative fuel options, including biodiesel and providing Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations for guests.
  • UPS: Invested $90 Million in CNG vehicles and infrastructure nationwide.
  • Waste Management: West Jordan and Orem sites are about 65% CNG.  Each new vehicle obtained in these areas will be CNG moving forward. Each CNG vehicle costs about $50,000 more than diesel but the savings in maintenance costs make the vehicles last longer.
  • Momentum Recycling: Has invested in CNG fueling infrastructure for on-site refueling and runs 3 out of 7 recycling trucks on CNG (with a fourth one on the way).

Business Incentives

So how can your business go electric?

  1. Rocky Mountain Power incentivesare offered to Utah non-residential customers and multifamily dwellings to offset the cost of installing charging stations.

Funds are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so take advantage!

Think about how much it costs your business when gas prices spike.

Investing capital in low maintenance electric vehicles is more than a lofty ideal. Utah Clean Cities is here to help you start reducing the dependence on fossil fuels that exposes you to economic risk.  The Rocky Mountain Live Electric offers up to $5,000 to businesses to cover the incremental costs of adding an electric vehicle to fleets.  Plus, the Live Electric grant is offering workshops and ride and drives to help expose Utah business leaders to the joy of going electric and further, offering their employees workplace charging with the Lead Electric program.

Check out the Live Electric Website to see what the grant partners are doing to support the Lead Electric workplace charging program. The decision to start implementing clean strategies helps your employees feel that their company is committed to making Utah a healthier place to live. Utah Clean Cities is here to help you make the switch to cleaner-fueled vehicles.

See the cost savings for yourself

Meanwhile, if you want to crunch numbers for yourself, check out fueleconomy.gov to see side by side comparisons of each vehicle make and model sold in the US. This website is a valuable resource that many organizations use when running a cost-benefit analysis. It has information regarding vehicle smog ratings and fuel economy.

Additional Resources

Salt Lake City recently built out public charging infrastructure this year.

Utah Clean Cities

Live Electric Now

Salt Lake City Green Vehicle parking permit

A new study says that today’s electric vehicles can handle almost 90 percent of all car travel in the U.S.

Where can I charge? 

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Come to Snowbird…together!

Come to Snowbird…together!

Hilary Arens, Director of Sustainability & Water Resources, Snowbird

Since its founding in 1971, Snowbird has welcomed visitors to the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon. As air quality and traffic congestion are of major concerns to us all, Snowbird is committed to finding ways to help reduce the number of cars on the road and emissions in the air while traveling to the resort.

To meet this goal, Snowbird has updated the R.I.D.E. program (Reducing Individual Driving for the Environment) this year by creating a new R.I.D.E. app! R.I.D.E. is an incentive-based tracking and reward program to help influence our guests and employees to travel to the resort by carpool or bus. Rewards include VIP parking, half-priced transferable tickets, Early Ups, and more! Last season, the R.I.D.E. program helped keep 290,000 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere (the equivalent to not consuming 15,000 gallons of gasoline!) while also rewarding hundreds of carpoolers and bus riders with half-priced tickets and early morning untouched powder runs. We hope to increase these numbers this coming season! (The R.I.D.E. app will be available for download late November 2017.)

 

New for this season! Snowbird will introduce free Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations at the Cliff Lodge Parking Structure on Level 2. These charging stations are made possible by partnerships with Utah Leaders for Clean Air, Tesla, and Rocky Mountain Power. Additionally, Snowbird’s fleet added two electric, zero-emissions utility vehicles this past summer.

 

Snowbird continues to provide UTA bus passes to all season pass holders and employees, and will work with UTA to provide frequent and reliable bus service from Salt Lake Valley to Snowbird (https://www.rideuta.com/Rider-Info/UTA-Ski-Service). Additionally, Snowbird continues to offer Canyon Transportation (http://canyontransport.com) vanpool options and provide UTA Rideshare vans for employees.

 

As Snowbird provides a mountain escape adjacent to a major city, we are committed to finding better ways to help people travel here. We hope that the new R.I.D.E. app becomes popular, and that the UTA bus services and EV charging stations are widely-used this winter. Together, we can all help improve the environment as we travel to and around the resort.

About me:

In 2016, I was hired to direct Snowbird’s water resources and environmental programs. Previous to Snowbird, I received a Masters in Watershed Science from Colorado State University and worked at the Utah Division of Water Quality. My husband and I feel grateful to call the Wasatch home for us and our young twins.

The sights and smells of back-to-school are here: new pencils and paper, first-day clothes, and the hint of fall in the air. It’s an exciting time for many kids, parents, and teachers as we enter another year and get back into the school day routine.

And with the return of that familiar routine, we’d like to encourage you to be Idle Free. Whether dropping off the kids or running errands around town, one thing we can all do to improve air quality is to “Turn the Key and Be Idle Free.”

It’s easy. If you’re stopped for more than ten seconds, turn the engine off. Read more

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Idling is gets us nowhere fast!

Idling is gets us nowhere fast!

Ten years ago, my niece came to my mountain home and announced her class was campaigning to stop the dirty old school buses from idling at her Morningside school.  She talked expertly about carbon footprints, asthma, and PM 2.5.  I was getting my first education on the dire effects of idling from a nine year old activist.  Over the last year, I would say I have become an Idle.   My college kids call me the Idle Free Fairy, passing out Idle Free stickers and knocking on idling car windows and asking, reminding, and sometimes retreating from annoyed drivers.

There is almost no reason to idle for while parking, there are exceptions, but there are even better solutions.  Each year American’s burn over 6 million gallons of gas going nowhere—they are simply idling.  Estimates in Utah say that ¼ of our emissions are a result of idling. If you can see something coming out of the tail pipe, its particulate matter and it’s dangerous, especially to developing lungs and vulnerable populations.PM2.5, the tiny particles you can’t often see, lodges in the lungs and crosses the blood barrier.

Read more

Utah Clean Cities Fuels National Discussion on Clean Transportation

By Tammie Bostick-Cooper, Executive Director, Utah Clean Cities

Each year, the Energy Independence Summit hosts various Clean Cities organizations and their stakeholders for a week of congressional networking and education. Utah Clean Cities is a familiar presence at this national event and has traditionally received a warm welcome of support from Utah’s six congressional offices and policy leaders in Washington. This year’s visit proved to be one of the most positive to date.

Alternative Fuels Offer Transportation Solutions

Transportation is one of the most important and complex issues facing our world. We simply have to move away from traditional fossil-fuel burning transportation models. If the science around the effects of burning fossil fuels isn’t enough to convince people, then perhaps a look at $150 billion the U.S. sends to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will help. And that sum doesn’t include the money we send to other countries for their oil.

The Energy Independence Summit urged the Senate Finance Committee to include transportation energy as a priority and asked it to extend critical tax incentives for emerging clean transportation. A long-term extension of these important incentives will stabilize growth-orientated tax strategies for clean transportation, decrease our reliance of imported oil, and create American jobs in clean transportation. Utah’s congressional representatives expressed unanimous support for this proposal.

Utah’s alternative-fuel fleets — with their proven, business-model analysis to back up their success — stand as an example for those considering a shift from imported oil to stateside fuel options. The state’s current alternative-fuel portfolio includes natural gas, propane autogas, bio-fuels and electric, all of which are increasingly generated by renewable and cleaner sources. And as we clean up our electric infrastructure, our electric vehicles become exponentially cleaner and will fit the needs of almost every commuter along the Wasatch Front.

For example, lithium-ion batteries are expected to grow from a $3.2 billion to a $24.1 billion global market share and create new technological jobs along with that growth. There are compressed natural gas (CNG) engines that can boast zero emissions at the tail pipe when fueled by renewable CNG — which is exciting news on the heavy-duty side, as they stand to replace large diesel vehicles on a wide scale. American businesses have embraced and want to continue to use our abundance of natural gas. The U.S. is the largest producer of this fuel in the world, and CNG is one of Utah’s most abundant resources.

Utah Leads the Way with Alternative Fuels

It’s exciting to tell Congress about Utah’s enthusiastic adoption of alternative-fueled vehicles. One can’t help but feel proud of Utah! We are incredibly innovative and energy- independent-minded, and our state has led the way with knowledgeable transportation choices. Our capital city, for example, is one of the most progressive transportation frontrunners in the nation. Salt Lake City is already moving smart technology out in to the streets with CNG refuse haulers and hybrid-fleet cars. All-electric parking-enforcement fleets and new EV chargers for public charging are coming soon.

The best part of being DC was meeting young congressional interns like Grace who hail from Utah

With so many compelling success stories, it’s hard to know where to start! Here are a few Utah companies, cities, and universities that have switched to alternative-fuel vehicles and are glad they did:

  • Geneva Rock’s new fleet of CNG cement mixers are 90 percent cleaner than their diesel predecessors.
  • Diamond Rental uses every alternative-fuel option they can with great success.
  • Park City launched six new all-electric Proterra buses during Sundance.
  • Snowbird is exploring the use of alternative fuels and actively embracing ride-reduction options.
  • Utah State University’s SELECT program is undertaking some of the most advanced research on electric transportation in the world.
  • The University of Utah is heavily engaged in extensive research on air quality and is leading the state though its adoption of campus-wide alternative-fueled transportation with EV WAVE and CNG bus routes, EV charging, and congestion mitigation through public transportation.
  • Smaller companies like Canyon Transport see huge returns on their propane shuttles, and they get the job done in heavy-weather conditions when you wouldn’t want to rely on Uber.

Utah Delegation Supports Energy Independence

It was easy to lead the conversation in D.C. about Utah’s air-quality future, including the specter of too many red-air days and people walking around in masks like they lived in Beijing, China. Regardless of what visitors may think of our smoggy air during the winter tourism season, the more important question is, “What about those of us who work, live and raise our families here?” During my visit, every congressional office expressed their support for finding an answer to that question. The Beehive State wants local choices, local fuels and local action for clean air strategies. The road ahead beckons for the widespread and aggressive adoption of alternative vehicles.

Hands were shaken and congressional leaders asked to be more fully involved with these advanced transportation initiatives. They were undeniably impressed with the fact that every dollar pledged to federal tax-incentives created $12 in growth. That certainly isn’t anything anybody wants to stop, and we asked for five more years of these important incentives.

Utah Clean Cities couldn’t be happier to know it has support for alternative fuels from our representatives in Congress.

Interested in purchasing an alternative-fuel vehicle, but not sure where to start? Visit our Utah Clean Cities website for more information about biodiesel, electric, flex-fuel, hydrogen, natural-gas, and propane vehicles. We also have a list of the alternative-fuel fueling/charging locations across the state if you want to explore whether an alternative-fuel vehicle would meet your transportation needs.

I am the Executive Director of Utah Clean Cities. I’m passionate about clean fuels, clean air, and clean strategies. I am a Utah native and graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in organizational communications. Prior to my work with Utah Clean Cities, I was Executive Director for the Family Support Center of the Uintah Basin, co-founder of the most effective rural children’s justice center in Utah, and worked as an early intervention specialist with the Ute Indian Tribe for the Baby Your Baby tribal program.

As the daughter of a petroleum engineer, I lived the life of the boom-and-bust oil-field cycles. My experiences growing up deepened my commitment to preserving the delicate balance of Utah’s beautiful landscape and abundant resources with alternative, stateside fuels that are economically and ecologically sound and sustainable. I am one of the lead partners on the WestSmart grant with Pacificorp, where I will be developing workplace charging, fleet, and community education. I am also developing a program to promote increased consumer awareness of the new EPA vehicle sticker program and collaborating on the development of a Green Fleet program for Utah. I live in Salt Lake City near my two children who are attending Westminster College. Our family continues to contemplate our years spent in the High Uintahs living in a solar-powered, off-the-grid cabin. My best work to date has been as a mother and teacher.

This entry was originally published on February 27th, 2017, updated on February 27th, 2017, and posted in news.

Vehicle Fuel Awareness Month

This month Utah Clean Cities, members, stakeholders and clean air advocates helped launch the 8th annual Governor’s Declaration for Alternative Fuels Awareness month.  The well-crafted declaration encourages individuals and businesses to adopt cleaner transportation with low and zero emissions. With locally sourced, cleaner alternative fuels which Utah has in abundance: natural gas, propane and electric, Utah is positioned to continue to lead the nation with alternative fuels.   

Our air quality demands more than national positioning and state leadership, it demands thoughtful and active participation with our policy-makers and our citizenry.  We all make choices everyday and now is the time to choose better transportation and alternative fuels and vehicles are crucial to air quality

 

With the expansion of the Alternative Fuel Corridor, Utah’s continued development and expansion of fueling infrastructure is essential.  We have the largest natural gas fueling infrastructure per capita in the nation and propane is gaining it’ place in vehicles in the commercial, carrier (school buses & shuttles) and equipment.  Expansion of electric charging at home, work and in public, will be the next giant step toward zero emissions transportation.  Our progressive cities, universities, National Parks & Monuments and businesses have begun to add green parking and EV Charging.  Their efforts support their own fleets and encourage the use of EV’s for employee passenger cars.  80% of charging happens at home and at work.  With the addition of solar to homes and businesses, transportation can be truly net zero emissions using another abundant resource in Utah, our solar energy.

The declaration further encourages Utahans to take advantage of state and federal tax incentives for vehicle purchases for business fleets and private use.  The incentives have proven to encourage analysis financially and in almost every case, the short and long term benefits are clear and sound.  The important tax incentives add more than good business modeling and sound personal decisions; it directly supports cleaner emissions and hence cleans up our air.  And the high value of clean air, just like clean water, needs the emission reduction model outlined in the governor’s declaration.

Idling Gets Us Nowhere Fast!

by Tammie Bostick Cooper, Executive Director

Students at Jefferson Junior High School decorate Idle-Free signs to remind everybody that their school is an Idle-Free Zone

Students at Jefferson Junior High School in Kearns decorate Idle-Free signs to remind everybody that their school is an Idle-Free Zone

Ten years ago, my niece came to my mountain home and announced her class was campaigning to stop the dirty, old school buses from idling at her Morningside Elementary School.  She talked expertly about carbon footprints, asthma, and PM 2.5.  I was getting my first education on the dire effects of idling from a nine- year-old activist!  Over the last year, I would say I have become an Idle-Free activist, too.  My college kids call me the Idle-Free Fairy, passing out Idle-Free stickers and knocking on idling car windows and asking, reminding, and sometimes retreating from annoyed drivers.

There is almost no reason to idle while parking (there are exceptions). Each year, Americans burn over 6 million gallons of gas going nowhere—they are simply idling.  Estimates in Utah say that one-quarter of our emissions are a result of idling. If you can see something coming out of the tail pipe, it’s particulate matter and it’s dangerous, especially to developing lungs and vulnerable populations.PM2.5, the tiny particles you can’t often see, lodge in the lungs and cross the blood barrier.

This month marks the ninth annual Idle Free in Utah Declaration, signed by the governor and a record 50 Utah Mayors. This is historic, and it shows that Utah leaders do care about Utah’s air. It is plain to see that the simple campaign started by Utah Clean Cities ten years ago is sensible and improves bad air by helping individuals make the choice to turn off their vehicles after ten seconds of parking. Utah school bus drivers have been trained in Idle Free and have a 100 percent Idle-Free busing policy. This year, two major school districts, Granite and Canyons, have declared their campuses 100 percent Idle Free.

Utah Clean Cities works to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and conservation is one of the key educational tools we recommend for reducing consumption through driver awareness.  We encourage the 10-second rule when parked, especially at our schools.  School become hot spots for pollution, where students and teachers literally come face to face with toxic emissions outside and inside their schools.

Students remind us all to Turn the Key, Be Idle Free

Students remind us all to Turn the Key, Be Idle Free

Our current work with the University of Utah, Salt Lake County Health, and a group of pilot schools will soon be getting accurate measurements of the air-pollution levels inside and outside Wasatch Front schools. We have to have a base measurement to begin our real work on improving our air. Science classes will scientifically collect, measure and decipher data. They will become critical thinkers and informed citizenry. The young people I speak with desperately want to be engaged and do something to save their world.  And they can.

The call to stop idling is urgent and everyone can do it.  Turn your own key and be Idle Free. Visit our website to see what your can do at your school to support Idle Free.

26september2016-tammie-cooperI am the Northern Coordinator for Utah Clean Cities, promoting alternative vehicles and clean air strategies like Idle Free. I believe there has never been a more compelling time to be involved with transportation and to answer the urgent call to change our dependence on imported fossil fuels. There are no perfect fuels, but there are practical solutions leading to them.

I grew up ranching and close to nature. I graduated from the University of Utah and worked with children on the Ute Indian Reservation. I raised two bright children in a small, off-the-grid cabin in the high Uintas.  They all live in Salt Lake.  Alexia and Cole attend Westminster College, where they continue to reflect on their childhood.

 

This entry was originally published on September 26th, 2016, updated on November 9th, 2016, and posted in news.