University

Top 3 Strategies

01
Continue to convert vehicle fleet to cleaner, tier 3 vehicles.
02
Build on BYU's past successes in LEED building certification, energy efficiency, and low emission renovations.
03
Encourage students, faculty, and staff to walk, bike, and take public transportation (including The Ryde) to and from school.

BYU is an important part of Provo and the greater Utah Valley community. In addition to being a major employer and an engine for innovation, it is also a leader in sustainability. To learn more about what BYU has already been doing to improve air quality in Utah, save energy, and more, check out BYU’s sustainability page: http://sustainability.byu.edu/

Administrators

Continue to convert BYU’s vehicle fleet to cleaner, Tier 3 vehicles.

BYU’s vehicle fleet includes sedans, vans, four-wheel drive vehicles, box trucks and various diesel vehicles. When BYU purchases new vehicles, it buys “50 State Emissions” vehicles, which means the vehicles meet advanced emissions standards in every state. Recently BYU replaced its BYU Broadcasting semi-trailer truck with a newer model that also meets all state emissions standards, including California’s standards.

BYU has also been proactive in participating in the Heavy-Duty Highway Diesel Standard program as it replaces older diesel vehicles. This standard is the latest available, and these vehicles have emissions comparable to some CNG vehicles. For example, the BYU Garbage Truck was recently replaced with a new garbage truck that meets new diesel standards.

BYU has also updated all four of its loaders to have the most recent emissions standards, and commits to keep its loaders at the highest standards.

By 2017, the 50-State standard will roll out nationwide. This program is referred to as Tier 3 standards. Tier 3 standards are the latest standards issued by the EPA. They emit 70% less than our current Tier 2 vehicle fleet due to technological advances in the exhaust and emissions systems in the cars. Vehicles that meet the Tier 3 standards have a smog rating of 8 or higher, which can be found on the window sticker of all new cars sold. Converting BYU’s large vehicle fleet to these high technologies will remove significant emissions from the Utah Valley air shed.[i]

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Tool: Continue to convert vehicle fleet (e.g. maintenance vehicles, buses) to clean fuel vehicles such as electric, and other new technologies like fuel cells.

Converting vehicles can save money and emissions. BYU is already participating in programs that offer the cleanest options for gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. The university can look into the feasibility of new technologies and fuel sources as they become commercially available. CNG is particularly effective with larger vehicles, while electric may be more practical in smaller vehicles.

Resources

Case Studies

Tool: Improve the network of charging stations at and near the university.

A convenient network of electric charging stations facilitates and even incentivizes the use of zero tailpipe emission vehicles. Work with the city, donors, and the university board to build charging stations near campus. In just the last few years, electric vehicle availability, reliability, and affordability has greatly increased and should continue to do so.

Resource

Case Studies

  • Utah Paperbox EV Charging Stations. Utah Paperbox (UPB) in Salt Lake City installed five electric vehicle charging stations. UPB worked in a partnership with Utah Clean Cities and received American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to support the station installation. http://www.afdc.energy.gov/case/1569
  • Pacific Gas and Electric EV Charging Stations, California. Pacific Gas and Electric has been approved to build 25,000 EV charging stations in California to help the state reach its mandate to reduce emissions by 80% below 1990s levels by 2050. The energy used at these charging stations will be bought by service providers from PG&E and then re-sold to drivers. http://www.pge.com/en/myhome/saveenergymoney/pev/index.page

Improve transit ridership by providing incentives and increasing accessibility to transit.

Many students and faculty already share trips through both The Ryde system and public transportation. By implementing programs and incentives, the University could increase that ridership and remove cars from the road, particularly during inefficient, congested commute hours.

Tool: Offer students and staff a bike share program.

Bike sharing allows people to use a bike to get to and from the bus stop without the stress of bicycle maintenance.

Tool: Offer bundled bike share and transit passes.

Offering a bike share pass coupled with transit passes helps employees and students maximize public transportation. The first and last miles—from home to the bus stop, and from the bus stop to work—could be covered on bike, thereby facilitation commutes without a personal vehicle.

Tool: Continue to expand The Ryde and regularly evaluate routes to ensure maximum efficiency and reach.

The Ryde helps improve Provo's air quality by reducing the need for BYU students to use cars for daily transportation needs. Continuing to evaluate how The Ryde can be most effective (like the new Grocery Runs) will further improve the air quality in Provo. 

Tool: Coordinate with UTA for shorter wait times during peak school commute hours.

Faculty and some older students may use public transportation to get to school. Work with UTA to shorten the wait time for these groups during peak commute hours. Football games, basketball games, concerts, and other on-campus events also increase congestion in Provo that could be reduced through coordinated planning with UTA.  

Tool: Work with UTA to expand Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) or potentially expand light rail in long-term Provo transportation plans.

As Bus Rapid Transit comes to University Avenue, 700 N, and 900 E in Provo, allow stops near campus, and right of way where necessary to ensure that BYU students and staff can take full advantage of convenient public transportation. Press for further expansion to communities north and south of Provo. Coordinate with UVU and other major hubs to make public transportation a quick, convenient option for Utah Valley—connecting jobs with centers of innovation, housing, retail, recreation, church, and civic sites.

Tool: Implement a university Parking Cash Out Program.

Parking Cash Out is a program in which an employer offers employees the option to accept cash instead of a free or subsidized parking space at work.[ii] 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.

Resource

Tool: Build no more parking than is needed on a regular basis.

As using public transit, walking, and biking become more popular, repurpose parking space to better uses. Work with the city to reduce minimum parking standards. Build only minimum parking necessary for BYU facilities to preserve land for higher value uses, and minimize the distance required to travel to and between buildings. [iii]

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Tool: Evaluate pricing for student parking passes and use funds to facilitate other modes of transportation.

The estimated value of the free-parking subsidy to cars was at least $127 billion in the US in 2002. BYU already charges for student parking. Evaluate what the best price point for this pass would be, and use the proceeds to fund projects which would facilitate other modes of transportation for students, staff, and university visitors.

Resources

Tool: Encourage teleworking, compressed work week, flex hours for employees, particularly on poor air quality days.

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. Teleworking takes cars off the road altogether by permitting people to work from home.

Coordinate with Provo City to extend BYU’s well-connected bicycle and pedestrian system into surrounding neighborhoods.

BYU has developed a well-connected bicycle and pedestrian system on campus and the proximity of BYU contracted housing (within a 2-mile radius of campus) makes walking and biking an easy choice for undergraduates. Pedestrian bridges, abundant bike racks, and direct sidewalk routes encourage active transportation which helps clean Provo’s air. Beyond campus, students, faculty and other commuters are sometimes hesitant to use active transportation to get to work or school because they feel it is unsafe, and the sidewalk and bike lane networks are not continuous or well-maintained. It is important to develop complete alternative transportation networks in order for them to be useful and used by commuters. These networks should emphasize navigational simplicity and connecting key neighborhoods, destinations, and transit.

Tool: Offer end-of-trip facilities, such as changing rooms or showers, for school bicyclists and pedestrians.

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

Resource

Case Studies

  • Indy Bike Hub, Indiana. 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/
  • GreenLink Bike Share, Greenville, South Carolina. GreenLink assisted the city in striping bike lanes and started a bike locker rental program that included eight bike lockers in four downtown locations. By 2016 GreenLink plans to install 40 more lockers. http://www.greenvillesc.gov/1089/Multimodal

Tool: Coordinate with the city to ensure connectivity of trails, bikeways, and pedestrian facilities to campus.

Connectivity is a key to making biking and walking convenient. The university should be well connected to surrounding neighborhoods so that students can easily find their way to school without crossing or walking along unsafe busy streets, or being forced to walk along unprotected. Connectivity standards should include coordination among different departments to encourage connectivity between destinations. Work with the city to ensure new development or redevelopment requires designated bikeways. Street networks should be designed to ensure connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists. [iv]

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Resource

Tool: Ensure that active transportation is measured and appropriately valued within overall campus planning metrics.

As campus plans are drafted, ensure that bicycle parking, miles of pathways, bicycle lockers, and other metrics are included and considered.

Tool: Locate buildings and their front doors on the street or on major campus footpaths.

Accessible buildings will promote walking and cycling.

Upgrade energy efficiency of facilities.

The best way to save the university money while cutting emissions is to upgrade its buildings. Improving insulation, swapping windows and doors, insulating ducts and pipes, and upgrading furnaces, water heaters, AC units and other appliances all save energy. In addition to energy efficiency, some appliances, like water heaters, already have ultra-low emission alternatives to market standards. They consume the same amount of energy, but emit 70% less, and the upgrade cost is minimal. Consider these options as district buildings are upgraded. Special financing may be available. [v]

BYU currently has three LEED, (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings on campus: The Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center, The BYU Broadcasting Building and the Information Technology Building. That said, every building on campus built in the last 10 years meets LEED certification requirements, having been built according to LEED specifications and recommendations.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) describes LEED as an “internationally recognized green building certification system that provides third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.”

BYU is also committed to energy efficiency and energy savings in building and construction. One highly successful energy reduction measure is improved building envelope technology, which reduces air flow through traditional energy loss spots (between roofs and walls) by adding an additional specialized membrane over the building insulation. This helps by keeping the conditioned air inside the building and keeping out the unconditioned outside air.

Building wraps have significantly cut down on energy costs, as has the university’s campus-wide energy monitoring system. A complex computer program monitors the performance of energy usage in every single campus building, allowing technicians to adjust or make repairs when unexpected energy spikes occur. As part of this system, BYU employs a Building Automation System with room sensors and variable frequency drives that can adjust energy settings or turn off lights automatically when they are no longer in use. An additional energy reduction technique BYU employs is to use larger windows that allow in more natural light. Indoor lighting accounts for 20 to 50 percent of total buildings consumption.

Thanks to energy efficiency improvements, over the last few years, BYU has reduced natural gas consumption by approximately 50% and electrical cooling consumption by 30%. This equates to thousands of dollars in annual energy savings. As buildings overtake cars as the primary source of emissions in Utah, innovations like these will become increasingly important to cut back on emissions.

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Tool: Apply for grants and loans for clean air improvements.

UCAIR and other entities offer grants and low-interest loans for organizations interested in improving air quality in Utah.

Resource

Tool: Consider designating an energy efficiency supervisor.

Energy efficiency is a great way to both save money for the university and cut emissions. Tasking someone with this important responsibility is the first step toward saving district funds and cutting emissions.

Tool: Change office dress codes and adjust thermostat accordingly.

Some staff are required to wear wool suits and ties to work. By eliminating these standards, particularly during summer ozone spikes, you can create a more comfortable work environment for all employees and raise the thermostat in summer.

Case Study

Work to ensure Best Available Control Techology (BACT) Standards, lowering BYU’s on-campus high-capacity water heater and chilled water plant emissions.

BYU operates a high-capacity boiler for campus wide heating needs. This plant will soon shift to a co-generation plant to capitalize on the efficiencies of power generation with campus heating and cooling. The new co-generation plant meets BACT standards set by the EPA to ensure low emissions. Continue coordinating with the DAQ and make efforts to ensure this plant has the lowest possible emissions profile.

Allocate resources for clean air projects.

Ensure that there are sufficient funds for projects that improve air quality. This is an investment in Utah’s future.

Tool: Apply for grants and loans for clean air improvements across the university.

UCAIR and other entities offer grants and low-interest loans for organizations interested in improving air quality in Utah.

Resource

Tool: Consider designating an energy efficiency supervisor.

Energy efficiency is a great way to both save money for the university, and cut emissions. Tasking someone with this important responsibility is the first step toward saving university funds and cutting emissions.

Refine the university sustainability plan to an emphasize air quality within each department.

A university-wide sustainability plan puts all colleges and departments on the same page when it comes to sustainability. Make air quality a common goal of the university, and allow for individual departments or colleges to find creative solutions or strategies that work for them. Update this plan regularly, and implement tools to measure progress. BYU’s Sustainability Director or some other manager can be appointed to supervise.

Tool: Consider hiring a university sustainability manager.

A dedicated professional assigned to the role of University Sustainability Manager (or Chief Sustainability Officer, Director of Sustainability, etc.) could help ensure long-term continuity in the university’s sustainability efforts. A sustainability manager would support the Sustainability Committee in their assigned duties and also be responsible for fundraising and grant applications.

Resources

Tool: Establish a review mechanism for the sustainability plan.

Within the sustainability plan, ensure that metrics are established to measure progress and course correct as the plan is re-evaluated over the years. Ensure that the most highly leveraged strategies receive special attention and special review.

Tool: Encourage each college to develop its own sustainability plan in conjunction with the university-wide plan.

Each college can adapt the university plan with specific goals associated suited for the needs and abilities of the college. Departments can follow suit.

Tool: Ensure that active transportation is measured and appropriately valued within overall campus planning metrics.

As campus plans are drafted, ensure that bicycle parking, miles of pathways, bicycle lockers, and other metrics are included and considered.

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.

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.

Resource

Professors

Change your own commuting habits.

Consider what adjustments would need to be made in order to change your commute. Could you carpool with neighbors who work near by the school, or with colleagues? Is there a bus route near your house? Could you bike or walk? If any of these are possible, minimize trips in your own vehicle.

Tool: Take public transportation whenever possible.

Many daily commutes in cars could easily be replaced with public transportation, removing cars from the road, emissions from the air, and freeing up your commute time toward more valuable pursuits.

Resource

Tool: Bike or walk to work.

Biking and walking to work is both the cleanest and healthies way to commute.

Tool: Carpool whenever possible.

Most vehicles travel with just a single occupant. By taking trips together with colleagues, neighbors, and family members, we collectively remove thousands of vehicles from the road, and emissions from the air.

Resources

Tool: Avoid idling.

Locales such drive-thrus, schools, truck stops etc., can be particularly vulnerable to large concentrations of PM2.5 and precursor emissions. Turning your ignition off would 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.

Resources

Discuss air quality along the Wasatch Front with students.

Where appropriate, design a course curriculum which instructs students on the basics of air quality in Utah. This can be incorporated into a variety of majors and courses of study, including but not limited to economics, chemistry, public health, geography, and engineering.

Tool: Educate students on the outsized impact of wood burning on air quality.

One wood burning stove emits the same as 90 SUVs. Many Utah residents do not yet understand the enormous impact of wood burning. Helping students understand this will help our communities to avoid burning wood during temperature inversions.

Resource

Tool: Educate students on clean fuels and clean cars.

Many people do not understand that what we put in our cars can profoundly impact air quality. Tier 3 fuels contain less sulfur than Tier 2 fuel which Utah currently uses (10 ppm vs. 30 ppm). This sulfur when it combusts emits an important precursor gas to the PM2.5 pollution we see in the winter. Likewise, a Tier 3 vehicle fleet will emit fewer emissions than a similar Tier 2 fleet, with a negligible price per vehicle cost increase. Cars sold in Utah have an average smog rating of 6. Increasing that average to a Smog Rating of 8 would remove 70% of our vehicle emissions. Taken together, fuels and vehicles are the fastest way to improve air quality in Utah, and students should learn about them.

Students and staff should be aware of BYU’s existing efforts to buy the cleanest available gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles available. Advocate for students and faculty to follow the university’s lead where feasible.

Resource

Tool: Educate students on the risks of air pollution.

Air pollution has profound effects on our health, and also our local economy. Educate students about the risks, such as heart disease and upper respiratory issues, in public health and economics classes.

Resources

Tool: Educate students on the changing sources of emissions.

Along the Wasatch Front, more than half of all emissions come from cars. However, in the future, as we double the population, cars will get cleaner and emissions from homes will become the dominant source of emissions. Teach students about this shift and how small, inexpensive changes to water heaters, furnaces, and insulation can reduce their household emissions footprint. [vi]

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Resource

Tool: Educate students on the benefits of taking the bus.

Buses save trips, and saving trips is the best way to remove emissions.

Resource

Tool: Educate students on Utah’s unique geography and its impacts on air quality.

Mountains along the Wasatch Front provide water by capturing snowfall, but also capture air. Temperature inversions are an inevitable condition of living in Utah’s mountain basins. We can’t control temperature inversions, but we can control what we fill them with, so air quality matters even more here than it does in other locations across the United States. Likewise, ozone is more prevalent at higher altitudes across the west, so summer pollution is also linked to Utah’s unique geography.

Resources

Invite students to clean the air through coursework, projects, and assignments.

Course curriculum can reinforce clean air activities. Consider developing a curriculum that includes activities designed to reinforce these behaviors at home.

Tool: Expand the college of engineering’s Electric Vehicle challenge to include high school students from the area.

BYU has already had great success with its electric vehicle competitions. Consider partnering with local high schools to give opportunities to younger students to learn about electric vehicles.

Case Study

  • An Electric Vehicle Challenge in the eastern United States engages high school students in building full-size and small scale plug-in electric vehicles and learning associated skills. http://www.evchallengekids.org/about/

Tool: Invite students to walk or bike to their daily destinations.

Many students already walk to school. For those that don’t, challenge them to walk to school. For those that do, challenge them to walk to the grocery store, to church, to visit friends, etc. rather than driving for a semester or more.

Resource

Tool: Invite students to turn down their thermostat at home.

Lowering your thermostat might not seem like much, but if every Utahn lowered their thermostat in the winter, we could collectively keep thousands of tons of emissions out of the air.

Resources

Research air quality in Utah.

Undertaking meaningful research is among the best ways to advance the dialogue on clean air and refine the tools and methods we have to eliminate emissions. It can also generate economic growth around clean air industries in Provo and Utah Valley.

Tool: Research new technology and methods to improve air quality.

New technology with cars in particular has drastically reduced emissions already along the Wasatch Front. Household technologies, further advances in vehicle emissions technologies, and other new adaptations can substantially reduce emissions further for the future.

Tool: Research effective policy and implementation mechanisms for improving air quality.

What are the most effective methods for helping Utah residents adopt new behaviors that will improve air quality? What are the most effective ways to educate Utahns on the risks of poor air quality? What are the most effective methods for implementing policy which will alter urban form to allow for fewer and shorter vehicle trips? Answers to these questions will help us to better understand policy implementation.

Tool: Research the health consequences of exposure to poor air quality.

Better understanding the risks of poor air quality can help us inform Utahns on the risks of poor air quality.

Tool: Research the economic costs of poor air quality on Utah.

Assessing the overall economic impact of poor air quality on the region and on the state can help policy makers make better informed decisions on air quality policy.

Tool: Research means to improve financial feasibility of businesses to adopt technology and methods that clean the air.

Assessing the cost and the cost savings of the tools in this toolkit, and of new tools yet to be developed can help us weigh the benefits of improved air quality against costs, and target benefits to adopt the best tools.

Students

Change your own commuting habits.

Consider what adjustments would need to be made in order to change your commute. Could you carpool with neighbors who work near by the school, or with colleagues? Is there a bus route near your house? Could you bike or walk? If any of these are possible, minimize trips in your own vehicle.

Tool: Take public transportation whenever possible.

Many daily commutes in cars could easily be replaced with public transportation, removing cars from the road, emissions from the air, and freeing up your commute time toward more valuable pursuits.

Resource

Tool: Bike or walk to school.

Biking and walking to work is both the cleanest and healthies way to commute.

Tool: Carpool whenever possible.

Most vehicles travel with just a single occupant. By taking trips together with colleagues, neighbors, and family members, we collectively remove thousands of vehicles from the road, and emissions from the air.

Resources

Tool: Avoid idling.

Locales such drive-thrus, schools, truck stops etc., can be particularly vulnerable to large concentrations of PM2.5 (particulate matter) and precursor emissions. Turning your ignition off would 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.

Resources

Start a clean air dialogue on campus with students and faculty.

Ideas emanate from universities. An informed, clean air dialogue can begin with BYU and spread to the rest of the great Wasatch.

Tool: Establish a BYUSA sanctioned student group to advocate for air quality.

A group dedicated to air quality could advocate with students for best practices on improved air quality. In partnership with professors in public health, recreation, and others, it could help advance the dialogue on campus, and offer opportunities to students who want to get involved.

Tool: Coordinate across student clubs and associations that might have interest in improving air quality in Utah.

Work with the school and local government to develop bike lanes and sidewalks with monitored crosswalks on major pathways to schools. Ensure that schools are accessible, and sited in neighborhoods that encourage walkability, avoiding major arterials without sidewalks or services to comfortably accommodate pedestrians.

Resource

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

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

[iii] Ted Knowlton, Wasatch Front Regional Council.

[iv] Pedestrian and bicyclist connectivity from City of Davis, California. http://cityofdavis.org/home/showdocument?id=4809

[v] Shows U.S. Housing emissions by tons of CO2 per capita for different uses. Appliances and heating are the largest CO2 emitters. http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/how-do-we-use-electricity

[vi] Data from Heart + Mind Strategies 2010 Survey.