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Stanford University Spare the Air Program

The Spare the Air program is a voluntary public outreach effort aimed at raising awareness of summer air pollution issues in the Bay Area and promoting individual behavior changes that improve air quality. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, whose jurisdiction over the control of stationary sources of air pollution extends across the nine counties that touch on San Francisco Bay, administers the program.

Stanford University is an active participant in the program, along with over 1700 other local businesses. EH&S advises the Stanford community via the Stanford University web and EH&S' own web site whenever a Spare the Air day is called.

What are some things you can do to help spare the air?


Automobile exhaust accounts for the bulk of smog promoting pollutants emitted in the Bay Area. Walk, ride transit, join a carpool or try cycling. Do anything other than driving your car alone. When running errands always "trip-link" (because our cars pollute heaviest when the engine is cold (after standing 50 minutes) you can avoid some pollution by planning your trips in advance and linking them together).


Be aware of the energy you use at home and at work. There is a direct link between energy use and air pollution. When the electric supply dips and rolling blackouts are called, many businesses turn on standby power generators and home owners power up small gasoline-powered utility generators. These units emit magnitudes more ozone forming pollutants than standard power plants. We can prevent these occurrences by minimizing the power we use on hot days. Set thermostats to turn on air conditioning at 78 degrees or above --OR better yet, use fans instead of air conditioners to cool a room.


Postpone painting jobs for a non-Spare the Air day. Don't use gasoline-powered garden and utility equipment. Barbecuing is a good idea on a hot summer day, as long as you don't start the coals with lighter fluid, use a chimney starter instead. Refuel vehicles after sundown. Despite filling station vapor recovery there is always some evaporation of volatile organics. Avoid using consumer products that come in aerosol spray cans.

To track ozone in your neighborhood click here.
For information on Stanford University's Parking and Transportation Program, click here.
For information on regional ridesharing programs, click here.

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