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Airport Greenhouse Gas Reduction Efforts

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Airports in the United States are responding to the demand for increased air travel with sustainable development that incorporates more energy-efficient and lower-emission technologies. Funding for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions-reducing technologies, such as electrification, alternative fuels, and renewable energy, has also become more accessible as technologies are proven to be safe, reliable, and cost-effective.

Newer strategies and programs to reduce GHG emissions reach beyond airport operations to incorporate the traveling public. These are among the findings in the TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program's ACRP Synthesis 100: Airport Greenhouse Gas Reduction Efforts. The report assesses (1) the state of practice of GHG emissions reduction initiatives at airports, and (2) the lessons learned to support the successful implementation of future GHG reduction projects.

The report also finds that large airports are taking the lead in moving beyond reduction strategies for their own emissions and tackling those produced by tenants and the traveling public by supporting the use of alternative fuels and directing passengers to airport carbon offset platforms.

It is clear that airports regard energy-efficiency measures to be the most effective practice to reducing GHG emissions. Smaller airports, in particular, are adopting new technologies associated with more efficient heating and cooling infrastructure and lighting systems because they decrease energy consumption and make economic sense. GHG reduction projects are being implemented by different types of airports across the industry because of the cost savings and the environmental benefits of the new technology.

Airports are actively benchmarking emission-reduction progress in comparison with similar efforts at airports around the world by using frameworks employed by the industry globally, such as the Airport Carbon Accreditation Program and the airport carbon emissions reporting tool (ACERT), to measure their GHG emissions.

Innovative approaches are allowing airports to address rapidly changing consumer behaviors, like those presented in recent years by transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft. These policy-based solutions offer the potential for wider adoption as they enable airports to act without significant capital expenditures.

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Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Airport Greenhouse Gas Reduction Efforts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25609.

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Publication Info

118 pages | 8.5 x 11
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17226/25609
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