Clean, healthy air is critical to ensuring our health and community vitality. Research has linked air pollutants such as ozone and particulate matter to lung and heart disease, increased asthma rates, and other health problems. In our community, the major sources of these air pollutants include emissions from internal combustion engines (i.e., tailpipe emissions from cars), emissions from power plants, and emissions from indoor and outdoor appliances that run on fuels such as natural gas, diesel, propane, and gasoline. In addition, climate change is negatively impact air quality by causing more extreme heat days which both drive up cooling needs (and power plant emissions) and create the conditions for the formation of ground level ozone. Climate change is also leading to more wildfires and the associated increase in particular matter and more.
To learn more about climate change in Ann Arbor, check out these fact sheets:
Two ways we are working to maintain good air quality locally is through an anti-idling ordinance and the electrification of our appliances and equipment.
IDLE Free Ann Arbor
Did you know that vehicle idling constitutes 1.6% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, double the total emissions from the steel and iron manufacturing in the country? This is partly why, effective July 1, 2017, Ann Arbor has an anti-idling ordinance. This ordinance specifies that:
- Commercial vehicles have a 5-minute idling limit city-wide and no idling while vehicles are unoccupied.
- Non-commercial vehicles have a 5-minute idling limit in signed "No Idling" zones and no idling while vehicles are unoccupied.
*The ordinance does not impact cars on residential property or in driveways.
Do Your Part
1. Turn your engine off. Whether you're picking up your child from school or using the ATM, turn off your engine if you're stopped for longer than ten seconds.
2. Reduce warm-up idling. Experts agree modern engines require only a short idle period after engine start—even in very cold temperatures. Driving slowly for the first mile or two is the best way for the car to warm up. Long idling periods can harm your engine and waste gas.
3. Spread the word. Most people idle out of habit. Encourage your family, friends and neighbors to help protect children's health, the environment, and save money by turning off their vehicles.
A key piece of A2ZERO (Strategy 2) focuses on mass electrification of buildings, appliances, and vehicles. This initiative is just beginning but is designed to improve indoor air quality, comfort, and safety, all while reducing local and regional greenhouse gas emissions. If you're interested in learning more about the City's efforts to electrify, please send a note to [email protected].
Indoor Air Quality Testing
Frequent testing of indoor air and water quality is important to our health and safety. For more information on how to test for air and water pollutants - as well as other dangerous substances - in your home, check out this guide from the Safety, Health, and Consumer Council and SafeHome.org.