Air Quality at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

Power plant

UAF is committed to protecting the air quality for those who live, work and play near our campus.

We are working to reduce emissions that may affect air quality in the Fairbanks area.

We are also building diversity by installing solar panels and using natural gas in our heat and power plant.


Student at sunrise on UAF campus

At UAF, we generate our own heat and electricity at the campus power plant. This cogeneration provides a more efficient use of our resources.

UAF is working to construct a new power plant with lower emissions and the ability to burn biofuels . For more information:

In 2009, the EPA designated parts of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, including the UAF campus, as a PM-2.5 non-attainment area. This fine particulate matter is directly linked to the for health problems including lung and heart issues.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation are coordinating to reduce levels of fine particulates in the non-attainment area.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation maintains information on air quality in the non-attainment area.

UAF is working to reduce particulate emissions from campus.

  • If funded, UAF’s old coal-fired boilers will be replaced with more efficient boilers reducing PM-2.5 Emissions by 45% and total PM by 65%
  • The existing coal-fired boilers have baghouses to capture PM from the exhaust.  Recently these were retrofitted with new seals to reduce emissions
  • We are planning on upgrades to our ash handling system to further reduce fugitive dust (PM) during handling
  • When we clean the road after winter gravel laydowns, all of UAF’s sweeper trucks spray water to reduce particulates during the sweeping process
  • Contractors must control dust during excavation and construction
  • UAF mulches grass cuttings which keeps the debris under the mower or we use a vacuum type system
  • We hydro seed during construction and in areas that are soil/material holding areas

UAF Environmental Compliance Officers can help determine how Air Quality Regulations apply on campus and at research sites throughout Alaska.

  • Installing New Emission UnitsAn emission unit is defined as any part of a stationary source that emits or would have the potential to emit any regulated pollutant. Examples include  coal boilers, incinerators, or generators. Certain sizes or types of emission units being installed on campus may require an air quality permit prior to installation. If you are installing a new unit, EHSRM should conduct an applicability analysis to determine if you will need an air quality permit. Help UAF stay in compliance with the law by contacting us before beginning your project !
  • Open burning and Firefighter Training Open burning can release toxic chemicals, contribute to air pollution and risk starting a wildfire. All open burning on campus must be approved by the UAF Fire Department. For more information contact the UAF Fire Department at (907) 474-6303.

Smoke from summertime wildfires can affect the air quality around the university and beyond.

For questions and concerns about air quality or smells inside a university building visit EHSRM’s indoor air quality page.