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Health, Science & Environment

Energy Contest Highlights Efficiency, Lower Pollution

Mayor Ralph Becker’s office recognized five Salt Lake City organizations this week for helping clean up the air by reducing emissions from their buildings.

Cameron Faddis is facilities director for Basic Research, a company that manufactures beauty and nutritional products near the airport. He’s showing off one of the motors that basically turns sun into electric power.

“This is the inverter for the photovoltaic system…,” he says.

A roof topped with solar panels and other energy efficiency projects here generate more than $500,000 a year in energy savings for the company. Faddis is excited that his company’s three-phase program has been so effective

“We’re currently net zero right now,” he says. “I don’t pay for power. My 250,000-square-foot building – the only thing I pay is the taxes, surcharges and whatnot.”

These energy-efficiency efforts helped Basic Research win Salt Lake City’s first Skyline Challenge Award for innovation. Other winners this year include the Salt Lake City School District, the McGillis School, Fidelity Investments and the property company Newmark Grubbs ACRES.

Salt Lake City was one of just 10 chosen nationally to receive grant money for the energy-efficiency campaign, which is part of a citywide goal to cut energy consumption 15 percent by 2020.

Peter Nelson, sustainability coordinator for the city, says 40 percent of the pollution on a winter day comes from building emissions.

“By improving the efficiency of buildings,” he says, “we’re reducing their contribution to those air-quality issues.”

Nelson said 20 organizations took part in this year’s energy-saving contest. Next year’s Skyline competition gets underway in the fall.

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