Government in Utah and climate change

Started by Amanda_931, February 13, 2007, 10:57:28 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Maybe not quite what you think.

There are some pretty interesting people in Salt Lake City.  Rocky Anderson, the mayor, in this interview.  Chip Ward for another.

QuoteYour Salt Lake City Green program aimed to reduce the city's greenhouse-gas emissions 21 percent below 2001 levels by 2012 -- the equivalent of Kyoto. How's that going?

We have far exceeded that goal, six years early. We're at 148 percent of our goal -- a 31 percent reduction below 2001 levels.
The goals were for our city operations, our municipal operations; it's not a city-wide figure. The way we accomplished our reductions was primarily through lighting retrofits in public buildings. In our city and county buildings alone, replacing our incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs saved $33,000 a year in electricity. Then we used some of those cost savings to become the state's largest purchaser of wind power.

By doing just those two things alone, we not only saved taxpayers money -- over the long term it will be millions of dollars -- but reduced carbon dioxide emissions by over 1,100 tons. That's because almost all the energy in this area comes from coal-burning power plants.

We retrofitted all of our traffic lights with LED lights. We're constantly converting our diesel fleet over to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, and utilizing alternative fuels whenever possible.
Yeah, the capture and utilization of methane at our wastewater-treatment plant and our landfill have had by far the greatest impact in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. At our landfill, we used to capture the methane and then just flare it off. Now we use it to generate electricity -- that accomplishes a reduction of 17,600 tons of equivalent carbon dioxide a year. We do the same thing at our wastewater-treatment plant through the utilization of a cogeneration plant. There we provide about half the electrical needs of our wastewater-treatment facility.

We're still taking a look at things like groundwater heat transfer, or geothermal heating sources. The more you get into this, the more you realize we really do have the technologies available to make an enormous difference.

After we did our municipal operations -- and again, we did this very consciously, we wanted to be able to say we're walking the talk -- we went to the business community and we set up the E2 Business program. E2 stands for economically and environmentally sustainable. We now have 42 E2 businesses.

We proceeded with the recognition that business owners and managers are focused on their business, not on energy efficiency, recycling, transportation options, all the rest. So we send trained staff or volunteers to these businesses, we inventory what they're doing just like we inventoried our own departments, and we make recommendations for changes they can make, just like we made in our municipal operations. When they agree to a certain level of these changes, they become a recognized E2 business. They get a lot of good publicity out of that. We hear back from a lot of their customers who are very supportive. A lot of them report back that it's good for employee morale -- that employees are really proud to be working for businesses that are engaged in more responsible and sustainable practice.

You're vocal in support of new urbanist principles of dense, walkable community. I joke that two things are most striking about new urbanism: one, how good it sounds, and two, how little of it actually exists. How have you persuaded people to buy in?

We have a corresponding joke, and that is that there are two things people hate: sprawl, and density in their neighborhoods.