Air Pollution

Green Bank of Colorado: Air Pollution Awareness

Air quality is a foundational component of our well-being, as well as a key aspect of the Green Bank of Colorado’s mission to drive investment that counteracts the negative effects of our many years of pollution. Despite some frequently repeated generalizations about Colorado’s “clean mountain air”, air quality in the state, especially in the Front Range, has been decreasing for years. The Denver Metro Area has been given an ‘F’ rating by the American Lung Association, and Colorado is currently being considered for serious non-attainment status for its failure to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS)1. It’s time to make a change, and only through a conscious, collective effort can we build a thriving, stable economy that harmonizes with the environment.

It’s important to understand how we measure air pollution and where it comes from. The Clean Air Act of 1963 established that the federal government would set standards for air quality, based on the parts per billion (ppb) of ozone in ground level air. Ozone is a molecule made of oxygen atoms, and is produced through many of our industrial processes. A layer of ozone exists high in our atmosphere, where it shields us from harmful UV light: large concentrations of ozone do not exist naturally near the surface, and it is harmful when inhaled. Current laws, updated in 2008, set the standard at 70 ppb. Denver’s air quality has exceeded these standards for several years. Ozone is released into the atmosphere in many ways, including from your car exhaust, industrial sites, and refineries processing chemicals and oil. Many chemicals that are emitted into the atmosphere can also react to create ozone when hit with energy from the sun. The same sources that emit ozone are also emitting many other greenhouse gasses, and so we can work to lower the levels of many harmful emissions in tandem.

The best way to combat this problem is to move away from the industries causing the majority of the pollution. Our dependence on oil and coal is poisoning our air and shaving precious seconds off each and every one of our lives. It can be incredibly daunting to look ahead at the work yet to be done. No one person could handle it on their own. Therefore, it is necessary to leverage resources from many people, all who want their dollars to go towards a healthier planet.

The Green Bank of Colorado plans to do just that. All GBC investments are targeted at projects that reduce pollution, produce clean energy, and further renewable technology. There are many factors that influence air quality, and so the GBC looks to invest in a variety of technologies to combat them. Clean air is something that none of us can live without.

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Visit us at or on Twitter @GreenBankofCO to learn more about the Green Bank of Colorado’s mission to invest in a future where we can all breathe a little easier.

Tyler Wengert

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