How Green Is Your Airport?

AirportGreen practices, including sustainability, aren’t only for aircraft. Airports today have an important role to play in mitigating their ecological impacts. To date, many airports have begun undertaking sustainability projects in not only in response to mandatory regulations, but also to conserve energy, reduce operating costs, and be better corporate citizens in their communities.

Airport sustainability practices

According to the Sustainable Aviation Guidance Alliance (SAGA), which has identified a set of well-defined measures and guidelines for airport sustainability, some of the practices airports are implementing include:

  • Participating in LEED programs
  • Using metrics to assess sustainability
  • Implementing recycling programs
  • Improving water efficiency and stormwater management
  • Using electric vehicles (EV) for ground transportation
  • Adhering to sustainable construction practices
  • Activating noise reduction programs
  • Improving indoor air quality

FAA’s green incentives

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has outlined several programs that are meant to encourage airports to become more sustainable. One of these is the Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) program, which is intended to reduce many types of airport ground emissions. Another is the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which provides grants to public and private entities for airport infrastructure improvement — including airport sustainability planning.

The FAA recently awarded $10.2 million in VALE grants to six major airports. The airports can use these funds for air-quality improvement and emissions-reduction projects, such as acquiring low-emission vehicles, adding EV recharging stations, and automating gates.

While airport sustainability efforts may be less visible than other green initiatives in the aviation industry, small and large airports across the U.S. are jumping on the green wagon. Incentives, government climate mandates, and greater public support mean we should see more airports adopting sustainability initiatives in the coming months.

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