Air Quality

Washington State University is committed to minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. Facilities Services and Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) work together to ensure stationary air emission sources are operated efficiently using the best available technology and procedures. These efforts have reduced air emissions even though the number of students, employee, and building square footage continues to grow.

Improving Air Quality at WSU

WSU has an Air Operating Permit (AOP) limiting emissions from stationary air pollution sources on the Pullman campus. EH&S oversees the AOP through training, emission testing, and record keeping to ensure WSU’s emissions remain within the established limits. WSU is continually looking for ways to minimize air emissions by installing improved air emission control equipment, improving energy efficiency on campus, eliminating ozone depleting refrigerants, and upgrading campus car fleets with more fuel efficient or electric vehicles.

Why is this Important?

The air we breathe is made of a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and and introduction of air pollutants. Our air quality varies greatly due to the proper balance of these elements. Humans and our living conditions have greatly impacted this balance over time. This impact is often negative due to our use of fossil fuels which release contaminants when they burn, adding to the greenhouse effect in our atmosphere. While the use of these fuels is hard to avoid, there are some simple, small changes that can be made to reduce our negative impact on our own air.

Air is one of the main components to the act of sustaining life itself. Without clean, breathable air, a multitude of disastrous things would happen: people would begin to become sick and disease would spread, plants wouldn’t be able to correctly photosynthesize, food quality would diminish, and climate change would exponentially become even more of a problem.

How You can Help- Reduce Your Carbon Footprint!

The quality of air around us varies depending on the human living conditions in a specific area. The quality is dependent on the amount of pollutants and greenhouse emissions that are in the air, along with various other factors. There are very small and mindless daily activities that may harshly increase the amount of carbon emissions in the air, like driving a car, purchasing non-local goods, and the use of fossil fuels. Though, it is also true that the smallest changes in someone’s daily routine can lower the amount of carbon emissions produced by one person.

Listed here are some easy steps anyone can apply to their daily lives to reduce the amount of carbon emissions they put into the air:

  • Reduce energy use: making sure unnecessary lights and appliances are off or unplugged reduces your energy use, as well as reducing energy needing to be created from factories. These factories producing your energy are large contributors to air pollution.
  • Take public transportation, like the bus or carpool with friends one more day a week than usual.
  • Avoid the use of aerosol cans/sprays
  • When selecting food from the grocery store, choose locally grown and shipped foods. This lowers the amount of traveling distance the food has to be shipped.

Find out how big your Carbon Footprint is with the Carbon Footprint Calculator and learn what ways you can help reduce carbon emissions!