SolarCity Powers Utah’s Economy with up to 4,000 Jobs

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—Together with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), SolarCity (Nasdaq: SCTY) announced this summer that it will open a regional corporate headquarters in Utah, resulting in up to 4,000 jobs and $94 million in capital investment over the next 10 years.

“SolarCity’s choice of Utah for its regional headquarters is a reflection of the vibrant growth of alternative energy companies in the state,” said Val Hale, executive director of GOED. “The creation of thousands of jobs over the coming decade is likely only a beginning.”

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What Percentage of People in Your County Believe Global Warming is Happening?

UTGlobalWarmingOpinionThe Yale Project on Climate Communication recently released updated Climate Opinion Maps. Public opinion about global warming is an important influence on decision making about policies to reduce global warming or prepare for the impacts. This type of polling is generally done at the national level, because local level polling is very costly and time intensive. The Yale team of scientists, however, has developed a geographic and statistical model to downscale national public opinion results to the county, congressional district, and state levels.

Users can now estimate and visualize differences in opinion across the county and a clearer picture of the diversity of Americans’ beliefs, attitudes, and support for policy comes into focus. For instance, nationally, 64% of Americans think global warming is happening. But the model shows that only 44% of people in Spencer county, Indiana agree. Meanwhile we estimate that 60% in the nearby Vanderburgh county, Indiana believe global warming is happening.

Explore the maps by clicking on your state, congressional district, or county and compare the results across questions and with other geographic areas. Beneath each map are bar charts displaying the results for every question at whichever geographic scale is currently selected. See the methods page for more information about error estimates.

This research and website are funded by the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Energy Foundation, the 11th Hour Project, the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, and the V.K. Rasmussen Foundation. For further questions about these maps or what they mean, please see the Yale Project on Climate Change Frequently Asked Questions page.

EPA Launches Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool

In order to better meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s responsibilities related to the protection of public health and the environment, the Agency has developed a new environmental justice (EJ) mapping and screening tool called EJSCREEN.


EJSCREEN is an environmental justice mapping and screening tool that provides EPA with a nationally consistent dataset and approach for combining environmental and demographic indicators. EJSCREEN users choose a geographic area; the tool then provides demographic and environmental information for that area. All of the EJSCREEN indicators are publicly-available data. EJSCREEN simply provides a way to display this information and includes a method for combining environmental and demographic indicators into EJ indexes.

EJSCREEN includes:

Each EJ index combines demographic indicators with a single environmental indicator. This tool uses provides a number of capabilities including:

  • Color coded mapping
  • The ability to generate a standard report for a selected area
  • Comparisons showing how a selected area compares to the state, EPA region or the nation

You can access this new tool, here.

USU Extension Unveils Water Impacts Website

UntitledIn line with Utah State University’s (USU) 2015 theme, “year of water,” USU Extension recently unveiled a Water Impacts website. This website features resources including water quality, the center for water efficient landscaping, irrigation, water maps, climate, and more information about the year of water.

The Water Impacts team includes Danny Barandiaran (Biometeorology Ph.D. student0, Joanna Endter-Wada (Associate Professor in Environment and Society), Kelly Kopp (Water Conservation and Turfgrass Specialist), Larry Rupp (Professor in Ornamental Horticulture), Nancy Mesner (Water Quality Specialist).

A new educational video also features many of our top university specialists in water use.

Can Mushrooms Play an Essential Role in Healing our Planet?

Fungi Perfecti founder and president Paul Stamets has been a dedicated mycologist for over 40 years. Over this time, he has discovered and coauthored several new species of mushrooms, and pioneered countless techniques in the field of mushroom cultivation. – See more at: In this TedTalk video, Paul Stamets lists 6 ways the mycelium fungus can help save the planet: cleaning polluted soil, making insecticides, treating smallpox and even flu viruses.

Discovering a New Way of Building with Bamboo

When building a home or office, is it possible to replace steel and concrete with bamboo?

Sharma Springs design project, with gardens surrounding the building using Permaculture Design Principles.

Elora Hardy is proving so by opening up a new way for us to think about building – from shapes to materials – using bamboo. Ibuku Bamboo Architecture, lead by Elora, consists of a team of designers and builders who aspire to make the most of bamboo and local talented craftspeople and young minds. They hold the belief that bamboo’s potential is underestimated and it should be used to house many more people, especially in the tropics. Elora’s team works to draw out beauty from this abundant wild grass. The traditional Balinese craftsmen work closely with Ibuku’s designers to develop a balance of ancient and new ideas. Elora Hardy leads Ibuku’s vision and sustainable design. In 2010 Elora returned to her childhood home in Bali.  Together she and her team of talented Indonesian designers and architects have built over forty new bamboo structures. They include Green Village, parts of Green School and other projects, mostly on the island.

To see more of her beautiful work, view Elora Hardy’s TedTalk: Magical Houses, Made of Bamboo.

Governor Herbert Signs Bill Extending Alternative Fuel Vehicle Tax Incentives and Adding Natural Gas Incentives for Heavy Duty Vehicles


Gov. Gary Herbert on Thursday ceremonially signed two bills designed to help clean up Utah’s air.

BlakeHB406, sponsored by Rep. Steve Handy and championed in the Senate by Sen. Todd Weiler, provides incentives for trucking companies to purchase heavy-duty trucks that run on natural gas instead of gasoline or diesel.

SB15, also sponsored by Handy, makes it easier to receive incentives to convert light vehicles to natural gas.

At the bill signing ceremony at Questar’s West Valley City natural gas fueling station, Herbert noted that Utah is taking many steps to clean up its air, and providing incentives for truckers and auto owners to use natural gas as a transportation fuel is an important strategy.

He said the success of the legislation is an example of all stakeholders coming together to solve a problem. Read More

Wasatch Front Regional Council Adopts 2015-2040 Regional Transportation Plan

TranspPlanThe Wasatch Front Regional Council recently adopted the 2015-2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). The RTP identifies the major roadway, transit and bike projects and services needed over the next 25 years in Salt Lake, Weber, Davis and a portion of Box Elder Counties.

Utah’s population is projected to nearly double by 2050. As we grow, we’ll need new and better ways of getting around. Keeping people connected and commerce moving requires an integrated transportation system where Utahns have more transportation choices. Read More

Controlled Floods Rebuilding Colorado River Habitat

From Utah State Today: In a warming world of inevitably decreasing runoff and increasing human needs, rehabilitating parts of the much-dammed and much-diverted Colorado River is an immense challenge that requires identifying river segments were tractable strategies can be implemented. The Colorado River downstream from Glen Canyon Dam in the Grand Canyon region is one such place say U.S. Geological Survey scientists, many of whom have a long association with Utah State University. Read More

Rocky Mountain Power Incorporates Norm-Based Behavior Change into their Electricity Bills

From Utah Public Radio (

Freida and Ray Tibbitts have always taken care to turn off lights whenever they leave a room, so they were stunned last fall when their electric bill jumped and the energy report included with the bill showed their home was using twice as much power as the neighbors.

Freida knew the reason: a daughter and son-in-law had moved in, and they kept lights and electric heaters on for medical reasons. She wrote to Rocky Mountain Power to explain.

“I wanted the company to know,” says Freida, “that we weren’t foolishly burning up a lot of power we didn’t need.”

The couple also followed one of the tips the power company offered, and they replaced all of the ordinary light bulbs with energy-efficient ones.

“It made sense to change to the more efficient light bulbs,” says Ray Tibbitts, because they put out more light for less money.”  Read More