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What causes poor air quality?

Many people live in Fort Collins because they appreciate a high quality of life. The close proximity to the mountains, recreation activities, "small town feel" and climate make Fort Collins a great place to live. Unfortunately, poor air quality can jeopardize our healthy lifestyles and super mountain views. Air pollution has been linked to asthma, allergies, respiratory problems, burning eyes and other unwanted health effects. While Fort Collins may appear immune to the pollution of big city life, it's not. In fact, one out of every four days, the City of Fort Collins violates the air quality visibility standard.

Pollutants from vehicles, high energy use, and industry all contribute to poor air quality. While vehicle use is an obvious culprit, expending too much energy also pollutes our air with unwanted materials. This is how it works. When you turn up the thermostat to heat a home, the power plant that makes that energy burns more coal. Imagine if your fireplace burned coal? Dark soot would go into the air, bringing with it chemicals that can make some people really sick

The Clean Air Countdown

simple ways to help improve air quality while saving money and time and having FUN!

12. Care for your car
Regular maintenance and tune-ups, changing the oil and checking tire inflation can save you money by improving gas mileage and extending the life of your car. Documented regular maintenance can also improve your vehicle's resale value. By keeping up with car maintenance, you can reduce harmful pollutants by more than half!

11. Carpooling can be cool - and easy on your wallet
Whether to school or work, sharing the expense of a daily commute can mean more money in your pocket for FUN! For the business person, carpooling is a great 'networking' opportunity, a time to accomplish tasks, relax or socialize. Try it - maybe once or twice a month. To find carpooling partners close to your home, contact the SmartTrips office.

10. Buy Smart
Energy Star products provide energy efficiency savings over the lifetime of the product, translating in to long-term savings for the buyer! Besides, innovative technology is hip, looks good and helps our air quality.

9. It's PC to turn off your PC
Want to impress the boss? Display your cost-consciousness by turning off your computer nightly and encourage your coworkers to do the same. What other ways could you help your company save money by improving energy efficiency? Consider joining the Climate Wise program designed by the City to help companies save operating costs and reduce their environmental impact.

8. Shape Up Fort Collins
That's right, keeping in shape can make you feel and look better. Why not incorporate a 'workout' into your daily routine by biking or walking to work or errands? Give it a try - just once! The City's SmartTrips office can help by finding convenient bike routes to your destination.

7. Park and Shop
Simplify your life when visiting shopping centers by parking once and walking to stores. No more trying to find multiple parking spaces! A brisk walk from store to store can improve your cardio vascular health and give you time to relax without worrying about someone stealing that prime parking spot!

6. Call Ahead
Save time and gas money by picking up the phone or visiting a web site to get product information. When was the last time you drove to a store, only to find that the specific product you were seeking was not there? Avoid this time consuming mistake by calling ahead or going online.

5. Trip Chain
Here's a real time saver! Combining errands into one trip improves mental sanity and helps you get things done efficiently. Our air quality benefits by reduced traffic congestion and air pollution. When you first start a car after it has been sitting for more than an hour, it pollutes up to 5 times more than when the engine's warm.

4. Energy Savings at Home
"So whaddya think, we own the electric company?" Betcha heard that one before. Now that you're paying the bills, perhaps you've even been known to say it. Keeping energy use in check can save money on electric bills. Turn off lights when not in use, turn the heat down or the air conditioner up, and you just may notice a change in your utility bill - for the better!

3. Mow When the Sun is Low
Mowing a lawn in the middle of the day can make for an unpleasant chore. Try taking advantage of a little 'natural' air conditioning, and mow in the mornings or evenings when it's cool outside. By avoiding the hot mid-day sun, you are also helping reduce the harmful creation of ground level ozone, that when 'cooked' by the hot sun can lead to breathing problems and respiratory infections in the elderly, the young, and those with pre-existing conditions.

2. Stop at the Click
Fueling up can put a dent in your wallet. Fueling up too much can create an even bigger dent in your wallet and our air quality. When a gas tank is over filled, pricey gas can spill out and release harmful gas fumes into the air while you watch your money go down the drain.

1. Teleworking
Save time and money by working from home. Check to see if your employer has teleworking options. Teleworking helps reduce traffic congestion and pollution, not to mention office politics! Contact the City's SmartTrips office to receive a free teleworking kit that will help guide you and your employer through the process of establishing a complete telework program.