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In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama called for a 50 percent reduction in the amount of energy wasted by our homes and buildings over the next 20 years. He proposed providing resources for the most effective state policies to cut energy waste.

 

It may not be glamorous, but it sure came as good news to all of us at the Breathe Project, as energy efficiency is a major piece of the clean air puzzle. Consuming less energy means reduced combustion of fossil fuels, which in turn, helps to improve our air quality.

 

According to the U.S. EPA, buildings accounted for 38.9 percent of total U.S. energy consumption in 2005. Residential buildings accounted for 53.7 percent of that total, while commercial buildings accounted for the other 46.3 percent. Buildings are expected to account for 75 percent of our electricity consumption by 2025, the EPA estimates, and the average household spends at least $2,000 each year on energy bills.

 

A good number of our coalition partners are working to reduce energy consumption themselves—or helping other businesses, organizations and households become more energy efficient; it’s a win-win for air quality and their bottom line.

 

In a free workshop on February 22, Pop City Media and Direct Energy will provide ways for nonprofits to save money by reducing energy costs. Attendees will learn smart strategies to conserve energy and resources—and also be eligible to win $2,500 from Direct Energy through its Reduce Your Use For Good campaign.

 

ReEnergize Pgh—an initiative of GTECH Strategies—is creating jobs and reducing residential energy waste by organizing teams of “ambassadors” for energy efficiency in communities throughout Allegheny County.

 

Pittsburgh Green House in East Liberty holds regular workshops and sessions on residential energy and water savings and making homes healthier. This month, they will host a home water conversation workshop (saving water helps to clean our air by reducing energy consumption) and another session on how to integrate energy upgrades into the home remodeling process.

 

And Sustainable Pittsburgh will soon launch its 2013 Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge, which calls on businesses and organizations in southwestern Pennsylvania to reduce their energy and water use through a friendly competition.

 

We’d love to hear what your organization is doing to increase its energy efficiency—and improve our air quality. Send us your stories to highlight on our website and so we can share best practices with other coalition partners. We look forward to hearing about your successes!

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events
March 16, 2015
GASP holding a public meeting to discuss air quality in Lawrenceville   The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) Air Quality Program recently announced its intent to issue an operating permit for the McConway and Torley steel foundry located on 48th street in Lawrenceville. This facility is a significant local source of … Learn More
February 11, 2015
How is air pollution is impacting your life? Want to find out about the dangers of air pollution in our area and the associated health impacts? Want to see just how bad the pollution is in your own neighborhood? Is there a possible link between pollution and your … Learn More
January 14, 2015
Moving from Climate Awareness to Climate Action   First Sustainability Pioneers Bridge Party!   Wednesday January 14, 2015, 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM   PointBreezeway 7113 Reynolds St Pittsburgh, PA 15208   Join the first Sustainability Pioneers Bridge Party  – wine & cheese, networking, live music & … Learn More
January 7, 2015
Include air quality issues in the county’s strategic plan! Local air quality groups are circulating a petition urging the Allegheny County Health Department to include air quality in the strategic plan they are adopting at the Board of Health meeting on Jan. 7. Please help move this important issue … Learn More
December 13, 2014
“Particle Falls” Lighting Up the Holiday Season for a Difference The Heinz Endowments’ Breathe Project today launches artist Andrea Polli’s Particle Falls, a captivating digital-media installation that provides a real-time visualization of air quality.   At a time of year when Downtown Pittsburgh is aglow with holiday lights that raise … Learn More
October 29, 2014
Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge 2014-2015 Kicks Off The Green Workplace Challenge is back again for another year of exciting competition! If you work for a business, nonprofit, college or university, local government, or a K-12 school in southwestern Pennsylvania, sign up today to start saving money and … Learn More
October 18, 2014
2014 Pittsburgh Solar Tour   Most Pittsburgh house tours showcase beautiful interiors, tasteful design, and the glitz and glamour of bygone eras. The 2014 Pittsburgh Solar Tour is a home tour for the new Pittsburgh.   Join PennFuture to experience raw solar power, energy … Learn More
October 7, 2014
“Sustainability Pioneers” Documentary Premiere   How can Pittsburgh be a leader in building the bridge from our fossil fuel-based economy to an economy based on renewable energy and sustainable living?   Filmmaker and journalist Kirsi Jansa asks this question–arguably the most critical challenge of our … Learn More
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  • Breathe Project

    Research published this week out of Ohio. Research here shows similar connections between PM2.5 exposure and pregnancy/birth issues.

    Check out that map of monitors and preterm births. What do you think?

    http://bit.ly/20XD5E1

    Exposure to airborne particulate matter during pregnancy is associated with preterm birth: a population-based cohort study

    ehjournal.biomedcentral.com

    The frequency of high PM2.5 exposure was higher in preterm births compared to term births, see Table 2. The preterm birth rate was also increased with high PM2.5 exposure during the first and third trimester, and when there was high PM2.5 exposure averaged over the entire pregnancy, as demonstrated in Table 3. Likewise, the mean PM2.5 levels during each trimester when compared between term and preterm pregnancies demonstrated significantly higher average PM2.5 levels during the first and third trimester for the preterm birth group compared to term births, p = 0.01 (data not displayed in table). Likewise, the overall pregnancy average PM2.5 levels were higher for the preterm birth group compared to the term birth group, p < 0.01.

    Feb 11th 9:00pm • No Comments

    Despite the Supreme Court ruling regarding power plant emissions and the Clean Power Plan, Pittsburgh Business Times says the state of Pennsylvania is pushing ahead to comply. Take a look.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/blog/energy/2016/02/pennsylvania-moves-forward-with-clean-power.html

    Pennsylvania plans to follow Clean Power Plan regulations - Pittsburgh Business Times

    bizjournals.com

    This despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week putting the regulations on hold.

    Feb 11th 7:10am • No Comments

    Today, in The New York Times' Lens Blog:
    In the Air, a photo exhibit visualizing Pittsburgh's #airpollution problem.
    If you haven't gone, GO. Through Feb. 26 at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.
    These images are now. They will move you.
    #cleanairpittsburgh #airqualitymatters
    http://nyti.ms/1o2Kd49

    The Environmental Legacy of the Steel City - NYTimes.com

    mobile.nytimes.com

    The photographer Lynn Johnson grew up in Pittsburgh, a city famed for its industry and attendant air pollution. She still recalls how her father would take a spare white shirt to work every day, as his collar would become discolored by noon. While the Steel City has given way to more tech-driven

    Feb 10th 9:18am • 3 Comments

    Hmm...who in our community is using this app? We might test it out ourselves.
    http://bit.ly/1nZZlzb

    Artificial Intelligence Can Track Pollution Using Smartphone Photos From All Over the World

    mic.com

    What if managing city smog were as simple as snapping a photo?

    Feb 9th 12:00pm • No Comments

    Happy Mardi Gras! Have a green air quality day to go along with your gold and purple!

    Timeline Photos

    Feb 9th 6:51am • No Comments

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  • The Heinz Endowments
    Megha Satyanarayana, Communications Officer
    Phone: 412-338-2616
    Email: meghas@heinz.org
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