“This grant from UCAIR will help us implement a new mobile interface that will improve how participants track the miles they save during the challenge,” said Ryan Evans, the Chamber’s vice president of Business and Community Relations. “Specifically, this new interface will use GPS technology to track miles saved, create a more efficient tracking process and hopefully significantly improve the results of our participants. We are also hopeful to use this new technology to drive more participants to the Challenge in the years to come.”
In 2013, the Chamber assumed management of the Clear the Air Challenge, leading what is considered the most successful year of the program to date. In its fifth year, 8,500 Utahns participated in the month-long campaign to drive less and drive smarter. More than 1.9 million miles and nearly 170,000 vehicle trips were eliminated, resulting in the removal of 1.6 million pounds of emissions from our air. In doing this, upwards of $1.1 million dollars were saved in vehicle costs. Those numbers are significant increases against all other years’ participation.
During the five years of the Clear the Air Challenge, the Challenge has seen approximately 20,000 participants, saved more than seven million miles and eliminated more than 600,000 vehicle trips. This year we aim to improve those numbers further, encouraging businesses, individuals and families to reconsider driving habits to help clear our air.
Utah’s business community and the Salt Lake Chamber consider air quality a top priority. The Chamber is working actively to engage business in helping clean Utah’s air. In addition to the Clear the Air Challenge, the Chamber encourages businesses to participate in the Clean Air Champions program as well as the new Inversion Mitigation Initiative.
In total, UCAIR awarded $350,000 in grants to 13 organizations for funding education, energy/transportation and home retrofit projects to improve air quality. The funding was provided through UCAIR’s Grants program. The 13 organizations receiving UCAIR grant funding were chosen based on the measureable impact their program or project would provide toward reducing emissions at home, in the community and at work.
“UCAIR is focused on educating, encouraging and empowering everyone to take actions that can improve our air quality,” said Ted Wilson, UCAIR executive director. “We recognize that emissions-reducing and energy-efficient technologies are an investment, and our focus with this program is to help bridge the gap between having a great idea and fiscally being able to bring that idea to fruition.
“These 13 grant recipients presented projects and programs that will help to clear our air in both the short- and long-term. It is extremely rewarding to be able to support putting these into action.”
Other UCAIR grant recipients (along with their focus) include:
· Breathe Utah, to change out five wood burning fireplaces in Wasatch Front households
In the Community
· GREENbike, to install a new bike station at 250 S. 300 E., the first in a residential area · KUED, for the documentary “The Air We Breathe” · National Energy Foundation, to support an air quality debating program serving 5,000 students in grades 4 to 9 · Provo City Municipal Council, to develop an educational kit for the city · Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, to support the 2014 Clear the Air Challenge · Salt Lake City Corporation, for its “Smart Trips” bus, bike, and S-Line streetcar program · University of Utah, for development of an air quality video game to be distributed to schools · Utah Clean Cities Coalition, for promoting idle free education · Utah Transit Authority (UTA), for its “Ride Clear” free rider pass program
· Salt Lake County Government, for one electric vehicle charging station and in partnership with the Utah Office of Energy Development, an additional two electric vehicle-charging stations. The three stations will be part of a collaborative effort among the County, the State and private companies. · Utah Clean Energy, to conduct educational clean energy workshops for businesses and prepare Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financial packages for qualifying clean energy building upgrades
This is the inaugural year of the UCAIR Grants program. UCAIR has plans to award additional grants to mid-to-large businesses, government and non-profit organizations in 2014.
Additionally, the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) and in partnership with UCAIR is making grants available for small businesses through its new “Assist” program. These grants – totaling $1.3 million dollars through mid-2015 – will be available for small businesses with fewer than 100 employees to assist them in making federally mandated air-quality adjustments and improvements to reduce emissions. More details about applying for the small business grant will be available on UCAIR.org as the program is established.
UCAIR is a statewide clean air partnership created to make it easier for individuals, businesses and communities to make small changes to improve Utah’s air. Every small change adds to a collective bigger step toward better health, a better economy and better overall quality of life for all of us.