Understanding Utah's Air Quality Challenges

It is imperative that the business community leads in ongoing air quality policy discussions and public awareness efforts in order to retain and attract new businesses and employees and further our state's economy. The Salt Lake Chamber supports voluntary, private sector initiatives to promote efficiency, sustainability and stewardship to improve and preserve our state's spectacular natural environment.

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Inversion

Inversions occur during the winter months when normal atmospheric conditions (cool air above, warm air below) become inverted. Inversions trap a dense layer of cold air under a layer of warm air. The warm layer acts much like a lid, trapping pollutants in the cold air near the valley floor. The warm inversion air layer is usually displaced by a strong storm system which restores air quality to healthy levels.

Area sources

From 2008 to 2014, The Utah Division of Air Quality reported a 7% increase in area source contributions to air pollution while vehicle contributions decreased by 9%. Furthermore, Envision Utah projects that by 2050, homes and businesses will replace vehicles as the primary producers of pollution at 63% while vehicle emissions will reduce to 24%. In order to reduce emissions, businesses will need to work together to reduce their energy consumption while also boosting their building’s energy performance.

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mobile emissions

Mobile emissions are the greatest and perhaps the most visible contributor to local air pollution. From employees commuting to the office to the transportation of goods, businesses, both large and small, and their employees contribute to air pollution and poor air quality. At the same time, the business community can lead the way in helping to improve air quality in Utah by driving less and driving smarter.