What We’re Doing
Although climate change is considered a global crisis and impacts the security of the world’s nations, many of the natural resource, public health and infrastructure impacts associated with climate change are being addressed on a local community level.
Through a variety of efforts, including policy action, designing efficient buildings, implementing sustainable infrastructure, and managing alternative fuel fleets, Salt Lake City is working to plan for and mitigate the impacts of climate change on our community.
Executive Orders, Ordinances, and Resolutions
Comprehensive Energy Management Executive Order (View Document)
In 2015, the City enacted the Comprehensive Energy Management Executive Order to identify and require the implementation of energy management best practices for large facilities and buildings. Benchmarking of the energy consumption of all City facilities 3,000 square-feet or larger is required on an annual basis.
The Order addresses all aspects of City operations that require the use of electricity, natural gas or other energy resources in order to operate buildings, facilities or other fixed assets. Through implementation, Salt Lake City Corporation will reduce energy waste and better ensure the responsible use of City resources. By using less energy and simultaneously deploying clean, renewable energy resources the City will mitigate pollution associated with regional air quality issues and cross-cutting challenges such as climate change.
Sustainable Infrastructure Executive Order (View Document)
On January 12, 2017, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski signed the Sustainable Infrastructure Executive Order, calling for citywide collaboration on sustainability.
This Executive Order builds upon the City’s commitment to using resources wisely, including water, energy, and land. Every year the City invests $200 million in a wide range of capital improvement projects to update and improve infrastructure related to water, energy, lighting and other utilities, and transportation. Through this Executive Order, the Mayor has directed departments to coordinate with one another as City infrastructure projects are designed and implemented to ensure the City is prioritizing reduction in air and greenhouse gas emissions, reduction in resource use, and improving water quality.
Comprehensive Sustainability Policy (View online)
In 2017, the City codified previous executive orders and policies into one comprehensive policy. It includes guidelines for everything from the energy benchmarking of city facilities, to guidelines for construction, vehicle usage, waste minimization, and hazardous material practices. Read the blog.
Elevate Buildings Ordinance (View Document)
In August 2017, the Salt Lake City Council passed an ordinance proposed by Mayor Jackie Biskupski and the Sustainability Department aimed at cutting energy costs, improving local air quality, and reducing the city’s carbon footprint.
The Council approved the Energy Benchmarking & Transparency Ordinance, which is projected to save local buildings owners $15.8 million in annual energy costs and eliminate over 29 tons of criteria pollutants from Salt Lake City’s air each year. The market-based ordinance works by phasing-in new requirements for buildings over 25,000 square feet to “benchmark” or measure their energy usage annually. Visit the Elevate Buildings page to learn more.
Carbon Pricing Resolutions
In 2015, the Mayor and City Council adopted Joint Resolution 41 of 2015, urging Congress to levy a revenue-neutral fee on carbon in fossil fuels.
In 2019, the Mayor and City Council adopted Joint Resolution 15 of 2019, In Support of a National Price on Carbon Emissions, urging Congress to pass the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. The act would impose a price on carbon emissions sufficient enough to reduce carbon emissions in line with ambitions detailed in the Paris Agreement on climate change. (see link on Infobase and PDF document)
The City’s commitment is demonstrated through its policy-level initiatives, changes in day-to-day municipal operations, and current and ongoing resilience efforts.
- Green Building incentives. Salt Lake City’s Building Department offers expedited review for certain sustainability benchmarks/programs for private sector building projects.
- In 2016, Salt Lake City committed to a 3 MW purchase through Rocky Mountain Power’s Subscriber Solar program. Read more.
In addition, SLC Corp has installed 488 kilowatts of solar capacity on city buildings and built a one megawatt solar farm on a historical landfill. In 2018, solar energy supplied 14% of municipal needs.
The Elevate Buildings program is working with large commercial building owners to track energy use and implement cost and energy-saving measures to reduce carbon emissions.
The City, in cooperation with the state transit agency, offers lower cost public transit passes (Hive Pass) for city residents.
The Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities’ co-gen facility produces almost 6 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year and reduces the City’s GHG emissions by 4,300 tons annually.
The City’s Division of Transportation has installed over 291 miles of bicycle lanes to reduce vehicle miles traveled.
Clean vehicles: The City’s Waste & Recycling Division has a low-emission fleet, comprised of 26 compressed natural gas (CNG) and 8 clean diesel refuse packers.
As of April 2021, Salt Lake City has 255 hybrid vehicles, 33 all-electric vehicles, and over 200 cleaner heavy duty vehicles (compressed natural gas and clean diesel). Learn about the SLC Police Department recent procurement of 110 hybrid patrol cars.
Read more about the all-electric Compliance vehicles here.
Salt Lake City is installing public electric vehicle charging stations to support the transition to cleaner vehicles community-wide. The City currently has 20 Level 2 public stations with 2 ports each.
City LEED Standards
In 2006, Salt Lake City committed to trying to meet at least LEED Silver standards in all new City buildings and major renovation projects. In 2017, the City’s Comprehensive Sustainability Policy specified that all City-funded new construction shall be designed and constructed to meet LEED Gold standards.
Net Zero New Construction
In 2013, Salt Lake City issued an Executive Order specifying that all new construction and major renovations of occupied city buildings containing more than 10,000 square feet will be evaluated for the potential to meet net-zero energy emissions standards. Where practicable, the building will be designed and built to this level of energy efficiency, with onsite (preferred) or offsite renewable energy included to provide an annual amount of renewable energy equivalent to the amount necessary to offset the CO2 emissions associated with anticipated annual energy use. Read more in the Comprehensive Sustainability Policy.
City County Building
The City has been upgrading lighting and building systems in the City-County Building since 2001. As a result of these projects, the City has reduced this building’s electricity use by over 840,000 kwh per year. The City has also upgraded insulation on the extensive network of steam pipes that provide heat for the City County Building, Main Library, and the Leonardo Science Center. This upgrade will reduce heat loss, and reduce natural gas consumption in the City’s boiler plant.
Public Safety Building
In 2009, voters approved the construction of a new Public Safety Building. It was constructed in 2013 and became the first public safety building in the nation to approach net-zero status. It received an Energy STAR store of 100 and also received LEED Platinum status. Read more about its building analytics and energy savings in this U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings case study.
Net Zero Fire Stations
Sorenson Unity Center
In 2006, the City began construction of the Sorenson Unity Center to provide services, programming and recreation facilities to the Glendale community. In keeping with the City’s commitment to energy efficiency, the Unity Center includes a variety of energy efficient elements including enhanced use of windows and skylights for lighting, heat pump and gas assist technologies, low-e windows and a reflective roof. In 2009, the City received LEED Silver status for the new Unity Center. The City currently is pursuing a Silver rating for operation and maintenance of the Unity Center as a LEED-Existing Building. In 2020, 360 solar panels were installed.
Public Services Maintenance Facility
The new Public Services Maintenance Facility, completed in 2010, is LEED Silver standard certified and is expected to cut the Fleet and Street Divisions’ building energy consumption by more than 50%.
Parks Department Building
In May 2009, the City replaced the old tar/gravel built-up roof on the Parks Building with a new white membrane (cool) roof and better insulation. On average, in the first two years since replacement, the City consumed 36,700 kwh less electricity per year– a 10% average reduction compared to the year before roof replacement.
Traffic Signals & Streetlights
Salt Lake City has converted all of the traffic signals to LED lights—saving more than 1,700,000 kwh and $100,000 per year. Replacing the 1,445 the yellow traffic lights alone will save a total of 76,730 kwh and $4,950 each year. In addition, Salt Lake City has begun a long-term program to convert all streetlights to high efficiency fixtures over the next 15 years. The city replaced 1439 standard 250 watt cobra-head style street lights with LED cobra-head style street lights in various locations throughout the city.
The annual savings in electricity are estimated at 587 kwh per light replaced. The City will save approximately $48 per year in maintenance per lamp replaced. Replacement of 1,554 lights would result in saving 912,198 kwh per year and approximately $130,723 in electricity and operating and maintenance costs.
Renewable Energy Projects for SLC Corp
Salt Lake City has invested in solar energy for over a decade. See below for the list of buildings with solar arrays. Our distributed solar projects plus the Subscriber Solar subscription resulted in 14% of Salt Lake City’s municipal electricity use coming from solar energy in 2017.
Elektron Solar Project (2020)
In 2020, Salt Lake City finalized an agreement on a project with five other large energy users and Rocky Mountain Power to build a large 80 Megawatt solar farm in Tooele County to meet our goal of powering at least 50% of municipal electricity use with renewable sources. This goal was set in 2016 (see joint resolution here).
The Elektron Solar Project broke ground in 2021. It has been delayed due to numerous federal tariff and trade challenges affecting the solar industry, but it is expected to come online by 2024. When it comes online, Salt Lake City’s share of the energy will be equivalent to approximately 90% of our municipal metered electricity consumption in 2019. See Elektron Solar press release here.
Subscriber Solar (Winter 2017)
Salt Lake City is the largest subscriber at 3 MW of Rocky Mountain Power’s community solar farm in southern Utah. Learn about SLC’s Subscriber Solar participation here.
Solar Farm (Summer 2014)
The Salt Lake City Solar Farm began generating clean electricity in June 2014. The project includes roughly 3,000 solar panels spread across four acres just west of downtown Salt Lake City. The installation is the largest ever completed by Salt Lake City Corporation and its electricity is being credited to the Public Safety Building in order to achieve a Net Zero energy goal. The panels will produce over 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.
Solar: Public Safety Building (2013-14)
The roof of the Public Safety Building is covered by over 1,000 solar panels with a total capacity of 350 kilowatts. These panels complement a 30 kilowatt solar canopy that shades visitors entering the building and help the project achieve net zero energy status. In addition to providing power for daily operations, 30 percent of the rooftop solar panels have been wired to provide emergency electricity directly to the building in the event of a power blackout.
Solar: Plaza 349 (Spring 2014)
Plaza 349 is home to a variety of municipal operations, including Engineering, Transportation and Technology. The work of these employees is now powered in part by clean, renewable energy thanks to a funding award from the Rocky Mountain Power Blue Sky program. The City used Blue Sky Community Project Funds to place 136 solar panels atop the roof of this recently renovated building. Explore this project’s real-time solar production data.
Solar: Installed on 7 Additional City Facilities (Fall 2017)
In 2017, Salt Lake City installed 756 solar panels on seven facilities, including five fire stations, the Pioneer Police Precinct, and a restroom at the Regional Athletic Center. The estimated 320,000 kilowatt-hours per year will eliminate the equivalent of 8 million pounds of coal from being burned over the panels’ 25 year warrantied life. Learn more.
Solar: Glendale Library (Spring 2015)
The Glendale Library features a 44 kW array with a 61,600 kWh estimated annual output.
Solar: Marmalade Library (Winter 2014-15)
The Marmalade Library features a 13.5 kW array with an 18,900 kWh estimated annual output.
Solar: Fire Station 14 (Summer 2018)
The city’s first Net Zero energy fire station features a 108.33 kW system with an annual average output of 157,079 kWh. Learn more about FS 14.
Solar: Fire Station 3 (Fall 2018)
The City’s second Net Zero energy fire station features a 110.16 kW system with an average annual output of 159,732 kWh. Learn more about FS 3.
Solar: Leonardo Museum (Fall 2011)
In 2011, the Leonardo installed 148 panels in a 30 kilowatt system. Read press coverage.
Solar: Sorenson Unity & Multi-Cultural Center
In 2018, the Sorenson Unity Center received a Rocky Mountain Blue Sky grant to partially fund the installation of solar on the community center’s roof. The 115-kilowatt system, featuring 360 panels, was installed in 2020. See the monitoring website for solar energy output on the Sorenson Campus here.
Solar: Hot Water Pilot Test
Salt Lake City is pilot testing the use of solar hot water in one of the City’s fire stations. Because fire stations use high volumes of hot water every day, significant energy can be saved by using the sun’s energy to heat the water instead of natural gas. In 2011, Salt Lake City installed its first solar hot water system on Fire Station #8, adjacent to the Spring Mobile Baseball Stadium on 1300 South. To date, the City has saved $574 in energy costs.
Turning Methane into Energy at the Water Reclamation Facility (2005)
Salt Lake City’s Public Utilities Department began capturing methane, a byproduct of wastewater treatment, at the City’s wastewater plant in 2005. This methane is used to power two large electrical generators, generating both electricity and heat needed to power treatment plant operations. Today, this co-gen facility produces almost 6 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, reducing the City’s GHG emissions by 2,700 tons annually.
Clean Energy Implementation Plan (View PDF)
As part of the Climate Positive SLC goals, Salt Lake City and Rocky Mountain Power are committed to cooperatively seeking and implementing energy solutions that reduce emissions and align with community values of local residents and businesses. The City and Rocky Mountain Power signed a Clean Energy Cooperation Statement in August 2016 detailing goals, timing and scope for this vision.
Read the full Climate Positive plan here.
Annual Municipal Benchmarking Report
In 2015, the City enacted the Comprehensive Energy Management Executive Order to identify and require the implementation of energy management best practices for large facilities and buildings. Benchmarking of the energy consumption of all City facilities 3,000 square-feet or larger is required on an annual basis. The Order addresses all aspects of City operations that require the use of electricity, natural gas or other energy resources in order to operate buildings, facilities or other fixed assets. Through implementation, Salt Lake City Corporation will reduce energy waste and better ensure the responsible use of City resources. By using less energy and simultaneously deploying clean, renewable energy resources the City will mitigate pollution associated with regional air quality issues and cross-cutting challenges such as climate change.
Years in Review
The Sustainability Department produces annual reports for department-wide milestones and progress updates.
Other Department Reports
The Salt Lake City Department of Airports (SLCDA) publishes an annual Environmental, Social and Governance Report, which highlights airport efforts to minimize negative environmental impacts and adhere to the highest standards in creating a more sustainable airport. A copy of the 2023 report is available on the Airport’s Community and Environment page.