Every year, airports around the world cater to millions of travelers and with so much passenger traffic, it’s important to maintain a reduced carbon footprint. From green building materials to recycling programs to solar panels and more, here are some airports around the world that are working hard to go green:
Chicago O’Hare International Airport
As one of the busiest airports in the world, Chicago O’Hare may surprise you as one of the greenest, as well. With features like rain water collection, solar panels and wind turbines for energy, rooftop gardens, waste water recycling, green fleet vehicles, and electric vehicle charging stations, O’Hare proves to be pretty eco-friendly. And don’t forget about the world’s largest bee apiary, home to over one million bees.
Denver International Airport
Nestled at the base of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Denver International has worked hard to reduce its carbon footprint. It not only uses natural gas for nearly all of its operations (which span over 5.5 million square feet), but the structure itself is also LEED Gold Certified. In addition, it boasts a solar panel farm and recycles more than 20 different materials including restaurant grease, aircraft deicing fluid, organics, glass, and demolition materials
Switzerland’s largest airport is also its greenest, and its efforts may surprise some. While many airports lack effective noise pollution control, Zurich Airport goes the extra mile to make sure that the proper fees are charged for aircraft noise based on type or category. The airport also created an air and water management program that uses rain water for toilet flushing, works to reduce its emissions, and recycles aircraft deicing fluid.
Boston Logan International Airport
Boston Logan lead the green airport movement by being the first airport to receive a LEED Certification. It earned the certification by constructing the building from recycled materials and incorporating a heat-reflecting roofing system as well as installing solar panels and wind turbines for energy. In addition, it developed an eco-friendly asphalt that reduced its CO2 emissions and implemented natural gas and fueling stations and electric vehicle charging stations.
East Midlands Airport
Like Zurich Airport, England’s East Midlands Airport has a strict noise pollution policy to keep excess noise in check and wind turbines to generate energy. In addition, it has been recognized for its recycling programs that recycle things like wood, cardboard, metals, glass and light filaments, magazines, and paper. The airport also vowed to make its operations carbon neutral by 2012 and achieved that goal.
San Diego International Airport
As the first-ever LEED Platinum Certified airport in the world, San Diego International Airport has taken several measures to improve its environmental friendliness. In addition to using green paint and construction materials, it also boasts low-wattage LED runway, airfield, and guard lights, low-flow water fixtures, solar panels, heat-reflective roofs, and drought-tolerant landscaping.
Indira Gandhi International Airport
This airport in Delhi, India is the 8th largest airport in the world and has become one of the most recent to go green. After using all recycled materials and an abundance of natural light in its construction, it was awarded the LEED Gold Certification. It also uses energy-efficient LCD screens and a recycling system that reuses water.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Seattle-Tacoma’s recycling program recycles regular materials like paper, plastic, and glass, but also recycles things like cooking oil and coffee grounds for reuse. It also is one of the few airports to have a food donation program that gives unused, prepackaged foods to local food banks. When it comes to construction, the airport recently remodeled its car rental facility using eco-friendly materials and is planning on recycling the majority of its excess materials from the project.