Salt Lake County Regional Development News
June 04, 2021
We cherish the beautiful landscape that surrounds us in Salt Lake County: the mountains, our rivers and streams, the air, our precious and limited land.
So, what is Salt Lake County doing for our environment to address issues and ensure its quality continues for future generations? In celebration of World Environment Day on Saturday, June 5, we're sharing four areas of focus.
1. We're Developing Innovative Air Quality Projects
Salt Lake County is currently pursuing multiple projects to help improve our air. These range from installing electric charging stations at County facilities and mandating EVs and hybrids for our vehicle fleet to creating and carrying out new ways to provide additional air quality data for our residents and businesses through expanded air monitoring projects.
Improved, detailed air quality data will help us more strategically produce targeted solutions into the future.
2. We're Conserving Water, and You Should Too
As we're well into a drought this summer, Salt Lake County is doing its part to help conserve water. This includes cutting our water use by 5% -- nearly 43.3 million gallons -- and providing tips and best practices to our residents to help minimize their water use.
We issued a challenge in April to County residents to match the County’s own 5% reduction at their homes. If 25% of residents help with this goal, we will collectively save at least 2 million gallons of water per day. Learn more at SLCoH2O.org.
3. We Support a Goal of 100% Net Renewable Energy
Salt Lake County is part of one of the most ambitious clean energy projects in the region. The Communities 100 group is a collection of cities and counties across the state pursuing the goal of 100% net renewable energy. So far, over 15 communities have indicated commitments to the program. If successful, it will represent the largest expansion of clean energy in Utah's history.
4. Our Planning Always Includes the Environment
Salt Lake County is responsible for multiple land use planning documents across the County. Within each is a plan on how to best preserve the natural ecosystem and maintain minimal impact on the landscapes, like in the recently updated and adopted Wasatch Canyons General Plan. The updated Plan put forth guidance on the importance of the watershed, addressing invasive plant species, wildlife, forest health, and wildfires.
As the County grows in population and size, making sure our natural environment is preserved is of the utmost importance.
Have questions? Talk with Salt Lake County's Sustainability Director Michael Shea: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 385-271-3745.
Multiple organizations across Salt Lake County joined forces in May to grow a bicycle community in Kearns.
As part of National Bike Month, Salt Lake County Bicycle Advisory Committee (SLCBAC) and Bike Utah worked together to identify an area in Salt Lake County, through key indicators, that would benefit from increased connection to bike routes and outreach of their availability.
In partnership with the Greater Salt Lake MSD, an area in Kearns was chosen and work got quickly underway.
On Thursday, May 27, Blair Tomten, chair of Salt Lake County Bicycle Advisory Committee, and Hugh Van Wagenen with the Wasatch Front Regional Council, installed new wayfinding signs in Kearns to encourage youth and families to bike between local elementary schools and the Kearns Library as part of the "Camp Kearns Neighborhood Route."
The routes where new signs were installed were selected based on greater social vulnerability scores and the need for quiet, local streets where it would be safest to bike.
The goal is to encourage safe opportunities for kids and families to bicycle together, so they can enjoy the many benefits from recreating or choosing it as an alternative form of transportation.
Kearns residents can submit pictures and stories from their biking experiences to be featured online.
Learn more about the Bike Kearns Project and Kearn's Active Transportation Plan by the MSD by visiting https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/6eb6db758db04859ba09d412d876bb59.
Salt Lake County Bicycle Advisory Committee is made up resident volunteers in every district of the County who are all passionate about promoting bicycling as a safe, healthy, equitable, and beneficial mode of transportation.
Unprecedented numbers of the Salt Lake County office-based workforce transitioned to working from home during the worst of COVID-19, and many still do today.
It’s no surprise that it significantly impacted office space and that market. Businesses are reevaluating how they work in the office and the future of design.
Where Does Office Space Stand?
Nadia Letey, senior vice president at CBRE, shared fascinating insights into occupancy and workplace trends with us. According to Nadia, the current pace of economic recovery and resilience of Salt Lake County’s economy will pave the way for a brighter 2021.
Industry trends from CBRE showed 65% of its accounts partially returned to the office by April 2021.
Subleasing is on the rise, and being seen across the U.S. Fortunately, the Salt Lake market shouldn’t see the same trajectory as 2020; current total vacancy is 16.2%. However, the forecast for our area puts vacancy at 24% if 2020 trends continue, with the majority driven by sublease.
Rental rates are strong and increasing; landlords are trying to hold firm on lease rates, but accommodating higher concession packages in tenant improvements and the like.
An interesting trend in office space use for one industry stands out. It seems call centers are one industry that is being more aggressive in projecting keeping employees working from home. The industry is seeing positives from managing productivity remotely and increasing its retention of employees, which has traditionally been more difficult. It will be interesting to watch how this trend continues or is maintained.
Where is Office Space Headed?
CBRE expects to see further absorption of Class A Office Space moving forward as companies try to find a way to get workers to come back and want to physically be in the office, rather than at home. This will further the amenities strategy many have come to know and expect from tech companies coming to Utah and elsewhere in the country.
Dave Anderson, with Babcock design, also presented insights, focused to the design of office space.
“Hot-Desking,” (or “hoteling,” “we space”, desk sharing, etc.) will provide flexible workstations as some office spaces reduce their footprint to accommodate employees working from home multiple days per week. The challenges of desk sharing, Dave says, are technology and ease of use. If it’s not convenient, employees aren’t going to see it as an option equal to or better than working from home.
What to Look for Moving Forward
#1: A Hybrid Workplace
There will be a mix of work from home and office work. People will come back, but many don’t know what exactly that will look like and what the percentage will be.
Common opinions are gravitating towards a three-day model, with either all employees in office on the same days, and others looking at staggered schedules. This will result in a mixed-presence collaboration, that will be dependent on technology moving forward.
#2: Employees Prefer Home
There’s a very strong desire from employees to continue working from home. A study by Babcock Design showed that three key benefits stood out to those who transitioned to a work-from-home environment:
- Productivity increased (62%)
- Elimination of commute time (34%)
- More connection with family (34%)
#3 Solutions to What was Lost
There were universal things that unraveled while working from home and will need ongoing attention. Babcock Design shared the top challenges it found through its surveys:
- IT problems (34%)
- Reduced belonging/culture (31%)
- Lack of collaboration (29%)