Facilities Management Take First in Clear the Air Challenge

Clear-the-air

Under the leadership of Associate Vice President Mike Perez, 130 Facilities Management employees participated in the statewide Clear the Air Challenge and took first place in the team category. Collectively, Facilities Management eliminated 7,515 trips, a total of 62,792 miles.

Campus wide, 522 employees participated in the challenge and saved a total of 19,309 trips. Facilities Management made up 38 percent of those savings.

If all drivers residing along the Wasatch Front were to park their cars and take alternative forms of transportation just one day a week, vehicle emissions would be reduced by 6,500 tons per year, according to the Utah Division of Air Quality.

Facilities Management bolstered participation in the program through a promotional campaign, Mike on a Bike. Employees were encouraged to exceed the number of trips Perez saved during the month of July. He saved 66 trips, but was beat by a number of Facilities Management employees. Perez was notably surpassed by Jason Garf, who saved 196 trips and was recognized by the Salt Lake Chamber as Most Consistent (bronze level), and Kenny Frisch, who saved 461 trips. Employees who tracked miles also participated in a lunch pizza party hosted by Perez. Facilities Management has a long history of focusing on environmentally responsible and sustainable choices.

  • In 1997, the university switched from coal to natural gas in its lower campus high-temperature water plant, reducing particulate matter emissions by 63.3 tons annually and sulfur dioxide emissions by 202.90 tons per year.
  • Created in 2007, the Office of Sustainability, a division of Facilities Management, develops and provides support for sustainability initiatives in order to create a culture of socially, economically and environmentally responsible students, faculty and staff.
  • In 2011, the replacement of a major portion of the high-temperature water infrastructure resulted in nearly 20 percent reduction in waste and accompanying emissions for that section of campus.
  • The 2008 campus master plan includes millions of square feet of new building space to meet university needs and the growth in the student population. The university’s recent adoption of high-performance building standards, ongoing investments in efficiency and a new co-generation unit for the high-temperature plant has already resulted in significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than projected under the business-as-usual scenario in the 2010 climate action plan.
  • As part of the University of Utah’s goal to increase efficiency and reduce emissions, the university recently accepted an invitation to join the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge (http://www4.eere.energy.gov/challenge/), committing to an energy use reduction goal of 20 percent by 2020. This efficiency goal correlates directly with the greenhouse gas reduction goals in the Climate Action Plan.

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Shireen Ghorbani