National Academies Press: OpenBook

Revolving Funds for Sustainability Projects at Airports (2019)

Chapter: Chapter 6 - Conclusions

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Page 50
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 6 - Conclusions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Revolving Funds for Sustainability Projects at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25567.
Page 50

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50 GRFs are a promising option for airports seeking to improve their sustainability performance. The FAA has reviewed the GRF approach described in this report and finds that there are no regulations that would prevent an airport pursuing a GRF. While many of the traditional federal government grants cannot be used directly as seed funding, GRFs can be started without any new sources of capital using savings generated from already installed efficiency projects. Although airlines and other airport stakeholders may be unfamiliar with the GRF approach, airports can work with these stakeholders to explain how a GRF works and collabo­ rate on fund implementation. Airport­sponsored GRFs may only make sense for larger airports that spend at least $1 mil­ lion annually on utilities. However, the VARF offers an alternative state model that could enable multiple smaller airports to participate without requiring the full implementation responsibilities. This could expand GRF adoption on a statewide basis to GA airports. For airport early adopters, GRFs are a well­established method for generating new sustain­ ability funding that has been tested and refined in higher education and municipalities. Indi­ vidual champions must be willing to navigate in some level of uncertainty to advance GRFs at their airports and unlock this new financing mechanism. C H A P T E R 6 Conclusions

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Airports continually balance demands to improve infrastructure within the realities of available budgets. Green revolving funds (GRFs) offer an alternative approach for investing in projects that generate operational savings. These funds work by tracking verified cost reductions from implemented actions, and then transferring those savings to a reserve that provides capital for future qualified projects such as energy system upgrades.

A number of universities have managed GRFs for over a decade. Municipalities are starting to adopt them as well. ACRP Research Report 203: Revolving Funds for Sustainability Projects at Airports includes several non-airport-related case examples that have managed GRFs and two airport-related case examples. Airports require a modified GRF approach because of financial structures, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulatory requirements, airline agreements, and the wide range of tenant roles.

This ACRP report provides guidance to determine whether this innovative funding approach is suitable for a particular airport and instructions on how to deploy it. Airports that have the ability and determination to launch a GRF will gain a robust method for advancing their sustainability goals.

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