17. Live Green! This sustainable-living eco-fair continues to grow in its sixth year on Saturday, May 9, 2009, at Library Square from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., bringing the green community together for a truly fun and educational event. This year, John Norquist, former mayor of Milwaukee and president and CEO of the Congress of the New Urbanism will speak about urban revitalization and the incredible turnaround he oversaw for a sustainable Milwaukee. There will also be a screening of Fuel: The Film, and a presentation by Doug Fine, who lived petroleum free for a year and lived to tell the tale. Other activities include permaculture education, local plant sales, fun eco-activities for kids, live music, alternative transportation demos, and meet-and-greet with local eco-celebrities. DowntownSLC.org
18. Utah Solar and Alternative Energy. Park City-based USAE provides the resources needed to understand and evaluate potential solar-power solutions, including all the summarized info about tax incentives, both federal and state, to help communities light their (ceiling) lights from (sun) light. 801-949-6219. UTSolarPower.com
19. Four-day workweek for state employees. According to a story reported by KUER 90.1 FM, Salt Lake’s local NPR affiliate, the innovative program of 10-hour days mandated last year by the state has saved 13 percent on electricity costs and increased productivity of state employees, while increasing employee satisfaction to boot. In addition, carbon emissions from driving have also been reduced significantly. NPR.org
20. The ReDirect Guide. Like a regular Yellow Pages except green, the RDG lists hundreds of qualified green businesses, with everything from green carpet cleaning to green homes and solar-energy systems. In the interest of full-disclosure, I co-founded the RDG in 2004 and left the company in 2006. The Guide’s unique, high-visibility position in the green community could be leveraged in many ways to truly lead the green business revolution in Salt Lake City, and I remain hopeful that its owners will make this opportunity (and, I think, responsibility) their top priority in the years to come. 801-994-1844. ReDirectGuide.com
21. Salt Lake’s bike lanes make the city very bikeable. With 53 miles of bike lanes in the city, Salt Lake is becoming more and more bike-friendly. A personal favorite is Emigration Canyon, which provides a much safer bike alternative to the Cottonwood Canyons’ slim shoulders for cyclists looking for canyon recreation on two wheels. It’s a terrific ride!
22. Ski industry making strides to keep winter cool. True, there are the outliers like Solitude and Brighton who’ve been known to donate heavily to county political races, in order, perhaps, to influence land and water use policies in Salt Lake County? Environmental records for both still stink, by the way. The Canyons, which sent out a press release trumpeting its accomplishments and triumphs over hardship in its sustainability work, also stinks, but is getting better. It offers recycling across its eight peaks, powers its snowcats with biodiesel, buys about a fifth of its power from Blue Sky (Utah Power’s wind energy program), and has little touches like recycled-content paper towels in its restrooms. Park City Mountain Resort has upped the ante, using biodiesel and purchasing 100 percent renewable-energy credits from Blue Sky, while also supporting green policies, keeping its land-use footprint in check, providing good recycling programs throughout its resort area and performing admirably with sustainable real estate development. Alta, Snowbird, and Park City receive good grades from the Ski Area Citizens Coalition Annual Report Card, but far and away, the most consistent eco-performer is Sundance Resort (which took the top “grade” in Utah, and was ranked the third best ski resort ecocitizen nationally).
Sundance uses biodiesel in its snowcats, has hybrid vehicles for company cars, offsets 100 percent of its power with Blue Sky wind energy, has a green building policy that guides all property development on site, has begun a widespread energy efficiency retrofit, gives $10 off the price of a lift ticket if skiers carpool four or more to a vehicle, has worked with the Utah Transit Authority to provide a viable public-transportation alternative, and gives employees terrific options for getting to work without their cars, including a bus that picks up at a central location in Utah County and comes complete with a bike rack. Anyone who has skied Sundance has seen the amazing beauty of the scenery that inspired Robert Redford to buy the place and preserve it. It doesn’t hurt my judgment in this area (not one bit … ahem) that Sundance also stands above the rest in its environmental commitment.
The Ski Area Citizen Coalition Report Card lists Utah’s ski resorts from best to worst as: Sundance (A), Park City (A), Snowbird (A), Alta (A), Deer Valley (B), Brighton (C), Snowbasin (C), the Canyons (C), Solitude (C), and Brian Head (D).
24. Mill Creek Canyon. Having this natural area a stone’s throw from the city center is a gift to Salt Lakers. Mill Creek provides a quick forest escape, as it has substantial forest resources (as opposed to the drier and less-wooded City Creek, which is also a gem), and we are lucky that it has been preserved for the people of Salt Lake. Mountain biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing are highly recommended. Also up the canyon is Log Haven restaurant (Log-Haven.com), whose “green” cuisine features local sustainable wild products and eco-friendly farming products. Log Haven, 6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Road, 801-272-8255
25. Utah’s Whole Foods Markets. Four Whole Foods Markets stores in Utah are on a mission to go zero-waste, meaning that everything is either composted or recycled as it leaves the store. Though not a locally owned business, Whole Foods is respectful of the community, with workshops and events on organics and the environment, frequently partnering with local groups such as Cottonwood Cyclery and Wasatch Community Gardens. WholeFoodsMarket.com
Scott Cooney is the author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and former founder of the ReDirect Guide, a green business directory for the greater Salt Lake City area. His hope is that someday the green economy will simply be referred to as … the economy. Twitter.com/scottcooney