How Solar Can Fix Utah’s Inversion Problem
Hearts sink with the thought of firefighters doing their best to put out the flames of wildfires across the West every summer. Utah’s hazy valley, however, isn’t only from the large fires set ablaze in the West.
Pollution is one of the main causes of low air quality in the valley. Addressing this issue will help people in the valley avoid many lung related health issues.
Utah’s air quality, however, doesn’t need to be a problem. There are several things that both Utah citizens and the government can do to help clean the air.
Types of Pollution in the Utah Valley
When the mountains on the other side of the valley aren’t visible, it is often due to pollution. There are several different forms of pollution which makes tackling the issue dependent on the type of pollution in the area.
In Utah there are two major pollutants; these include ozone and particulate matter (PM). Let’s take a look at what each pollution type is and how it impacts air quality in Utah.
When Is Ozone a Problem in Utah
Although we need oxygen to breathe, too much can cause problems. Ozone has a higher concentration of oxygen. In the ozone layer of the upper atmosphere this is great, but not when ozone is at ground level.
Ground level ozone is a pale blue gas with a distinct smell. It can cause health problems — especially for those that already have lung issues.
Ozone on the ground has seven categorized causes. Of these categories, there are three main contributors. These include emissions from biogenic, mobile, and fuel combustion.
How Particulate Matter Affects Utah
In the winter months, particulate matter is the main cause of pollution. Particulate matter is an airborne mixture of solid particles with a liquid.
There are eight different emissions that cause this issue. The main cause of particulate matter, however, is dust.
What Utah Has Done to Combat Air Pollution
Utah has been aware of the air pollution issues and, over the past several years, has made progress. The 2017 Utah division of air quality report shows that Utah ozone and PM pollution has declined. It is even more impressive when you compare the population increase to the emission decrease.
(created by Utah Division of Air Quality)
During the 2019 Utah Legislature session there was nearly thirty million dollars donated to clean air incentives. These incentives have helped interested Utahans make changes in their way of living.
Utah has gone out of its way to make sure that residents are aware when air quality is low. It also has several programs in place that diminish air pollution. Local government can’t, however, make people change.
The Cause of Utah’s Pollution Issues
The Standard-Examiner found three areas make the largest contribution to Utah’s pollution. These include transportation at 48 percent, area sources (homes and small businesses) at 39 percent and industry at 13 percent. This means that the majority of pollution comes from running our homes and driving our cars.
It is easy to blame others, but when the numbers point back to individual residents it’s hard to deny. Utahans need to take responsibility if they want their air quality to improve. So what can you do to help reduce pollution in Utah?
Solar Coming to the Rescue
Because transportation and residential power consumption is where most of Utah’s pollution is coming from, the resolution resides within us. Many have found that carpooling to work, riding a bike, or pre-planning an efficient route helps save fuel.
People can also help by installing smart home energy saving tools, such as the smart thermostat. This allows people to not only control their energy consumption, but track it, which encourages them to be more energy-conscientious.
Keeping track of energy consumption can be a tedious task. With solar, however, people can make a difference without having to cut back on air conditioning or needing to carpool to work.
Decrease Area Source Pollution With Residential Solar
When you get a solar array for your home, you are eliminating your power bill and making a difference. Solar decreases the use of fossil fuels used to power a home. Fossil fuel consumption is the reason why homes make up 39 percent of Utah’s pollution.
Pollution gets emitted during the manufacturing of solar panels. These emissions, however, are outweighed by the environmental benefits over 25 plus years of carbon free electric production.
Solar and Electric Vehicles
Lately, the push for electric and hybrid vehicles has been felt by everyone. Many car brands have come out with their own electric and hybrid models.
Home charging stations have come with the emergence of electric vehicles. Those that install solar don’t have to worry about the fossil fuels burned to charge their car.
If you would like to learn more about solar, filling out our Utah solar home forum is the first step. Our representatives will help you determine if your home is a good fit and set up a free consultation.