CAP is participating in the Big Payback!

SAVE THE DATE!  CAP is participating in the Big Payback!


The Big Payback is a community-wide, online giving day hosted by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee on May 6, 2014. This charitable giving day will help our organization raise much-needed unrestricted dollars and celebrate the good work of all Middle Tennessee nonprofits.

For 24 hours, beginning at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, May 6 to 6 a.m. on Wednesday, May 7, donors can make gifts to participating nonprofits that are located in or provide services in the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee. We will be eligible for incentives, bonuses and additional prizes throughout the day, so your gift would be greatly appreciated. 

For more information, please visit

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Study Pegs Fuel Economy Costs of Common Practices

Did you know that simple things like under-inflated tires, open windows and carrying cargo on your roof or behind you on a hitch can have a negative impact your vehicle’s gas mileage? Well it’s true and now there’s a study to prove it. Check out the article below to learn more. 

People who pack their cars and drive like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Vacation pay a steep penalty when it comes to fuel economy, according to a report by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

For the study, researchers tested a sport utility vehicle and a compact sedan with various configurations, including under-inflated tires, open windows, and rooftop and hitch-mounted cargo. The SUV, a 2009 Ford Explorer with a 4-liter V6 engine, was also tested while towing an enclosed trailer. The researchers tested the vehicles at a variety of speeds with the different configurations. While the findings were not unexpected, they serve as a reminder of how drivers can save money by taking simple measures.

“There is fuel economy information and advice available for vehicle maintenance and carrying loads that is quite good, but very little published data to back it up,” said John Thomas, a co-author of the study and member of ORNL’s Energy and Transportation Science Division. “Certainly, suitcases strapped to your car’s roof and trying to keep up with a speeding Ferrari will adversely affect your gas mileage.”

Among the more notable findings was that using a rooftop cargo box with the SUV decreased fuel economy from 24.9 mpg at 60 mph to 22.9 mpg—a drop of 9%. The compact sedan, a 2009 Toyota Corolla with a 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine, also suffered as its fuel economy dipped from 42.5 mpg at 60 mph to 33 mpg, or 22%, when hauling the rooftop cargo box.

At the other end of the spectrum, equipped with the cargo tray, the Corolla’s mileage at 60 mph was unaffected while the Explorer’s fuel economy decreased only slightly, from 24.9 to 24.7 mpg. A cargo tray is attached to the rear of a vehicle using a cargo hitch, about even with the bumper.

Other findings:

  • Low tire pressure (50 and 75% of the manufacturer recommendation) resulted in negligible to 10% fuel economy penalties;
  • Driving with all four windows down decreased fuel economy by 4-8.5% for the Corolla and 1-4% for the Explorer;
  • Towing a 3,500-pound enclosed cargo trailer resulted in fuel economy penalties ranging from 30% in city driving to 50% at 80 mph for the SUV;
  • The best fuel economies were achieved at a constant speed of 40 mph for the Corolla with 57.5 mpg and 50 mph for the Explorer with 29.5 mpg; and,
  • At 80 mph, fuel economy for the Corolla dropped to 30.9 mpg while the Explorer dropped to 17.7 mpg.

Emissions from the vehicles were not significantly affected by the different configurations with the exception of the cargo trailer, which led to substantial increases in carbon monoxide due to protective enrichment, in which an engine under high load runs rich (higher fuel-to-air ratio) to protect the engine components and the exhaust system from the very high exhaust temperatures. This may happen, for example, when a vehicle is pulling a heavy boat up a hill.

Prior to conducting tests, the vehicles underwent the rigorous Society of Automotive Engineers J2263 coastdown procedures on a closed test track. These are necessary to determine the appropriate dynamometer settings so the effect of the changes on vehicles’ fuel economy and emissions can be measured in the laboratory. More information about vehicles and fuel economy is available at

CAP Releases Air Update 2013


The Clean Air Partnership of Middle Tennessee would like to update you on our organization’s progress and plans for the future. You can download our annual report – Air Update for a complete recap of our community outreach activities, the total number of air alerts last season, and a basic financial summary.

Here are a few highlights from 2013.
  • We continued our outreach campaign to promote our It’s Clear To Me materials.
  • We were thrilled to be a part of Mayor Dean’s Neighborhood Challenge and Field Day events!
  • We renewed our partnership with Fox 17 on a television, online and text campaign.
  • We attended several outreach events to educate people about the simple things they can do to improve our air quality.
  • We posted over 100 Clean Air Pledges to the CAP Facebook page and on the website.
  • We added two new board members, who will join us in 2014! We look forward to working with them on many exciting projects in 2014.
CAP would like to thank you for your support over the years. Please join us in the coming year as we strive to make Middle Tennessee a cleaner place to breathe!

Study: Traffic-related air pollution associated with changes in right ventricular structure and function

The following article was originally published on

Exposure to high levels of traffic-related air pollution is associated with changes in the right ventricle of the heart that may contribute to the known connection between air pollution exposure and heart disease, according to a new study.

“Although the link between traffic-related  and left , and cardiovascular death is established, the effects of traffic-related air pollution on the  have not been well studied,” said lead author Peter Leary, MD, MS, of the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. “Using exposure to  as a surrogate for exposure to traffic-related air pollution, we were able to demonstrate for the first time that higher levels of exposure were associated with greater right ventricular mass and larger right ventricular end-diastolic volume. Greater right ventricular mass is also associated with increased risk for heart failure and .”

The findings were published online ahead of print publication in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The study involved 3,896 participants who were free of clinical cardiovascular disease in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and who underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Using estimated exposure to outdoor oxides of nitrogen at the homes of participants over the year preceding MRI, the authors found that increased exposure to nitrogen dioxide was associated with an approximately 1.0 g (5 percent) increase in right ventricular mass and a 4.1 mL (3%) increase in right ventricular end-diastolic volume.

These relationships remained after accounting for differences among participants in cardiovascular risk factors, left ventricular mass and volume, markers of inflammation, lung disease and socioeconomic status.

The authors note that this type of study can be limited in several ways. Specifically, estimates of air pollution exposure are not perfect and it remains possible that something related to air pollution, but not air pollution itself (known as confounding), was responsible for the association. For these reasons and others, this study cannot prove that traffic-related air pollution causes changes in the right heart, but does strongly suggest the relationship.

“The morphologic changes in the right ventricle of the heart that we found with increased exposure to nitrogen dioxide add to the body of evidence supporting a connection between traffic-related air pollution and cardiovascular disease,” said Dr, Leary. “The many adverse effects of air pollution on human health support continued efforts to reduce this burden.”

Explore further: Ozone linked to heart disease deaths

Bloomberg: China Outsourcing Smog to West Region Stirs Protest

The following is an excerpt from a very eye-opening look at the pollution issues going on in China presented by Bloomberg News.

“China’s leaders want to lift the gray blanket of deadly smog that often chokes Beijing’s residents by shifting power plants to the less populated western part of the country inhabited by minorities. That’s turning into a nightmare for Ani Yetahon who lives in Oriliq, a village about 1,800 miles from the capital where some residents still walk to the well for their water.

Ever since a $2.1 billion plant that converts coal into natural gas began operating in August on a hill above his village, the 37-year-old ex-policeman and his family have suffered a burning sensation in their throats that keeps them awake at night. So have his fellow villagers, who also complain of dizziness and repeated colds.”

Continue reading the full article on the Bloomberg site.

Although we have our own issues with air pollution in the United States, I think we can all be thankful that we aren’t dealing with it at the same level as the people of China.

CAP Partners with E3Innovate for E3 Gives Program; Special Discounts Available for CAP Supporters

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for joining us on our journey to cleaner air in Middle Tennessee and for your support of our organization over the years. Your willingness to learn about what steps you can take to improve our air quality and to pass that knowledge on to others in our region is a large part of the improvements we’ve seen over the years.


E3innovate_Logo_HighRes (1)We’re excited to announce that local home performance company E3 INNOVATE has stepped up to help us raise our match. And, there’s good news for you as a CAP supporter!


E3 INNOVATE will contribute $50 to CAP for every E3 Standard or Basic Energy Assessment ordered by our supporters between now and March 31, 2014.


Over the past five years, E3 has helped homeowners across middle Tennessee save an average of 30% on their energy bills, resulting in annual average savings of 15,000 pounds of coal per house.


A Standard Energy Assessment from E3 INNOVATE will help determine where you are losing energy and will provide you with a road map of how to make your home more comfortable, reduce indoor air quality issues, and less expensive to operate.  Improvements offered by E3 INNOVATE to achieve a more efficient home include:

  • Crawl space sealing
  • Improved attic and basement insulation
  • Air sealing of the duct system and house envelope
  • HVAC analysis/testing
  • And much more….


Improving energy efficiency has a direct impact on CAP’s mission of reducing air pollution and creating healthier home and work environments.


To take advantage of this offer, call E3 INNOVATE at 615-876-5479. Identify yourself as a supporter of Clean Air Partnership of Middle TN and inform them you wish to take advantage of their E3 Gives program. Once the assessment is completed, $50 will be sent to us in your name.


The fee for a Standard Assessment for a home up to 3,500 square feet is is $385. The Basic Assessment fee is $150. E3 will provide a custom quote for assessments on homes over 3,500 square feet as the work involved in testing will take longer.


Additionally, CAP friends and supporters receive an additional $50.00 discount off a Standard Assessment or $25.00 Off a Basic Assessment.


As always, thank you for your continuing support of Clean Air Partnership.

London Planning New Bike Super Highway

Can you imagine a Middle Tennessee highway filled with bicycles instead of cars and trucks? It isn’t happening here yet, but check out this cool new design for London, England’s car-free highway!

Image courtesy of Fosters + Partners, originally posted on

Image courtesy of Fosters + Partners, originally posted on

According to an article by ADELE PETERS on, London’s population is expected to grow by about 2 million people! That doesn’t include the people expected to commute to the city from other parts of the country. London’s answer to population increase? Build a new bike super highway, of course.

The benefits of this type of plan are numerous.

  • less cars on the roadways
  • less air pollution
  • better health for residents

Read the full article here!



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 753 other followers