Clear the Air Challenge aims high for 2014

The 6th Annual Clear the Air Challenge is starting again in Utah this July—with goals to take it further than any year prior and new tools to help make it possible. The Clear the Air Challenge will take place July 1 – 31, 2014.

“We’ve had big successes in the past, but we can and will strengthen our efforts this year,” said Jonathan Johnson, Chairman of the Board of Overstock.com. “During the month-long Clear the Air, we encourage Utahns to drive less and drive smarter to reduce vehicle emissions and collectively improve Utah’s air quality. Each trip saved makes a difference to the quality of our air.”

The Clear the Air Challenge goals for this year aim to:

  • Eliminate 250,000 vehicle trips (up from the 176,000 trips eliminated last year)
  • Save 2 million vehicle miles driven (up from the 1.9 million miles saved last year)
  • Engage 10,000 participants (up from the 8,400 participants last year)

Over the past five years, Clear the Air Challenge participants have saved more than 7.1 million vehicle miles traveled, saving more than nine million pounds of emissions and eliminating more than 600,000 car trips. We encourage people and businesses throughout Utah to take the Challenge this summer to increase those numbers even further, to make an even bigger difference in Utah’s overall air quality.

Thanks to a partnership with UDOT TravelWise and a grant from UCAIR, the Challenge invested in new tracking technology this year that makes logging your trips saved faster and easier—from your mobile device or computer. There is a built-in trip planner as part of the new tracker. Anyone can enter in a starting and ending location and receive carpool options, transit routes, or biking and walking routes. The new tracker gives the amount of emissions you’ll save and the time it will take to make your trip. The new tracker also integrates with social media and participants can, for example, share a trip saved on Facebook. Through this new tool, the Challenge hopes more people who don’t typically use transit or carpool programs see other options to get to their destinations. The new tracker can be found at ClearTheAirChallenge.org.

To encourage people to use transit, Utah Transit Authority is giving away 4,500 RideClear passes during the month randomly via Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RideUTA. Additionally, the Challenge has also established a partnership with Enterprise CarShare whereby they will provide Challenge participants usage of their cars in July.

By participating in the Challenge and tracking your miles saved, participants are eligible for great prizes from Clear the Air Challenge sponsors, from bikes, skis, clothing, gift cards and much more.

“The Clear the Air Challenge is the perfect opportunity for people in SLC, Ogden, Logan, Provo, Moab, St. George—everywhere,” said Amanda Smith, Executive Director, Utah Department of Environmental Quality. “We all need to think about how we travel and how it impacts the air we breathe.”

The Clear the Air Challenge is an excellent time to try new ways of transportation – from your daily commute to family errands. Our communities are changing quickly making alternative transportation easier and faster. These small personal actions add up to cleaner air for everyone.

You can sign up for the Clear the Air Challenge, join a team and start tracking your miles saved at www.cleartheairchallenge.org.

A big thank you goes to the sponsors of the Clear the Air Challenge for making it possible this year: Salt Lake Chamber, TravelWise, UCAIR, Fidelity Investments, Penna Power Brian Hayes, RioTinto, Overstock.com, UTA, Zions Bank and Enterprise CarShare.

 

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Team Spotlight: TRAVELWise

travelwise

As a sponsor of the Clear the Air Challenge, the UDOT TravelWise program is committed to supporting the one month Challenge. But, more importantly, TravelWise is committed to providing year round solutions to Utah’s air quality issues.

TravelWise promotes the strategies used during the Clear the Air Challenge to help reduce energy consumption, improve air quality and optimize mobility. Working with businesses and State Agencies, TravelWise encourages the reduction of single occupancy trips among employees.

TravelWise also works with cities and communities to educate them on the benefits of using trip saving strategies such as carpooling, teleworking, trip chaining, etc. and encourages them to implement TravelWise within their communities.

Through year-round education and promotion of TravelWise, whether through the Clear the Air Challenge or other efforts, Utah is reducing trips and improving air quality.

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Clear the Air Challenge 2013: The best year yet!

Thanks to more than 8,500 Utahns coming together to make a difference in the state’s air quality, the Clear the Air Challenge for 2013 was the most successful challenge to date!

During the month-long Challenge in July, 1.9 million miles and nearly 170,000 vehicle trips were eliminated, resulting in the removal of 1.6 million pounds of emissions from our air. In doing this, more than $1.1 million dollars were saved in vehicle costs. Those numbers trump all other years’ participation by a landslide–and we have all of you to thank.

“We call this the Clear the Air Challenge, but it really has been the Clear the Air Opportunity,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. “We have over one million residents in Salt Lake County and if every County worker avoided using their car just one day a week 700 tons of emissions would be eliminated from our air each year.  What you do, one day a week or every day, makes a difference.”

The total number of participants, 8,643, represents an increase of more than 2,000 from the previous year. Last year, the Challenge included 6,591 participants who eliminated over 134,000 single-occupant vehicle trips, averting nearly 1.6 million miles driven.

“We are pleased to see such a jump in miles and trips eliminated,” said Jonathan Johnson, chair of the Salt Lake Chamber Clean Air Task Force and executive vice chairman of Overstock.com. “Utahns recognize the importance of clean air to our health and to our economy.  The jump in participation shows that more and more people are willing to do their part.”

Outstanding businesses and teams were recognized for their efforts during an awards ceremony held at the Downtown Farmers Market. You can watch the video below or click here.

Companies
Most Trips Saved: O.C. Tanner with 26,258 trips
1st Place Company: Overstock.com with 1,300 participating employees saving 25,000 trips and eliminating 220,000 miles.
2nd Place Company: Fidelity Investments with more than 500 participating employees saving 8,500 trips and eliminating 227,000 miles.
3rd Place Company: ADP with almost 20,000 trips saved and 187,000 miles eliminated.

Teams
1st Place Team: University of Utah Facilities Management Team who saved 7,500 trips and 63,000 miles.
2nd Place Team: Goldman Sachs who saved 5,300 trips and almost 55,000 miles.
3rd Place Team: MHTN Architects who saved 4,900 trips and more than 41,000 miles.

Individual
Most Miles Saved: Nichole Warren of the U of U Moran Eye Center saved 8,550 miles.
Most Trips Saved: Robert Kent from the U of U Psychology Department saved 582 trips.
Most Consistent (Gold level): Soren Simonsen from the Salt Lake City Council saved 562.
Most Consistent (Silver level): Dennette Nobles from MHTN Architects saved 272 trips.
Most Consistent (Bronze level): Jason Graf from the U of U Facilities Management Team saved 196 trips.

Coverage
Deseret News: Clean air challenge saves nearly 170,000 trips, sets new records 

We thank everyone who participated in July and to our winners who put in so much effort into this cause!

As we celebrate the success of the fifth year of the Challenge, we’d also like to take a moment to see the combined efforts over the past few years. Overall, the Challenge has engaged approximately 20,000 participants, saved over 7.1 million miles and eliminated more than 600,000 vehicle trips.

While this was the fifth year of the Clear the Air Challenge, it was the first that the Chamber was responsible for its operations and we were very glad to have the opportunity to continue on this beneficial program.

So a big thank you goes out to everyone who participated and sponsored the Clear the Air Challenge. Congratulations on making such an incredible contribution to improving Utah’s air quality. But don’t forget that you can implement clean air driving habits all year long! Air quality is an on-going issue that needs to continue to be addressed, and all of us can play our part by driving less.

Businesses interested in doing more, can visit CleanAirChampion.com for more ways to benefit air quality and their bottom line. And Utahns from all walks of life are encouraged to become part of the Utah Clean Air Partnership – also known as UCAIR. Visit ucair.utah.gov to see what you can do in your daily activities to improve air quality.

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Team Spotlight: O.C. Tanner

octanner2

At O.C. Tanner, we’re committed to promoting a healthful work environment. We’re proud of our efforts and rely on every employee to minimize negative impacts on the environment. Our company and employee-driven programs work to minimize air and water pollution, reduce hazardous waste, and increase recycling. And, we continue to inspire others to live green by seeking environmentally sound partnerships.

During the month of July, we celebrated the achievements of our employees in the Clear the Air Challenge. All levels of the company participated, including our executive team.  We have outstanding individuals that regularly bicycle, walk, and utilize mass transit. Our security staff supported the challenge by walking or bicycling parking lots and surveillance routes. Maintenance parts and supplies were collected by trip chaining excursions. Payroll went paperless and reported there were no printed checks for 1,222 participants in Salt Lake City for the month.

O.C. Tanner is a company that appreciates great work of empowered employees. We would like to recognize a number of outstanding members of our team who set an example for all of us. In particular, we want to express our appreciation to our housekeeping team. They are the first-place winners of our internal competition, embodying a “green” lifestyle in their work and private lives. They use green chemicals at work, are the backbone of our trash minimization project, and have reduced our landfill usage by 82 percent.

This team is managed by Deb Hohenthal, a trip chainer who avoids travel whenever possible by shopping and banking on-line. Her team includes Cindy Johnson and Ceclia Vilchis, both who travel by bus and Trax and who are avid walkers in their private lives.  Minhdan Thach rides her bicycle 12 miles round-trip daily and is known for her high energy with lots of walking to and from karate class. Carol Urcino often carpools to work, rides the bus, and takes long walks with her grandson.

When asked how it was possible to achieve such great trip and mileage savings, Cindy Johnson expressed her gratitude to O.C. Tanner’s policy for subsidizing the cost of UTA passes. We are in fact grateful to her and to the 34 other employees who used UTA passes this month and we applaud the more than a dozen bicyclist and multiple carpooling teams. Thank you again to everyone who contributes to bluer skies for all of us.

Keep an eye out for more details to come about the Clear the Air Challenge Awards Ceremony that will be held at the Farmer’s Market at Pioneer Park on Saturday, August 1oth. This year’s winners and sponsors will be recognized and prizes will be given away!

 

 

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Weekly Winners for July 22-28

We have our winners for the fourth and final week of the Challenge! Here are the different category winners with their respective prizes.

Gold (20 trips saved) – Aimee Baarz, UTA 30-Day pass

Silver (10 trips saved) – Alex Starkenburg, Natural History Museum of Utah Day at the Museum Package

Bronze (5 trips saved) – Trent Steele, Megaplex gift card and City Cakes gift certificate

Congratulations, all three of you! Thanks for being committed to helping clean up Utah’s air by reducing your vehicle emissions.

There is still one day until the end of the Challenge so remember to keep reducing your driving trips, tracking your progress with the TravelWise tracker, setting goals and conquering them to qualify for weekly prizes!

Next up will be our grand prize winners so keep an eye out for that!

- See more at: http://cleartheairchallenge.org/blog/#sthash.RbSNJSLa.dpuf

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Team Spotlight: SurvivalCreek.com

survivalcreeklogo

We at SurvivalCreek.com are so excited to help clear the air! It is not only our first year participating in the challenge but it is also our first year in business!

SurvivalCreek.com opened the virtual doors three months ago and since then we have had the privilege to work with so many great people who care about respecting the environment. As a company that is all about helping people to get their gear and get outdoors, we understand the importance of air quality. We love to do our part to clear the air because it’s better for the health of everyone in Utah and it prevents people from having to stay inside due to poor air quality. Upon reviewing the Clear the Air Challenge, we agreed that air quality could be improved and joined many other local companies to make it happen.

We appreciate the Clear the Air Challenge for showing us all of the ways we could make small changes to our daily routines to reduce vehicle emissions. One of the main benefits of being an e-commerce business is that most of what we do can be done virtually. The Survival Creek team does our part to clear the air by participating in a number of trip saving activities such as video conferencing, teleconferencing, and emailing.

We are so excited to see the progress made in the past month by everyone participating in the Challenge and we truly believe that if you take care of the air, it will take care of you.

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Weekly Winners for July 15-21

We have our winners for the third week of the Challenge! Here are the different category winners with their respective prizes.

Gold (20 trips saved) – Dan Shedd, gift certificate to Especially For You

Silver (10 trips saved) – Kristeen Phelps, 5 Class Pass to Avenues Yoga

Bronze (5 trips saved) – Steve Bergstrom, Great Harvest gift basket

Congratulations, all three of you! Thanks for being committed to helping clean up Utah’s air by reducing your vehicle emissions.

There is still one week left until the end of the Challenge so remember to keep reducing your driving trips, tracking your progress with the TravelWise tracker, setting goals and conquering them to qualify for weekly prizes!

- See more at: http://cleartheairchallenge.org/blog/#sthash.RbSNJSLa.dpuf

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Weekly Winners for the Week of July 8-14, 2013

We have our winners for the second week of the Challenge! Here are the different category winners with their respective prizes.

Gold (20 trips saved) – Robin Coy, Green Bike annual membership

Silver (10 trips saved) – Mike Burgin, Petzl biking headlamp

Bronze (5 trips saved) – Nathan Hulse, $10 Amazon gift card and $10 Megaplex                                                               Theater gift card from ADP

Congratulations, all three of you! Thanks for being committed to helping clean up Utah’s air by reducing the amount of car trips you make.

Remember to keep reducing your driving trips, tracking your progress with the TravelWise tracker, setting goals and conquering them to qualify for weekly prizes!

- See more at: http://cleartheairchallenge.org/blog/#sthash.RbSNJSLa.dpuf

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Team Spotlight: HealthInsight

healthinsight-logo-small

HealthInsight, a community-based non-profit, is a newcomer to the Clear the Air Challenge this year. Although many employees have long commutes to the office, the 60-person company has more than half of its employees participating in the Challenge.

HealthInsight team members have adopted a range of new commuting and traveling habits which include biking, taking public transit, carpooling, and in one case skateboarding to the office. HealthInsight’s mission is to improve health and health care in Utah which is very much in line with the goals of the Clean Air Challenge.

“Living in a healthy environment is fundamental to good health. Our employees understand that improving our air quality supports their own health as well as our community’s health more broadly,” says Juliana Preston, HealthInsight Executive Director. “We are thrilled to be part of the Challenge this year.”

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Team Spotlight: University of Utah Facilities Management

University of Utah Facilities Management participates in wide ranging efforts with the environment in mind. From exploring greener cleaning products and practices to campus gardens to reducing energy use, we have a core commitment to sustainable practices.  This year we launched a promotional campaign to get FM employees excited about the Clear the Air Challenge. The U of U Facilities Management Green Team approached Mike Perez, the Associate VP for Facilities Management, to see what kind of support he would lend to this effort.  Not only did Mike incentivize involvement with a pizza party for participants, but he also decided that he himself could make a difference.  Mike went out and bought a bike and challenged all FM employees to save more trips, using any kind of TravelWise strategy, than Mike on a Bike.  Mike has been riding his bike and TRAX to work and to meetings on campus and says that this change in commuting habits will last long beyond the month of the challenge.  As a benefit of working at the University, employees get free transit passes, and FM employees are all working hard to drive down their miles using TRAX, bus, carpooling, and more.  FM is proud to be part of the Challenge and to make clean air FM’s business.

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