Utah non-profit provides grant funding for clean air groups

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Indoor, away from Utah’s air problems, a team of engineers is creating their very own world that’s up to us to save.

“People learn from doing the right thing and the wrong thing. So, in this game people can choose to help air quality or harm air quality,” said Roger Altizer,  who is the director of Game Design and Production at the University of Utah.

Students within the U Entertainment Arts and Engineering program are just in the planning stages of creating an air quality video game that they hope to distribute to high schools by next year.

“Let’s say, for example, you choose to drive on a Red Air day,” Altizer said. “Well, it will get even worse. You’ll see more pollution. People will complain even more. Air quality will get disastrous, and people will leave the Salt Lake Valley.”

The premise of the game sounds more like reality, which is why the U was one of 13 organizations to be awarded more than $350,000 in grants by the nonprofit group, Utah Clean Air Partnership.

“It took us a lot of years to get into this bad situation, and it’s going to take time to get out,” said Ted Wilson, who is the director of UCAIR.

The groups were selected from 22 applicants vying for the funding. According to Wilson, they bring a wide range of ideas to the table that address pollution through education and action.

“A lot of people are in this game,” Wilson said. “A lot of people are working on it. A lot of people really care about clean air.”

Among those selected was Breathe Utah, which plans to use the $25,000 it received to replace five wood burning fireplaces with natural gas stoves in homes in the Salt Lake valley.

“Wood smoke is a bigger culprit than we expected,” said Erin Mendenhall, executive director of the group.

While there are less than 200 homes heated solely by wood stoves in seven non-attainment counties, Mendenhall said removing them would be significant.

“The numbers that are coming from the EPA, as well as from the University of Utah study, tell us that one hour of burning a fireplace equates to 90,000 natural gas furnaces running for that same amount of time, when you’re talking pollutants for pollutants,” Mendenhall said.

Additionally, the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) in partnership with UCAIR is making grants available for small businesses through its new “Assist” program. These grants – totaling $1.3 million dollars through mid-2015 – will be available for small businesses with fewer than 100 employees to assist them in making federally mandated air-quality adjustments and improvements to reduce emissions.

More details about applying for the small business grant will be available on UCAIR.org as the program is established.

The full list of grant recipients is below:

  • Breathe Utah
  • GREENbike
  • KUED for the documentary “The Air We Breathe”
  • The National Energy Foundation
  • Provo City Council
  • Salt Lake Chamber for the 2014 Clear the Air Challenge Salt Lake City for its “Smart Trips” bus, bike and S-Line streetcar program.
  • University of Utah
  • Utah Clean Cities Coalition for its promotion of idle-free education.
  • Utah Transit Authority for its “Ride Clear” free rider pass program.
  • Salt Lake County for one electric vehicle charging station, and in partnership with the Utah Office of Energy Development, an additional two electric vehicle-charging stations.
  • Utah Clean Energy


  • bob de buidler

    Unfortunately I am unable to commute with another person or even take frontrunner or even the bus since it is not cost effect for me to ride mass transit.

  • Jeremy Allan

    As far as wood smoke is concerned and what the HPBA/ OMNI/ EPA bureaucracy has on offer, is not reasonable for consumers. No one seems to get a view up from the average consumer anymore. (unless they’ve put under group hypnosis in some lobbying organisation) UL 4582 was never a complete standard for emissions. It is appliance-centric, ignores common wintertime ventilation issues and the majority of stakeholders, including catalytic combustors, lab calibrated appliance labels are not truly represented in field operation. The science is lacking in the regulatory bodies generally. All enclosed wood stoves need to be able to cope with the inversion. Their theory, stick a nuclear reactor in the firebox and all is okay. It was never that simple and they ignore the flue. Why are there a million different chimney cowls out there. Does the HPBA, OMNI, EPA include them in the quest for reducing or stopping emissions and creosote? Does the Sierra club work with natural gas companies? Does the EPA work closely with the Sierra club? Does the EPA sponsor social marketing campaigns, abusing over-simplified epidemiology studies through their funded American Lung Association. Do they only recognise ‘Green’ markets, ignoring everything outside of it? Fix the smoke. Don’t stop people burning in enclosed wood stoves. The bureaucracy is wearing blinders for their stakeholders, and the rest of us struggle to believe the projected health costs from rehashed studies; comparisons, estimates and “compelling evidence” mantras are accurate enough for the justifications of bans and change-outs. It’s only to benefit natural gas with these lobbies well trained in socially marketing group-think paradigms, behavioural psychology strategies. Not well trained in the traditional – non-economic, non-cost benefit – non-vested interest political sciences.

  • Dessy Anaiwan

    There are some things to Consider When Choosing a Natural Gas Fireplace Everyone likes a fireplace but no one likes the mess. Natural gas fireplaces have all of the great features but none of the worry or mess.Natural gas fireplaces can be installed practically anywhere there is space to hold one. They are available in different sizes and with different capabilities for heat output.

  • raymond herman

    I have a thought that you should put into work.It will help reduce air pollution and help to start reducing obesity. I suggest you pass a bill taxing transactions for use of using the drive up windows ($5.00). (especially fast food) this will make people go inside to purchase items and also make them turn off their car reducing time setting in line with the car running creating more pollution that’s destroying are state.It would really surprise you how much pollution is made during are drive up window use.it will also reduce the convenience of getting fast food help them get some exercise by having to go inside. thanks let me know. it seems that money makes people think more about what they are doing if its taken away by taxes . lets get this going so we get are dirty state clean and are people healthy. (like taxing cigarettes) please respond show to congressmen .Show me your really serious about cleaning up the air.Like you were about smoking

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