Salt Lake City’s RDA Adopts an Innovative Policy to Advance Clean Air and Climate Solutions

The Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City (also known as the SLC RDA) helps to fund building projects – including affordable housing projects – in Salt Lake City, and the RDA just took a huge step forward to promote and encourage the use of cutting edge sustainable building practices. Utah Clean Energy provided key technical assistance to RDA staff on the development of the core structure and elements of the RDA’s Sustainable Development Policy. Thank you to UCAIR for the grant that enabled us to provide this technical support.

On Tuesday, December 14 the RDA Board approved an updated Sustainable Development Policy, that will guide how the RDA provides incentives to projects that meet three new clean air and sustainability guidelines: ultra-energy efficient design, 100% electric and fossil fuel-free, and net zero energy.

Buildings that are ultra-efficient, all electric, and net zero are just what the doctor ordered. Literally! These kinds of buildings are an important step toward cleaning Utah’s air and protecting Utah’s long-term public health. Here are the details of the three new clean air and sustainability guidelines included in the Policy:

  • Ultra-Energy Efficient Design: The cleanest form of energy is the energy that we don’t use. Buildings that receive RDA funds, must now be designed to achieve an ENERGY STAR Score of 90. This means they will be among the top 10% most energy efficient buildings in the country! Buildings will also participate in Salt Lake City’s Elevate Buildings energy benchmarking program to show that the buildings actually operate as efficiently as they were designed.
  • All-electric and fossil fuel-free: In addition, RDA-supported projects will need to be build all-electric, without fossil fuel combustion for space heating, water heating, cooking, and clothes drying. This is a huge win for local air quality since combustion of natural gas contributes to local air pollution. The Policy recognizes the All-Electric provisions of the New Building Institute’s Building Decarbonization Code as one pathway to achieve an all-electric building.
  • Net Zero: Additional incentives are available for buildings that reach net zero status, either with on-site or off-site renewable energy generation. This means that 100% of the electricity consumed by the building will be supplied by clean, pollution-free renewable energy. The Policy’s core net zero pathway is the Appendix CC – Zero Energy Commercial Building Provisions from the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code, though other net zero certification pathways are also eligible.

We are excited that the Salt Lake City RDA Board has taken this major step to support innovative clean air strategies in new buildings that they help fund, and we’re thrilled with Salt Lake City Mayor Mendenhall’s continued leadership on clean air and climate change. Utah Clean Energy believes this is Policy is a model for other local government redevelopment agencies in Utah, the Intermountain and Southwest regions, and the entire U.S.

To learn more about the RDA’s new Sustainable Development Policy update you can read the press release, a summary fact sheet, or the entire Policy.


kevin emerson

Kevin Emerson, MSc

Director of Building Efficiency and Decarbonization

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