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14 While there is no one sustainability practice or initiative that will work at every airport, the results of this research have shown that two elements are prevalent at airports with sustainability success stories: (1) the organization has a âchampionâ of sustainability and (2) the organization has a sustainability plan. This section describes these elements and provides background on the common challenges associated with each (Figure 2). 3.1 Vision and Innovation A sustainability champion can be one person or it can be a group of people who believe in the benefits of sustainability and are willing to address the questions and concerns of those decision makers and stakeholders who are skeptical. A champion will help direct the organization toward a cohesive vision for sustainability. In addition, support from leadership allows frontline staff to view an idea as both adaptable to the local airport environment, as well as compatible with other materials/existing values or culture within the organization as a whole. 3.1.1 Applicability to Airports of All Sizes There is increasing attention to and awareness of green and sustainable initiatives in design and construction, not only in commercial and residential properties, but in airport improve- ments as well. There is widespread belief that incorporating these initiatives into projects may have higher initial costs, but there is little knowledge as to what the benefits may be. In some cases, lack of understanding and perception of increased costs has inhibited the implementation of these concepts and technologies into traditional airport projects, particularly those projects not planned and designed with sustainability in mind. In addition, there is the perception that only major commercial service airports can benefit from sustainable initiatives due to large capi- tal investments that must be made. 3.1.2 Common Challenges Deciding to pursue a sustainable approach and understanding how to proceed toward that goal are two different things. While many airports are intrigued about incorporating sustain- ability in their planning, many questions arise about how and where to begin. Common chal- lenges among champions of sustainability within an organization are adequately addressing the concerns of decision makers who frequently want to know: What resources are available? How do you compare conventional equipment and technology with new equipment or approaches? What is important for integrating new equipment into existing systems and how do you ensure you achieve the expected benefits? What works and what doesnât? Will this really save money Approaching Sustainability at Airports C h a p t e r 3
approaching Sustainability at airports 15 in the long term? The case studies conducted through this research sought to answer these important questions. Through the research and case studies, it has been determined that those who incorporate sustainability into their projects save time and money; that is what the industry is reporting overall. 3.2 Developing a Sustainability Plan A sustainability plan can be developed for an organization as a whole and/or for a specific project. When developed for an organization as a whole, it can be as simple as a Corporate Sustainability Policy or Vision Statement. When developed for a project, it can be a description outlining what is to be improved, retrofit, upgraded, replaced, enhanced, or corrected as a result of the project completion, and this can be developed for all projects regardless of size, scope, or scale. The description of the project should be as comprehensive as possible and include (as appropriate) regulatory, guidance, and operational documents. In either case, the goal is to define in writing, a statement, which at a minimum, clearly states an organizationâs or a projectâs sustainability vision and/or goals. 3.2.1 Establishing Objectives and Metrics Moving beyond development of a basic vision statement and high-level sustainability goals, it can be beneficial to also develop specific objectives to meet in pursuit of each goal, as well as the metrics used to determine when or how the goal will be met. Figure 2. Flowchart to approaching sustainability at airports.
16 Guidebook for Incorporating Sustainability into traditional airport projects The following are examples of sustainability objectives, target goals, and minimum thresholds that can be identified and established for an overall organizational sustainability plan and a spe- cific sustainability plan developed for a project: â¢ Reduce energy use per square foot of facilities on a percentage basis or on a per passenger or customer basis â¢ Increase use of renewable energy on a percentage basis â¢ Reduce water use on a percentage basis â¢ Reduce number of pollutant exceedences and concentration of pollutants at the âend of the pipeâ (e.g., SADF, pH, TDS, petroleum sheens) â¢ Identify and reduce sources of pollutants â¢ Reduce percentage of failed Best Management Practices (BMPs) â¢ Reduce number of noise complaints received and incompatible land uses authorized in adja- cent cities â¢ Reduce the volume of solid waste generated from sources airport-wide â¢ Increase volume of recycled waste generated from sources airport-wide â¢ Reduce volume of hazardous waste generated â¢ Increase procurement of environmentally friendly products â¢ Increase staff, tenant, and/or public education and outreach initiatives, including, but not limited to the following: â Develop Environmental Stewardship Training (âEco-Trainingâ) for employees, contrac- tors, tenants, concessionaires â Implement or require training programs as part of tenant leasehold â Provide educational materials to passengers and visitors in public terminal areas, gate hold- rooms, parking areas, and similar areas â Use kiosks and informational displays to inform and generate interest 3.2.2 Closing the Feedback Loop In order for plans, goals, and objectives to be truly sustainable, it is important for key manag- ers, decision makers, and stakeholders to meet periodically to determine if plans are working and, if not, how to make improvements. The following questions are designed to facilitate dis- cussions at such meetings: â¢ Are the goals, targets, and measures reasonable? Why or why not? â¢ Were the planned sustainability measures implemented? Why or why not? â¢ Were additional sustainability measures that were not originally identified implemented? Why or why not? â¢ Are sustainability goals and targets on track to be met? Why or why not? â¢ Are the anticipated benefits on target to be achieved? Why or why not? â¢ Are the tracking and reporting mechanisms working as anticipated? Why or why not? â¢ Are there recommended improvements, enhancements, or âlessons learnedâ that can be applied to future projects?