Green Star Air Quality Resources

Air Quality is now part of the Green Star Award. It is an issue that affects us all. The health of a community is tied to the quality of the air its citizens breathe. Carbon monoxide (C0) emissions from vehicles during cold winter months comprise Anchorage's most serious air quality threat. These emissions are highest during morning and evening commute times and are often concentrated in neighborhoods with higher densities of vehicles that are older and/or parked outside garages. More history on Air Quality issues in Anchorage.

To read past articles about a variety of Air Quality topics, visit the E-News archives.

Visit Green Star's web calendar of events for air quality events.


Helpful Links & Air Quality Reports

Summer Air Quality Winter Air Quality
Bike to Work Day
REI Bike Workshops
Become A Bicycle Friendly Business
Winter Survival Tips
Engine Block Heater Timers
Idle-Free Zone Signs


Brown Bag It for the Air, your Wallet and your Waste!

Download an AQ kit for your workplace
print tip sheets and posters for your break rooms

Tip Sheets
(print double sided to reduce paper use)
(sized to print 11 x 17")

Cover Sheet
How to Carpool
How to Plug In
How to Ride the Bus

Bike To Work

Brown Bag It

Car Care

Commuting Facts
Plug It In





BIKE TO WORK DAY  -- Friday, May 18, 2012

By promoting Bike to Work Day, we hope to motivate commuters to leave their cars at home (for at least one day!), help reduce local traffic congestion, and improve air quality. In addition, the increased physical activity of biking to work means improved productivity, decreased rates of illness, reduced absenteeism, and lower health care costs. These all benefit employers as well as the employees.  Here are some photos of 2011 Bike to Work riders and teams.  ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE GOT OUT AND RODE!!


photos by Haley Sorbel


Bike to Work Day 2011 was another banner event and a beautiful day. With 2,443 registered riders and 217 teams, bicyclists once again showed the community that Anchorage is a bikeable city. The rider count on Bike to Work Day was the highest ever at 3,287 riders.   For comparison, here are the stats from the previous years of Bike to Work Day activities.



  Registered Riders Registered Teams

Rider Count on BTW Day Morning

2005 167    
2006 330    
2007 530 50  1422
2008 918 112  1884
2009 2335 198  1797
2010 1922 155  2567
2011 2443 217 3287
2012  2335 225 3815


Need more information? Visit







Do you park your car outdoors at night? For those Anchorage residents who already have an engine block heater in their vehicle, Green Star recommends using a programmable outdoor timer (approx. $15 value). Timers are available at local hardware stores or look for information about Green Star's annual giveaway, typically held in late fall or early winter.

Using a programmable timer to warm your vehicle’s block heater will cut electricity costs to about 20 cents per plug-in, while allowing you to reduce fuel use, engine wear, and idle time. Tell your friends and neighbors!

Studies show that using an engine block heater whenever it's 20ºF or colder for two to three hours prior to starting your personal vehicle can cut carbon monoxide emissions by an average of 60%.

Remember, the benefits of plugging in your engine are many, including:

* Saving gas
* Reducing engine wear
* Increasing vehicle dependability
* Decreasing carbon monoxide emissions and other pollutants


Anchorage residents line up at the University Center for a recent outdoor timer giveaway.  During the winter months, timers are a money saver when residents plug in their vehicles. Anne Schlapia (right) of MOA's Dept. of Health & Human Services demonstrates an outdoor timer with extension cord to Anchorage residents during a recent giveaway event.



Please contact your own dealership or mechanic if you still need an engine block heater installed in your vehicle.

Using a block heater for two to three hours prior to a cold start can cut CO (carbon monoxide) emissions by an average of 60%. Commuters can use a programmable timer to start their block heater a few hours before their morning commute and cut electricity costs to about 15 cents per plug-in.

The Municipality of Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services encourages everyone to plug in. Plugging in your vehicle’s engine block heater when temperatures fall below 20 degrees is one of the best ways to keep our air clean.

For vehicles already equipped with block heaters, programmable timers are on order and will be distributed again this year through Green Star. Motorists may call Green Star’s recorded message at 278-7827 for distribution dates and sites.

This program is funded through AMATS (Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions) using Federal Highway Administration money designated for air quality improvement projects.

Please call 343-4003 or visit for further details.



Receive a free 17" x 22" metal Idle-Free Zone sign for your business or school if you enroll in Green Star's Award certification program. Visit Green Star's Tool Kit to order a sign. Additional signs are available for $20 each.


"We have our “Idle-Free Zone” sign out already, and it is working like a charm. My office window overlooks where the buses pull up, so I noticed the difference right away."

       -- Tara Jones, Alaska Sealife Center, Seward






  • The EcoDriver's Manual: A Guide to Increasing Your Mileage & Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
  • A Report on the Burden of Asthma in Alaska, 2007, a study by Dr. Mary Ellen Gordian and Brian Saylor looks at the costs of asthma to indicate what is at stake and why asthma research, control, and public health policies are of significant importance. 
  • Air Quality in Anchorge: A Summary of Air Monitoring Data and Trends, 1980 - 2008, released in March 2009, provides an update of the original report released in April 1994. The purpose of this report is to summarize air quality monitoring data collected in Anchorage since 1980. It focuses on the six pollutants for which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). They are carbon monoxide, airborne particulate, airborne lead, sulfur dioxide, ozone and nitrogen dioxide.This updated report includes air quality data collected through December 2008.
  • Air Quality in Anchorage: A Summary of Air Monitoring Data and Trends, released in May 2005, describes the results of monitoring of six criteria pollutants in the Anchorage area over the past 25 years. This summary report was originally released in April 1994 and has been updated periodically since then. This updated report includes air quality data collected through December 2004.
  • AMATS CY 2010-2011 Unified Planning Work Program, October 2009, identified all transportation planning and/or air quality planning or programming activities within the metropolitan area of the Municipality of Anchorage. 

Green Star Tip Sheets