... gathering a lot of ‘green’ moss,” says Carol Lurie, principal with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc., Watertown, Mass., which is advising the port authority on Stewart.

Atlanta’s new international terminal will be built CM-at-risk, reflecting a growing industry trend.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport
Atlanta’s new international terminal will be built CM-at-risk, reflecting a growing industry trend.

At Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, a partnership with the utility Xcel Energy Co. has earned the airport about $1 million in rebates for about $5 million of energy-efficiency projects, says Steve Wareham, director of operations. A new chiller plant, replaced valves and pumps, relined sewers and other projects have saved the airport almost $500,000 a year in energy costs, he adds. “It seemed to good to be true,” he said of the rebate program. “We thought a $1-million annual capital program for energy would get repaid in five years. Some of the projects have paid us back in one to three.”

Despite such efforts, airports have always been an easy scapegoat regarding pollution—despite contributing only 2% to the global total of emissions, according to ACI. But now, “there is an emerging consciousness; we talked about it for the last 10 years and started taking action over the last five,” says Jim Grant, fueling and industrial services leader with HNTB Corp., Kansas City, Mo.

At Santa Barbara Airport, HNTB is involved in the design of a new $67-million, 63,000-sq-ft terminal, with sights set on a LEED Silver rating. It also is conducting a carbon-footprint study. Highlights include a transition from diesel to electric power for ground-service equipment, 35,000 sq ft of solar panels, waterless urinals, landscaping, 400-hertz gate chargers and canopies over the parking lots. A report is due next month, says Grant. Construction will be bid this summer.

Some specific “green” construction applications are newly available. Akron-Canton Airport implemented a system for capturing and treating aircraft deicer fluid, a big water-pollution problem . The federally funded $10-million system, created by a team led by Jacksonville-based Reynolds, Smith and Hills in 2005, is one of two operating in the world, along with one at Albany Airport, says RS&H Aviation Program Director Brian Reed.

The industry is working toward benchmarking best environmental practices on airport projects.
Tate Snyder Kinsey Architects
The industry is working toward benchmarking best environmental practices on airport projects.

Capable of processing up to 50 gallons of effluent per minute, the system consists of two concrete deicing pads, two prestressed-concrete 750,000-gallon storage tanks, and a treatment plant using an anaerobic fluidized- bed reactor system. “It’s a 40-ft-tall stainless steel tank” that allows bacteria to eat the glycol and leave behind methane and clear water, says Reed.

On the materials side, Baltimore-based Ceratech Inc. is hoping its new green-cement technology will be “the beginning of a paradigm shift for this marketplace,” says chief operating officer Jon Hyman. He says the firm’s ultra-high-performance cement-binder technology serves as an alternative to traditional Portland ready-mix concrete and consists of 95% “green, sustainable” recycled-waste materials. The firm is using the cement technology on U.S. Air Force runway repair projects and hopes to lure commercial clients, he says.

“The baseline filler used in most of the country is fly ash,” notes Hyman. “We use total pozzolan [volcanic ash].” He claims the pozzolonic mix can achieve 3,000 psi in just six hours and 10,000 psi in 28 days and can be placed in temperatures ranging from 30º F to 120º F without post-hydration curing.

Los Angeles International Airport is undertaking its largest project ever; a $723.5-million makeover of its international terminal. An extra $10 million was added to comply with a sustainable building policy adopted by the board of airport commissioners. Contractors will be encouraged to go green as much as possible by Los Angeles World Airports, which issued a sustainability manual in January.

“We shamelessly plagiarized” the manual developed at Chicago O’Hare Airport , says Roger A. Johnson, LAWA’s deputy executive director of technology, facilities and environmental planning. “We tried to take the principles of sustainability from project planning to design to construction itself,” he adds. “We’ve applied them to flat work as well as horizontal construction.”

Contractors at LAX will also be encouraged to go green in other ways, like carpooling or using low-emission construction equipment. “There’s not yet a set standard, but we’re getting there,” says Nancy Hamilton, Arup’s Americas aviation section leader in Chicago.

Efforts are under way by ACI and the Transportation Research Board to identify sustainability benchmarks for airports. Officials recommend going beyond LEED standards. “As an airport industry, we can be myopic,” says Paul Shank, deputy executive director of facilities at BWI. “There are plenty of other transportation models and [other industry] business practices we can emulate in the airport business.”