How to Help
How we get around can have a huge impact on air quality. Our emissions are primarily driven by what we drive and how much we drive. Here’s what you can do to help:
For every mile we don't drive, our air gets a little bit cleaner. There are many ways to drive less- walking, biking, taking transit, telecommuting, carpooling, and more. Driving less can also save you money and improve your emotional and physical health. Working from home has been gaining popularity and may offer other benefits such as improved productivity.
For the average Utahn, filling up with Tier 3 gasoline could eliminate 2.8 pounds of pollutant emissions annually. Combine Tier 3 gas with a clean new car, and you can eliminate 80% of your car's emissions! Tier 3 fuel doesn't cost any more money and is available at all octane levels; all you have to do is chose a gas station that supplies Tier 3 fuel.
When you're shopping for a car, get the one with the highest smog rating that works for your needs. While federal regulations have made all new cars cleaner, paying attention to the smog rating can help you improve air quality even more. A smog rating 5 car emits 20.1 fewer pounds of pollutants per year than Utah’s average car, and an electric or other zero-tailpipe-emissions car (smog rating 10) emits even less: 21.8 fewer pounds than the average car.
Turning your ignition off can improve air quality locally and regionally due to the outsized impact of idling as a source of emissions when compared to running a vehicle in motion. If you are parked for more than 10 seconds, it is more efficient to turn your engine off.
Power chips can bypass your trucks built in emissions controls and release unnecessary air pollution.
How to help
Buildings are a key source of emissions. Strategies to reduce our energy use have the added benefits of saving money and greenhouse gas emissions!
Every home is different, but improving the insulation, doors, or windows to reduce natural gas use by 20% would reduce the average Utahn’s emissions by 0.8 pounds. Weatherization can also save you money on your utility bills and improve the overall comfort of your home.
Space heating is likely responsible for the majority of your utility bill (and emissions) during the winter months. When it's time to replace your home heating system, upgrading to a 95 percent efficient furnace can eliminate 1.14 pounds of pollutant emissions, compared to a standard furnace. Duel-fuel heat pump technology can be even more efficient, saving 3.1 pounds of emissions per year per home.
Installing more efficient water heaters can reduce emissions to clean the air and significantly lower utility bills.
Lowering your thermostat by just a degree or two in the winter can help save the air and your wallet. If we all do our part this can help to significantly reduce emissions. You may find that wearing a sweater or snuggling under a blanket is just as comfortable!
The average wood burning household in Utah emits 53.4 pounds of pollutants per year. For homes where wood burning is not the primary heat source, not burning during inversions can be one of the biggest and easiest things you can do to clean the air.
The gold standard in clean buildings are Zero Net Energy (ZNE) homes. ZNE homes incorporate weatherization, upgraded heating systems, renewable energy, and more to minimize emissions. Click the infographic to explore the energy saving potential of each strategy. What would it take to make your home Zero Net Energy?
how to help
There are more ways to help the air than just clean travel and clean buildings.
Using renewable energy sources may improve our local air quality and can significantly reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.
WITH ELECTRIC MODELS
Running a gas mower for an hour can produce the same amount of emissions as idling 11 new cars for an hour. When replacing your mower, snowblower, or other yard equipment, consider purchasing an electric model.
Working with local governments and employers to create communities where driving is optional and homes and vehicles are low emissions can have just as much impact as our personal actions. Check out the "businesses" and "governments" pages to learn what they can do to help.
Many old gas cans people have in their garage allow vapors that create smog to escape from the can, even when it is closed. New gas cans mitigate and eliminate many of these issues.
Wildfires are a top air quality concern in the summer and can lead to extremely poor air quality. Be careful with sparks, open flames, and fireworks, especially around fuel sources such as dry brush.