Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski has asked the city council to consider an ordinance that she says would dramatically cut back on air pollution. The council will vet the proposal in the coming weeks.
The ordinance would require the owners of large commercial buildings-that is, buildings with more than 25,000 square feet-to regularly measure their energy use and report it to the city annually.
They would do this with the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The free software scores buildings’ energy efficiency from 1 to 100. Any score over 75 is good.
Sophia Nicholas is with the city’s Department of Sustainability. She says the software allows building owners and managers to determine if their buildings need tune-ups or upgrades.
“Because buildings are so large, this actually correlates to significant energy savings, cost savings and air pollution savings,” Nicholas says.
It would be mandatory, but it would be at low or no cost.
“They’re not required to make any sort of capital investments that would be very significant but just even tuning up their systems, which means optimizing when lights turn on and HVAC systems run, even that will improve their score,” Nicholas says.
According to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, area sources like buildings contribute 39 percent of the air pollution in the Salt Lake valley.