How can airports decrease their environmental footprints?
It is no secret that airplanes, much like cars, emit too many greenhouse gases. However, airports can take steps and make an effort to decrease their environmental footprints by adopting green building practices and recycling programs. An airport can lessen its impact on the environment through a variety of ways.
One environmentally friendly tactic that some airports have been putting to good use is the implementation of wind turbines. Boston Logan International Airport has a fleet of 20 miniature wind turbines, each of which generates 100,000 kilowatt-hours every year. Though this is only 3% of the energy that the building needs, that is at least 3% less impact on the environment. If all airports could do this, the method would surely add up. East Midlands Airport in England has also installed two wind turbines, making it the first airport in the United Kingdom to do this.
Aircraft plug-in power
Boston Logan International Airport is using not only wind turbines and solar panels, but also aircraft plug-in power options at every gate, to prevent airplanes from using the auxiliary power units as much while parked at the gates. This decreases the carbon footprint of each plane, which lessens the environmental impact of the airport as a whole. With everything that it does to lessen its environmental impact, Boston Logan is one of the most eco-friendly airports in the United States.
East Midlands Airport has a unique recycling program that includes wood, metals, cardboard, glass and light filaments. Denver International Airport in the United States also lessens its environmental impact through recycling, by recycling its restaurant grease, organics, aircraft deicing fluid, glass and demolition materials. The Seattle-Tacoma airport recycles things like cooking oil and coffee grounds, and also encourages recycling by charging airport retailers for disposing of items in the trash, while recycling is free.
If all airports were to adopt environmentally friendly practices such as wind turbines, better recycling programs, and aircraft plug-in power, the overall impact of airports on the environment would lessen. Other ways that some airports have put into practice to lessen their footprints are the implementation of hybrid airport vehicles and the use of solar panels. Like any building, an airport can adopt green building practices, such as using rainwater to flush toilets and the use of cleaning supplies with fewer chemicals. A good amount of airports seem to be headed in the right direction, and it won’t be long before airports decrease their overall impact on the environment.