Ozone is the air quality pollutant of most concern in the Pikes Peak region. There are two types of Ozone; Ground Level and Ozone Layer. The ozone layer in the stratosphere is the good, protective ozone. Ground-level ozone is a harmful air pollutant that affects all of us. Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments is working towards better air quality for it’s citizens and our planet. Together, using the simple steps listed below, we can improve the air we breathe for everyone.

The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments monitors and tracks regional air quality reports. These reports are done in coordination with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) to meet the USEPA National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The standards apply to ground-level measurements of carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, course and fine particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide.

Transportation Tips

Replacing two vehicle trips each week by walking, riding a bike, or taking public transportation can keep 14 pounds of ozone-causing emissions out of our air.  A few ideas to help skip the trip. 

  • Pack a lunch or walk to  a nearby restaurant.
  • Walk, jog, or ride a bike to the gym.
  • Use public transit to get to a game, concert, or other event.
  • Combine your car trips by designating one day a week for errands.

Colorado offers some fantastic resources that help you get around with or without a vehicle. Better yet, you can save an average of $1,500 a year from reducing gas costs.

  • waytogo.com provides you with a variety of alternative transportation resources, including vanpools and metro transit options. 
  • Zipcar.com is a community posting site that allows members to post their route and offer a ride for just $7 a month. 
  • Click here to view a map of the available Park-n-Rides throughout the region.
  • Metro Rides is a service provided by Mountain Metro Transit that provides information on free carpooling, vanpools and school pools.

Pikes Peak region has a wide selection of public transportation. Click on the links below for more information: 

Car Tricks

One minute of idling produces more carbon monoxide than the smoke from three packs of cigarettes. Be sure to turn your car off, even for short periods of time.

Ozone loves the light – the chemical reaction that forms to create this pollutant moves faster with heat. If you are going to use gas powered appliances or stop to refuel, try later in the afternoon.

Regular maintenance and tune-ups improve gas mileage and extend the life of your car. By keeping up with car maintenance, you can reduce harmful pollutants by more than half.

Consider your next car purchase to an alternative fuel vehicle. If every U.S citizen owned an alternative fuel vehicle, we would reduce carbon emissions by 45% by 2050. Colorado also offers tax credit incentives that you can find here.

 

If you are a public or private entity interested in having a charging station, you can apply for financial assistance through the Charge Ahead Colorado program.

Tips for the Home

Energy is produced by the combustion of fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and gas, which release pollutant gases into the atmosphere. Reducing your energy consumption means reducing the need for energy production, therefore reducing pollutant emissions (with more cash in your wallet saving on those energy bills). Consider these quick tips: 

  • Purchase an ENERGY STAR appliance. ENERGY STAR is the trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency helping to save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. Click here to see all certified appliances
  • Draught proofing door and seals have an annual savings rate of $10 – $20 on your energy bills.
  • A shower uses only two-fifths of the hot water needed to run a bath.
  • Turning your heating thermostat down by just one degree can save on average 10% on heating bills.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are widely used as ingredients in household products like paints, varnishes and cleaning supplies. When these products are used, VOCs are emitted into the air and contribute to poor air quality along with health concerns. If you currently own products with VOCs, be sure to: 

  • Follow label instructions carefully.
  • Purchase or make environmentally-safe products.
  • Throw away partially full containers of old or unneeded chemicals safely by taking them to a disposal site. El Paso and Teller County residents can dispose these products at no charge – find more information here

Ozone is a reaction of a variety of chemicals and the sun’s UV rays, so make a plan on when to complete your chores:

  • If you have a gas-powered lawn mower, plan to mow your lawn in the afternoons.
  • Gotta drive to get to the grocery store? Try to coordinate your errands so you limit your car use – set a day to do them all at once, or carpool with a friend and shop together.
  • Home deliveries are increasingly popular, from ordering take-out for dinner to online shopping. Try to limit your delivery use and instead buy local or take up do-it-yourself projects.

Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up about 30 percent of what we throw away, and should be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

If you own a wood burning appliance or simply enjoy a summer night by the fire, burning wood or other products produces emissions like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. If you decide to burn, be aware of moderate to hazardous air quality forecasts which you can find here.

For questions regarding air quality, contact:

environment@ppacg.org