The 4 Most Environmentally Friendly Airports in North America

The Airports Council International–North America (ACI-NA) has published the winners of the 2016 ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Awards.

The five airports recognised have demonstrated industry leadership though their environmental and sustainability programmes.

Each year, since 1997, ACI-NA has recognised airport members for their efforts to protect and preserve the environment through specific programs, initiatives, or projects.

Airports can win one of four award categories.

  • Environmental Management
  • Mitigation
  • Outreach/Education/Community Involvement
  • Innovative/Special Projects

The awards are based on submissions for consideration and entries are judged by a panel of four judges on their environmental benefit, innovation, effective implementation, widespread applicability, and cost effectiveness.

Winning airports must demonstrate how their projects qualify in each of these objectives.

In 2014, the ACI-NA Environmental Affairs Committee added a new category which recognises an individual for outstanding contributions under the “Peer Recognition for Outstanding Individual Contribution and Leadership” Award.

Candidates are nominated by peers in the Committee and confirmed by Committee Leadership.

Judging the awards this year were Paul Bowers, Publisher, Airport Improvement magazine; Matthew Griffin, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Airport Consultants Council; Jody Proctor, Director, Environmental Policy Analysis and Evaluation, Transport Canada; and Thomas Cuddy, Environmental Protection Specialist, Federal Aviation Administration.

This year’s winners of the ACI-NA environmental honours are:

Tampa International Airport

TPA pano

Don Miller from Venice, United States – TPA pano

Winner of Environmental Management Award:  Tampa International Airport won because of its Legacy of Environmental Actions for the Future” (LEAF) project, which is part of the airport’s  Sustainable Management Plan program. LEAF includes 22 environmental goals, and 36 initiatives, like: reducing greenhouse gas emissions and potable water use; increasing recycling and energy efficiency; improving employee health and wellness; and supporting the local community.

Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Gerald Ford Airport FAQ
Source: Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Winner of Mitigation Award: Gerald R. Ford International airport’s Sustainable Stormwater/ Deicing Runoff Control” project appealed to the judges as the best entry in this category.  It consists of a comprehensive planning and design process which engaged stakeholders both at airport and in its community to find solutions for glycol-impacted stormwater runoff from the airport.

Vancouver Airport Authority

Vancouver Airport Aquarium and Creek-2
Enter a caption Aquarium and Creek Source: Vancouver Airport Authority

Winner of Outreach, Education and Community Involvement Award Category: Vancouver Airport Authority won for its “Waste Wars” project, which was designed to increase composting from airport food and beverage concessionaires while reducing solid waste. The project involved airport tenant training and engagement, and reduced the amount of waste sent to landfills from the airport by over 10% in just a few months. This project is part of Vancouver’s commitment to divert 50% waste from landfills by 2020.

Nashville International Airport

Winner of Special/Innovative Projects Award Category: Nashville International Airport won the Special/Innovative Projects award for their “Geothermal Lake Plate Cooling System” project. The project uses an existing quarry as a geothermal lake plate cooling system (the largest in North America) which provides water for the airport’’s cooling and irrigation systems. The project lowers the airport’s reliance on electricity and reducing greenhouse gas, and other air pollutant emissions. It also reduces the amount of potable water the airport uses.

The judges also selected two runners-up in two of the categories: Allegheny County Airport Authority and Dayton International Airport.

““Minimising our industry’’s environmental footprint not only protects valuable natural resources, but it also makes great business sense because we know that sustainable business habits reduce operating costs,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke.

The winner of this year’’s “Peer Recognition for Outstanding Individual Contribution and Leadership” Award is Paul Manasjan, Environmental Affairs Director for San Diego International Airport.

“Manasjan has served as the Chair of the Sustainability Working Group, in which he has facilitated the exchange of information and best practices on sustainability initiatives, expanded the Sustainability Working Group, and championed an effort to elevate sustainability within ACI-NA.  Paul has dedicated much of his time and a wealth of experience with ACI-NA, and the Committee looks forward to his continued leadership,” the organisation writes.

Award winners get to present their projects and receive their awards at the 2016 ACI-NA Airports@Work Conference, taking place on April 18-21 in Austin, TX.

Previous Years Winners, and more details on the awards, can be found here on the ACI-NA website.

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