Tag Archives: spare the air

Breathe Better (B2) for Businesses

As the population and the number of businesses grow, so does the volume of vehicles on the road in a single day. This can be challenging for keeping the air in South Carolina clean and safe.

The good news is South Carolina does have clean air and is currently attaining all of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.  These standards were established to protect public health. Maintaining favorable air quality by keeping emissions at a minimum will help keep South Carolina within the air quality standards and protect public health.

Your business can be a leader in your community by implementing air pollution reduction strategies to maintain good air quality in South Carolina:

  • Register to be a Breathe Better (B2) business. You will receive anti-idling signs that can go in your loading areas and parking lots.
  • Sign up for the EPA Air Quality Flag Program and display the corresponding air quality desktop sign in your place of business.
  • Create and support a telecommuting policy for your employees so they can work from home one or more days a week to reduce the number of vehicles on the road.
  • Create and support an alternative work schedule. A flexible work schedule allows your employees to stagger their work schedule to avoid driving in peak rush hour traffic.
  • Encourage carpooling and vanpooling. Sharing your daily commute can reduce the number of vehicles on the road and save on gas.
  • Install a bike rack at your business and encourage employees to ride a bike or walk to work whenever possible. It’s good for the environment and your health.
  • Consider replacing and/or purchasing fleet vehicles with hybrid vehicles or electric vehicles.
  • Look for opportunities to reduce diesel emissions through reduction strategies and technologies. South Carolina Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Grants are available for eligible applicants to help fund these types of projects.

The Ozone Forecasting Season is Upon Us

Spring is here and that means the return of the ozone forecasting season (April 1 through Sept. 30). As we drive in our vehicles, the exhaust contributes to ground-level ozone in our atmosphere. Under certain conditions, ozone levels can be high enough that an Ozone Action Day, or “orange day” alert is issued. High levels can adversely impact people who are sensitive to ozone pollution, especially children, the elderly, and those with breathing problems.

You can check the daily ozone forecast during the season in one of two ways:

1)  Visit www.scdhec.gov/apps/environment/ozoneforecast/.

2)  Sign up to receive the ozone forecast at www.enviroflash.info.

In the event an Ozone Action Day is issued, there are some things you can do to help curb ozone pollution:

1)  If you live close enough, consider walking or biking to work or to run errands.

2)  Consider carpooling with people who live in your neighborhood and work close to you. To find a carpool, try www.erideshare.com.

3)  If your neighborhood is served by public transportation, take the bus.

4)  Telecommute from home or satellite office (if applicable to your work schedule).

If we all do our part to reduce the effects of ozone pollution, we can improve our air quality here in South Carolina!

Spare the Air Awards

By Bryony Wardell

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is pleased to announce the latest winners of the Spare the Air Awards.  The annual awards honor individuals, businesses, schools, communities and organizations who have made a voluntary contribution to the improvement of air quality in South Carolina.

“Clean, healthy air is an important natural resource that benefits everyone,” said Myra Reece, DHEC’s director of environmental affairs. “This award program celebrates the collaborative efforts of our partners and neighbors who are helping to drive continuous improvement of air quality across the state.”

Congratulations to the Spare The Air Award recipients!

Forest Lake Presbyterian Church
Outstanding Community Improvement Campaign Award
Forest Lake Presbyterian Church was awarded for their efforts to reduce vehicle emissions. The church established an organic garden and collaborated with Harvest Food Bank to distribute locally grown produce to communities, minimizing the need for large trucks  on the highway.

Forest Lake Presbyterian Church

Dr. Reverend Ellen Skidmore accepting the award for Forest Lake Presbyterian Church.

Rock Hill School District Three of York County
Outstanding School District Award
The district’s Energy Management Program saves an estimated $2 million a year. It features outreach activities including a door decal and light switch design contest, an energy shutdown contest and a web-based energy tracking tool.

Rock Hill District 3 Spare the Air.jpg

L-R: Eddie Robinson, facilities trades manager; Kim Melander, district energy manager; Robbie Brown, division director, DHEC; and Brian Vaughan, facilities director.

The University of South Carolina
Outstanding University Award
 The University of South Carolina was awarded for developing strategies to reduce vehicle and facility emissions; improve bicycle, pedestrian and mass transit options; and provide sustainable education opportunities for its campus community.

USC 2015 Spare the Air
L-R Michael Koman, director of USC’s Office of Sustainability; Rhonda Thompson, interim chief, DHEC Bureau of Air; Dr. Harris Pastides, president of USC; Tom Syfert, director of USC’s Environmental Health Safety. 

The City of Seneca/Clemson Area Transit
Outstanding Local Government
The City of Seneca received a Spare the Air Award for becoming the first municipality in the country to run an all-electric mass transit system. The electric fleet was manufactured by Greenville-based Proterra Inc. and is part of the Clemson Area Transit system. These actions reduced harmful emissions and saved money on fuel cost.

Seneca CATBus STA Award 201509

City of Clemson Mayor J.C. Cook, DHEC Environmental Affairs Director Myra Reece and Seneca Mayor Don Alexander at the Spare The Air Award ceremony for Outstanding Local Government.

Enter the Spare The Air Awards!
Have you worked on a voluntary initiative or idea in 2015 that helped improve air quality in South Carolina? Apply for the 2016 Spare the Air Awards for a chance to be recognized by the state for your work! Entries must be received by February 1, 2016. Click here to apply!