The FINANCIAL — For its efforts to reduce its environmental footprint, Denver International Airport (DEN) is now among the first airports in North America to secure internationally recognized accreditation for measuring and reducing carbon emissions.
The Airport Carbon Accreditation is an independent program launched by Airports Council International-Europe in 2009 to provide a common framework for airports to reduce their climate change impacts, which can also reduce operational costs and improve efficiency. The program became available to North American airports for the first time in 2014, and DEN is now one of only four airport groups in the United States to obtain certification under this internationally recognized program.
“DEN’s emissions reduction program is a great example of our strategic commitment to invest in sustainability,” said airport CEO Kim Day. “We continue to demonstrate that the airport can reduce its environmental footprint, save money, and be a good community partner as we continue to grow.”
Airport Carbon Accreditation requires airports to measure their greenhouse gas emissions and to have those emissions verified by an independent third party. Participating airports then work to reduce on-site activities that contribute to carbon emissions through efforts such as installing energy-efficient lighting, using green energy sources, investing in alternative-fuel vehicles, working with partner agencies to reduce runway taxiing times and more.
DEN has been certified at “level 2” of the program, which means that the airport has completed a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, had its carbon reduction targets verified by a third-party auditor, developed a carbon management program and demonstrated an emissions reduction from 2013 to 2014 through a variety of initiatives. Some of the airport’s recent “green” projects include: a significant retrofitting of parking garage lights to energy-efficient LEDs – which is projected to save 4.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year; reducing the fuel consumption of fleet vehicles; and ongoing energy-efficiency upgrades to DEN’s central utility plant.
“Participation in this program has allowed us to better understand what activities are contributing to the airport’s emissions profile in order to prioritize reduction strategies that will reduce long-term costs,” said Scott Morrissey, DEN’s director of environmental programs. “We are currently focused on the emissions that are directly controlled by the airport, which include the electricity and natural gas used to power, heat and cool our facilities and the fuel used in vehicles that support our operations.”