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Guidebook for Developing a Zero- or Low-Emissions Roadmap at Airports (2020)

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. 2020. 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 101
Page 102
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Frequently Asked Questions about Emissions Planning." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. 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 102

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  B‐1    Appendix B: Frequently Asked Questions about Emissions Planning   What are Greenhouse Gas Emissions?  Carbon dioxide (CO2) makes up the majority of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with much lesser  contributions 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 ACERT to estimate  airport related GHGs. There are several easy‐to‐use tools such as 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. Other examples include: Purchasing  renewable 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 mechanisms 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 be used.  Why Aren’t Tenant Emissions Included? 

  B‐2    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 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 approximately 2% of man‐made CO2  emissions, but this value does not include airport Scope 1 and 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 3. If the airport operator  initially purchased the electricity from an electricity provider, the associated 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 GHG Protocol, Chapter 13  has additional information on how to handle leased assets (GHG Protocol 2015). The GHG Protocol,  Chapter 13, provides additional information on how to handle leased assets (GHG Protocol 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). One is Airport Council  International's Airport Carbon and Emissions Reporting Tool (ACERT) (ACI 2019). Other examples are  included in research by the Airport Cooperative Research Program (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: Recommended Additional Research »
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-publicaton 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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