National Academies Press: OpenBook

Airport Sustainability Practices (2016)

Chapter: Summary

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Suggested Citation:"Summary ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Airport Sustainability Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23644.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Airport Sustainability Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23644.
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AIRPORT SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICES ACRP has conducted multiple research projects dedicated to documenting the sustainability endeavors of airports in the United States and beyond. Since the early 2000s, as shown by the proliferation of sus- tainability initiatives, projects, research, and funding (including the FAA’s Sustainability Master Plan program), airport sustainability has evolved considerably; and airports of all sizes and most geographic areas are pursuing sustainability practices targeting environmental protection, social responsibility, and contributions to local economies. In 2008, spurred by this evolution, the Sustainable Aviation Guidance Alliance (SAGA) website was developed by a coalition of aviation organizations to assist airport opera- tors in developing sustainability programs. The goal of SAGA is to consolidate existing information about sustainability, including introductory material on what sustainability is and how it is applied at airports; processes for planning and maintaining sustainability programs; and sustainable design and construction practices. The website contains entries on more than 900 sustainability practices that were developed by SAGA’s initial stakeholder group. However, roughly two-thirds of these entries do not contain actual practice data. Stakeholders in SAGA have recognized the need for continued enhancement of the website, not only in its structure but in its content. This synthesis is intended to contribute to both of these objectives by generating data on 10 sustainability practices that have yet to be documented in SAGA, and by promoting use of SAGA by a new group of users. The project includes case examples generated by seven airport operators, two airlines, and one con- cessionaire from facilities in a range of geographic locations. The practice topics span issues relating to sustainability management, waste reduction, social responsibility, climate change, and water quality, as follows: SUMMARY Number Practice Case Example Primary SAGA Practice Category 1 Develop an Asset or Infrastructure Management Plan Dallas Fort–Worth International Airport Economic Performance 2 Develop and implement an Environmental Management System to track progress in improving environmental performance Reno Tahoe International Airport Economic Performance 3 Integrate climate resilience considerations in airport development projects Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Economic Performance 4 Tie sustainability goals and objectives into the operations and maintenance and capital improvement program budget process San Diego International Airport Energy & Climate 5 Donate surplus equipment and other goods to charity American Airlines Engagement & Leadership 6 Donate surplus food to charity HMS Host Engagement & Leadership 7 Develop an onsite materials recovery facility Charlotte–Douglas International Airport Water & Waste 8 Use recovered glycol as a “feedstock” for reformulated aircraft de-icing fluid, vehicle anti-freeze, aircraft lavatory fluid, coolants, coatings, and paints Wayne County Airport Authority or Denver International Airport Water & Waste 9 Establish an Airport Composting Program Vancouver International Airport Water & Waste 10 Upcycle materials from indoor advertising United Airlines Water & Waste

2 These case examples describe sustainability practices useful to practitioners interested in promot- ing economic vitality, operational efficiency, natural resource protection, and/or social responsibility at airports. The case examples can be found online in the SAGA database. Although SAGA is geared toward assisting airport practitioners in determining the potential rep- licability of successful sustainability practices, the universe of sustainability initiatives continues to expand, and the definition of “successful” practices continues to evolve. Sustainability professionals are often faced with the need to justify the business case for pursuing sustainability initiatives in terms of payback, return on investment, and revenue enhancement. However, airports are increasingly aware that their ability to operate and grow is directly connected to their success in fostering a positive sustain- ability reputation and generating goodwill. Thus, there appears to be an increased interest in community stewardship and social responsibility initiatives whose payback in financial terms is less clear than that of more traditional sustainability efforts such as energy efficiency projects. This evolution is illustrated in a number of the practices and case examples captured through this synthesis.

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TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 77: Airport Sustainability Practices compiles information about airport sustainability practices and adds them to the Sustainable Aviation Guidance Alliance (SAGA) website. The SAGA website was developed to assist airport operators in developing sustainability programs and provide guidance to those who have new data to input. The website contains entries on more than 900 sustainability practices that were developed by SAGA’s initial stakeholder group. However, a large percentage of these entries do not contain actual practice data.

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