Business and Organization Owners and Managers

Top 3

01
Convert vehicle fleet to cleaner vehicles.
02
Develop a sustainability plan with an emphasis on air quality.
03
Offer incentives and resources to encourage employees to commute without a car.

Transportation

Convert your vehicle fleet to cleaner (tier 3) vehicles.

Vehicles with better smog ratings (from 8-10) emit anywhere from 70-100% fewer emissions than most sold in Utah today.[i] These vehicles are commercially available in Utah, so next time you buy a car or truck for your business, ask the dealer about emissions and smog ratings.

Tool: Convert individual vehicle fleets to clean fuel vehicles such as CNG & Electric, and new technology like induction charging.

Vehicle fleets use large amounts of fuel and will make a significant contribution to our air quality when converted to cleaner forms of fuel. Furthermore, companies that take the lead in converting to cleaner fuels will set an industry standard and show clients their sense of social responsibility.

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Case Studies

Promote the use of alternative fuel sources.

Alternative fuels contribute less pollution to our air than petroleum-based fuels.

Tool: Improve the network of charging stations.

In recent years, electric vehicle sales have jumped tremendously. In 2014, approximately 119,710 electric vehicles were sold in the United States in 2014, representing a 23% increase from 2013 and a 128% from 2012. Although electric vehicle sales represented less than one percent of car sales in 2014, in just a few years their availability, reliability, and affordability has greatly increased and these trends will likely continue.

Case Studies

Tool: Emphasize natural gas use for heavy vehicles, like buses and trucks.

For heavy vehicles, natural gas can be a cost-effective and clean alternative to diesel. Natural gas produces fewer carbon and non-carbon emissions per gram than diesel.[iii]

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Increase year-round transit utilization.

Making it more convenient for Provo residents to access public transit will result in a decrease of private vehicular use and the associated emissions which pollute our air.

Tool: Provide UTA’s current Eco Pass program to your employees.

UTA’s Eco Pass program is “a company-sponsored annual transit pass employees can use to ride the train or the bus to commute to work and also for personal transportation”.[iv] The Eco Pass saves companies money by cutting the cost of parking fees, cutting back on real estate costs, and providing tax credits.

Tool: Implement “Parking Cash Out” programs in the workplace.

Parking cash out is “a commuter benefit in which an employer offers employees the option to accept taxable cash income instead of a free or subsidized parking space at work.”[v] If an employee is given the choice between cash or a parking spot, they will often choose the cash option and carpool, take public transportation, walk, or bike to work.

Promote active transportation in your workplace.

People are unlikely to bike or walk if it is inconvenient. Making active transportation a business or organizational priority shows your commitment to cleaning our air.

Tool: Provide end of trip facilities (such as changing rooms or showers) for bicyclists and pedestrians at places of employment or at shared locations in dense employment areas.

Commuters who bicycle or walk to work can often arrive wet, muddy or sweaty. In order to make walking or cycling to work viable for many employees, showers and changing facilities (either on-site or close to work) are a necessary amenity.

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Case Study

  • Public-Private Partnership to provide bike commuter amenities, Indianapolis. Indy Bike Hub The Indy Bike Hub is a partnership between the City of Indianapolis, the YMCA, and Bicycle Garage Indy (a local bike shop). Situated on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, the Bike Hub provides an ideal location for downtown employees to shower, change and store their bicycles. Other amenities such as a full service bike shop and exercise gym are also present on-site. http://indybikehub.org/

Office Space

Upgrade your office space to be low-emission.

Emissions from buildings are a major source of air pollution. New technologies and energy saving practices will reduce energy costs and help clear our air.

Tool: Apply for a UCAIR Air Assist Grant (for small businesses).

UCAIR’s Air Assist Grant for small businesses provides financial assistance in making upgrades to equipment to reduce emissions and improve air quality.[vi]

Adopt policies and plans that encourage employees to change their behavior to benefit our air quality.

Most people who live and work in Provo are concerned with air quality and want to do something about it. Businesses and organizations can facilitate their actions by adopting policies that remove barriers to change.

Tool: Encourage teleworking, compressed work weeks, and flex hours for public employees/other employees, particularly on poor air quality days.

Teleworking takes cars off the road altogether by permitting people to work from home.[vii] Flextime refers to having a variable work schedule. Variability in the work schedule would enable commuters to drive during off-peak hours, reducing traffic congestion and its inefficiencies.

Tool: Change office dress codes and adjust thermostat accordingly.

Over-cooling an office in the summer and over-heating in the winter results in an unnecessary use of energy. Encouraging employees to dress appropriately in the winter and summer allows for reduced energy consumption and therefore cleaner air in our city.

Tool: Develop a sustainability plan for your business or organization with an emphasis on air quality and review the plan annually.

Sustainability is becoming an almost ubiquitous goal among business and organization leaders. A plan that has specific goals for improving air quality will help lead your business or organization toward more responsible practices.

Resource

Improve energy efficiency of data centers and information systems facilities.

Data centers and information systems facilities require substantial amounts of energy. Data centers that are designed for maximum energy efficiency minimize negative air quality impacts.

Tool: Measure the energy use of data centers and information systems facilities.

Understanding energy use is the first step in improving efficiency. Utilizing multiple measurement tools will give data center managers a more complete picture of how their facilities are using energy and help them determine a starting point for increasing energy efficiency. Investments in such processes will pay off over time as energy costs decrease.

Resources

Tool: Outfit buildings with control systems that integrate, automate, and optimize a buildings multiple systems in order to reduce overall energy consumption.

Building control systems monitor, manage, and adjust a building’s environment and performance. Building control systems are designed to satisfy occupant needs while reducing energy waste.

Resource

Tool: Identify and pursue the most cost-effective strategies for improving the energy efficiency of data centers.

Government and non-government organizations have produced multiple resources that assist IT professionals in improving the energy efficiency of their facilities.

Resources

Case Study

Tool: Consider adopting a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy and increasing remote connectivity for employees.

BYOD encourages employees to use their personal electronic devices for work purposes. Most employees own devices that meet the technology needs for their work related duties, and creating BYOD systems reduces the number of devices that need to be powered and serviced. Connecting BYOD efforts with increased remote connectivity also makes telecommuting or working from home more feasible, which cleans our air by reducing vehicle trips to and from workplaces.

Tool: Invest in power management technology.

Proactive power management systems cut energy consumption by revealing baseline energy usage for computer fleets and then turning the fleet off when not needed. Some systems can cut energy consumption by 60 percent.

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Education and Outreach

Healthcare providers: promote awareness of the negative health impacts of poor air quality.

Healthcare providers have a unique and important role to play in educating the public on the effects of air quality.

Tool: Implement a public health campaign on the health effects of air quality targeted at specific at-risk groups.

In order to make smart choices about improving the air, the public should know the risks of poor air quality. A public information campaign, particularly one targeted at at-risk groups, like children, women who are pregnant, the elderly, anyone with heart disease, etc., could be effective at motivating everybody to help clean the air.

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Tool: Instruct physicians to talk to their patients about how air quality can impact their health and what preventative measures they can take.

Physicians can address specific concerns patients might have about their situational risks to poor air quality. This could be a powerful tool in conjunction with a wider public health effort.

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Educate the public about air quality issues and how they can help clean the air.

Businesses and organizations have a strong influence on public opinion and behavior. Responsible businesses should inform their customers and clients about how their behavior impacts air quality.

Tool: Post materials in your office promoting responsible behavior that contributes to good air quality.

Beginning with this toolkit, there are plenty of great resources to share with your employees about air quality and what they can do to improve it.

Resources

Develop departmental sustainability plans.

Each department in your organization has a key role to play in cleaning our air, and it has expertise on how to make an impact. Develop a method for tracking and measuring progress, and for annual review.

Tool: Develop an Information Systems sustainability plan with an emphasis on air quality.

The Information Systems Division has a key role to play in cleaning our air, and it has expertise on how to make an impact. While this sustainability plan may be as far-reaching as considering proper recycling and disposal of old equipment, consider in particular the roles you might fulfill in cleaning the air. Develop a method for tracking and measuring progress, and for annual review.

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[i] http://yourutahyourfuture.org/strategies/cornerstone-two

[ii] EPA’s new Fuel Economy and Efficiency label. https://www3.epa.gov/carlabel/

[iii] http://www.actresearch.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ACT_NGP.pdf

[iv] http://www.rideuta.com/mc/?page=RidingUTA-PayingYourFare-DiscountPrograms-EcoPass

[v] http://www.bestworkplaces.org/pdf/ParkingCashout_07.pdf

[vi] http://www.ucair.org/grants-loans/air-assist-grant/

[vii] https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/telecommutings-hidden-environmental-benefits/