National Academies Press: OpenBook

Guidebook for Developing a Zero- or Low-Emissions Roadmap at Airports (2021)

Chapter: Appendix B - Frequently Asked Questions About Emissions Planning

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B - Frequently Asked Questions About Emissions Planning." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Guidebook for Developing a Zero- or Low-Emissions Roadmap at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25677.
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Page 83
Page 84
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B - Frequently Asked Questions About Emissions Planning." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Guidebook for Developing a Zero- or Low-Emissions Roadmap at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25677.
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Page 84

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B-1   Frequently Asked Questions About Emissions Planning What are Greenhouse Gas Emissions? Carbon dioxide (CO2) makes up the majority of GHG emissions with much lesser contribu- tions from nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4) and other compounds that contribute to global warming. For example, fossil fuels release CO2 when used to generate electricity, in furnaces, and to power vehicles. Why Reduce Airport-Related GHG Emissions? Environmental, social, and financial reasons exist to reduce GHG emissions at airports. States and localities around the country have introduced goals to reduce GHGs and lessen their contributions to global warming impacts, and airport GHG reduction initiatives can play an important role in achieving these goals. Since GHG emissions are directly related to energy consumption, reducing or eliminating GHGs can lower energy bills and airport operating costs. GHG reduction measures at airports can produce also result in producing an additional added benefit by reducing their criteria pollution emissions. What are the GHG Emission Sources at Airports? Airport-controlled carbon emissions sources result from the following: use of gasoline and diesel fuel in vehicles; fossil fuel for heating; electricity for lighting and heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC); and other sources. What is the First Step in Reducing GHG Emissions? Estimating the amount of GHGs from different airport sources is the first step. This is necessary to develop a plan for achieving reductions. There are several easy-to-use tools such as Airport Carbon and Emissions Reporting Tool (ACERT) to estimate airport related GHGs. How Can Airport-Related CO2 Be Reduced? Energy saving measures, such as switching to light-emitting diode (LED) lights and improving insulation, are examples of low-cost approaches to reduce GHG emissions. Purchasing renew- able energy credits or installing renewable energy technologies on-site at the airport are other examples. How Can These Initiatives Be Financed? There are state and federal incentives to assist with energy savings measures. In addition, tax exempt leases, renewable energy cooperatives, power purchase agreements, and other mecha- nisms provide airports with low risk and low cost approaches to reduce GHG emissions. Grant programs, such as the Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) Program, can be used in some instances. A P P E N D I X B

B-2 Guidebook for Developing a Zero- or Low-Emissions Roadmap at Airports Why Aren’t Tenant Emissions Included? Most airports have not included GHG emissions associated with tenant activities—such as aircraft, shops, food service, or passenger vehicle trips—in their inventories. A primary reason for this is that airports do not control the activities of these businesses. Which Emissions are under the Airport’s Control? Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are considered airport controlled. This primarily includes emissions from airport-owned and operated vehicles (e.g., security, maintenance) and on-site electricity and steam generation. According to the IPCC, aviation is responsible for approxi- mately 2% of man-made CO2 emissions, but this value does not include airport Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Does It Make Sense to Replace Aircraft APU Energy with Electricity from a Coal Fired Power Station? Installing Fixed Electrical Ground Power (FEGP) and Pre-Conditioned Air (PCA) will reduce auxiliary power unit (APU) usage and thus emissions from aircraft at an airport. However, it will also increase either the airport’s Scope 3 emissions from electricity sold to tenants or Scope 1 emissions if the airport has its own power. A large power station with coal generation will generate electricity more efficiently and with lower GHG emissions than an aircraft APU. Which Scope is Electricity Provided by an Airport to Tenants? If an airport operator uses electricity meters to measure power usage and then charges airlines and other tenants for their usage, the associated emissions should be Scope 2 or Scope 3. If the airport operator initially purchased the electricity from an electricity provider, the associ- ated emissions should be Scope 3 and Scope 3A emissions, as the airport operator may be able to work with tenants to reduce electricity use. If, however, the airport operator generates the electricity from its own on-site station, these will be Scope 1 emissions. Which Scope Includes Leased Buildings, Equipment, and Vehicles? The boundaries of leased assets (such as building space, equipment, or vehicles) are determined by the selected organizational boundary and type of lease. Several factors determine how the accounting is performed, including the fraction of the year in which the asset is leased. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard provides addi- tional information on how to handle leased assets (WBCSD and WRI 2015). What are the Best Calculators for Estimating Emissions at an Airport? There are several easy-to-use GHG emissions inventory tools. One example is Airport Council International’s Airport Carbon and Emissions Reporting Tool (ACERT) (ACI 2019). Other examples are included in research by the ACRP resources. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has developed a calculator to assess CO2 emissions from air travel. The ICAO Calculator allows passengers to estimate the emissions attributed to their air travel in a simple way and requires only a limited amount of information from the user (ICAO 2019). The ICAO Calculator allows passengers to estimate emissions attributed to their air travel in a simple manner, requiring a limited amount of information from the user (ICAO 2019).

Next: Appendix C - Examples of Emissions and Technology Roadmaps »
Guidebook for Developing a Zero- or Low-Emissions Roadmap at Airports Get This Book
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Airports worldwide are setting aggressive zero- or low-emissions targets. To meet these targets, airports are deploying new strategies, adopting innovative financing mechanisms, and harnessing the collective influence of voluntary emissions and reporting programs. In tandem, new and affordable zero- or low-emissions technologies are rapidly becoming available at airports.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program's pre-publication draft of ACRP Research Report 220: Guidebook for Developing a Zero- or Low-Emissions Roadmap at Airports covers all steps of roadmap development, from start to finish, using conceptual diagrams, examples, best practices, and links to external tools and resources. While the main focus of this Guidebook is airport‐controlled greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it provides discussion about airport‐influenced emissions from airlines, concessionaires, and passengers.

Whereas other guidebooks and reference material provide airports with information on emissions mitigation and management (for example, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Carbon Emissions Reduction, ACRP Report 11: Guidebook on Preparing Airport Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories, and the Airport Council International’s Guidance Manual: Airport Greenhouse Gas Emissions Management), this Guidebook articulates steps for creating an airport‐specific emissions roadmap.

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