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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Airport Greenhouse Gas Reduction Efforts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25609.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Airport Greenhouse Gas Reduction Efforts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25609.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Airport Greenhouse Gas Reduction Efforts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25609.
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1 With a broadening awareness of climate change—as reinforced by the recent publication of two influential studies: the Fourth National Climate Assessment report (USGCRP, 2018) and Global Warming of 1.5°C (IPCC, 2018)—the aviation industry continues to expand its efforts to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to adjust operations in the air and on the ground to reduce environmental impacts. Airports, which serve as the focal points and control centers for air travel, have been working to minimize GHG emissions while simultaneously meeting growing passenger demands. Many of these actions were catalogued in 2011 in ACRP Report 56: Handbook for Considering Practical Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Strategies for Airports (Lemaster and Vigilante, 2011). As illuminated in ACRP Report 56, decisive airport measures to reduce GHG emissions are often embedded in the standard operational functions that facilitate safe and efficient aviation. Newer strategies and programs to reduce GHG emissions reach beyond airport operations to incorporate the traveling public. The resulting array of airport GHG reduc- tion initiatives is varied and complex, requiring investigation and analysis to determine their effectiveness. Documenting these GHG reduction efforts, both industry-wide and airport specific, can provide valuable examples to airports seeking to adopt similar practices. In response, this report has been prepared (1) to assess the state of practice of GHG emissions reduction initiatives at airports, and (2) to report lessons learned to support the successful implementation of future GHG reduction projects. Using ACRP Report 56 as a starting point, this report presents findings on the progress of practices, tools, and strategies to measure and reduce GHG emissions at airports. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to collect information for this report. The quantitative data resulted from stakeholders who elected to participate in an industry survey that requested general information on airport GHG reduction efforts in relation to present industry trends. The qualitative data came from telephone interviews with selected airports in which stakeholders discussed specific airport GHG reduction efforts in detail (i.e., the case examples). Key findings were reported in response to both the survey and the telephone interviews conducted for this report. The industry survey was created using a web-based, interactive tool; it was distributed to 255 airport staff members/potential participants via email. Eighty- five airports representing all airport types and regions completed the survey, providing significant insight into the extent of and interest in GHG reduction initiatives. The case examples, drawn from the telephone interviews with airport staff, provide first-hand per- spective on the planning and implementation of selected GHG reduction practices. Specific details gathered during this process, as well as overall lessons learned, offer guidance to other airports considering similar initiatives. In all, 17 case examples of GHG reduction practices S U M M A R Y Airport Greenhouse Gas Reduction Efforts

2 Airport Greenhouse Gas Reduction Efforts were prepared from airports that varied in size and geography to provide the broadest appli- cability. Selection of practices was initially identified from those listed in ACRP Report 56 and from research of a diverse group of airports employing different practices. The resulting data, gathered from the industry survey and the case examples, include infor- mation not often documented in existing literature and support a variety of conclusions: 1. The data demonstrate that airports are adapting to technological innovations to max- imize their GHG reduction assisted by broader market forces that have made such technologies available and cost competitive. Funding for GHG-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. 2. Large airports are at the forefront of adopting innovative GHG reduction strategies and pushing the limits of public policy and creative financing. Large airports are taking the lead in moving beyond reduction strategies for their own emissions (Scope 1 and 2) and tackling those produced by tenants and the traveling public (Scope 3) by supporting the use of alternative fuels and directing passengers to airport carbon offset platforms. 3. Airports are actively benchmarking emission reduction progress in comparison with similar efforts at airports around the world by using frameworks employed by the indus- try globally, such as the Airport Carbon Accreditation Program and the airport carbon emissions reporting tool (ACERT), to measure their GHG emissions. 4. Innovative approaches are allowing airports to address rapidly changing consumer behaviors, like those presented in recent years by ridesharing companies (also referred to as transportation network companies or TNCs). These policy-based solutions offer the potential for wider adoption as they enable airports to act without significant capital expenditures. 5. It is clear that airports regard energy-efficiency measures to be the most effective prac- tice to reducing GHG emissions. Smaller airports, in particular, are adopting new tech- nologies 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 indus- try because of the cost savings and the environmental benefits of the new technology. Survey respondents identified the following highly effective GHG reduction strategies: • Replacing existing lighting with LEDs • Upgrading old heating and cooling systems with new high-efficiency models • Erecting solar photovoltaic modules and solar thermal panels • Converting diesel shuttle buses to natural gas and electric • Implementing preconditioned air and 400 Hz ground power systems • Developing charging stations for airline use of electric ground support equipment • Installing a ground source heating system • Purchasing renewable energy from the utility or a third-party provider • Reusing material during construction to reduce truck trips • Designing and constructing high-efficiency buildings • Procuring and installing electric vehicle charging stations for airport and public use Although the study found many specific lessons learned for individual projects, which are included in each of the case examples, survey respondents provided the following general comments: • Learn from other airports’ experiences. • Although important for all airport development projects, the participation of and close coordination with airline partners is essential to the overall success of some specific projects, such as gate electrification systems and electric ground support equipment.

Summary 3 • Early adopters need to learn by trial and error. • Thoroughly researching the experiences of other similar in-state installations will help an airport understand the advantages and disadvantages of the system, specifically as it would operate locally. • Working with a consultant can help make the detailed and sometimes taxing grant approval process more effective and efficient. It is also apparent from the study that, regardless of size, all airports have a role to play in advancing GHG reduction initiatives. Small airports have demonstrated leadership by using their less complex organizational structure to implement newer technologies and to serve as a proving ground for their feasibility. Large airports have the economic stability and staffing resources necessary to grow in-house expertise and fund comprehensive new programs. All of these contributions serve to further the adoption of GHG reduction initia- tives across the United States and the global airport industry. In aggregating the data, gaps in the knowledge base—such as the lack of a single, compre- hensive source of U.S. airport GHG emissions data—have been uncovered. Additionally, airport staff responding to the industry survey specified that further information on funding sources would be most helpful to pursuing future projects. Additional research needs that were identified include the following: • While the research has demonstrated that energy efficiency remains the most effective GHG reduction strategy, a study of the extent of energy efficiency upgrades at nonhub and general aviation airports is necessary. Funding for a widespread energy efficiency program would also invest in the long-term financial sustainability of these aviation assets by reducing their operational costs. • GHG reduction programs that are based on reaching emerging markets, such as those associated with carbon offsets and ridesharing TNCs, represent a significant opportu- nity to rapidly transform emission reductions at airports. These opportunities should be evaluated to determine the potential for programmatic application across the industry. • The Airport Carbon Accreditation Program is a consistent emissions benchmarking framework that has been adopted domestically and internationally. More awareness of the program among U.S. airports could support greater participation and could lead to more systematic engagement in airport GHG reduction activities. • ACRP Report 56 remains an important resource for airports that are considering GHG reduction upgrades. While this synthesis report includes the state of practices for GHG reduction initiatives, it does not update the valuable information in ACRP Report 56. Therefore, it is recommended that ACRP Report 56 be updated to include changes in technology, markets, and financial incentives that have come into play since 2011. This report shows that airports are responding to the demand for increased air travel with sustainable development that incorporates more energy-efficient and lower-emission technologies. The GHG reduction initiatives that have been implemented offer the industry valuable insight into how these projects can be successfully replicated. They also expose the challenges to expanding their adoption throughout the complex and interconnected trans- portation network of which each airport serves as a single junction point.

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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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