Phoenix Sky Harbor’s Strong Commitment to Sustainability Results in a Major Accomplishment
Airport Achieves Level 3 Certification in the Airport Carbon Accreditation Program
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, America’s Friendliest Airport®, is committed to sustainability. Since 2014, the Airport has undertaken measures to be more sustainable. These efforts have not gone unnoticed in the aviation industry, as for the past four years, Phoenix Sky Harbor has achieved and maintained a Level 2 status with the Airport Carbon Accreditation Program. In 2020, however, Phoenix Sky Harbor has taken its sustainability efforts one step further and has achieved Level 3 Accreditation. Phoenix Sky Harbor is among an elite group of airports to attain this level as there are only seven airport systems in the US and 17 airports overall in North America who have reached this level or above.
“Attaining Level 3 of the Airport Carbon Accreditation Program is a remarkable achievement,” said Director of Aviation Services James E. Bennett. “Our commitment to sustainability is strong with numerous initiatives underway, all while we continue to deliver world-class service to our customers each day.”
The Airport Carbon Accreditation Program is a voluntary initiative for airports that want to demonstrate their commitment to reducing global warming and climate change. It serves as an international carbon management certification standard for airports and requires participating airports to create a carbon footprint of emissions so that they can see where the greatest reductions can be made and monitor progress.
More than 90% of Phoenix Sky Harbor’s carbon footprint is from the purchase of electricity. Phoenix Sky Harbor has had solar panels at its Rental Car Center and East Economy Parking areas since 2012, but it recently installed a third solar system at the City of Phoenix Aviation Department’s Corporate Office Building. Additionally, the Airport enacted energy reduction measures such as using LED lighting. LED lighting conversions have taken place at Terminal 4, in the Terminal 4 Garage, in the East Economy Garage, and on the airfield. As a result, of conservation measures, there has been a 17% reduction in energy used.
Reporting in 2020 for the calendar year 2019, Phoenix Sky Harbor certified at Level 3 Optimization. This means that the airport had a year-to-year reduction in airport-owned and operational emissions associated with terminal electricity and fleet vehicles among others, but also required the Airport to calculate user and tenant activities. The report includes carbon emissions associated with all activities at the airport such as estimating aircraft emissions, emissions from vehicles coming to the airport, tenant electricity, and more. With this information, the Airport will develop a plan with stakeholders so that they can be engaged in working together to reduce emissions.
Other sustainability initiatives include:
- Upgrading HVAC cooling systems with more energy-efficient technology.
- Decreasing energy used in buildings and on the airfield. Since 2009, the goal of a 20% reduction is almost achieved.
- The Airport’s 40% waste diversion goal has been achieved.
- Transitioning to 100% xeriscape which resulted in the savings of more than 5 million gallons of water each year.
- Installing a new Terminal 4 Cooling Tower Soft Water Pre-Treatment system prolongs the life of the equipment and saves more than 22 million gallons of water annually.
- Creating a Leadership in Energy Environmental Design (LEED) silver building featuring new, energy, efficient equipment as part of the Terminal 3 Modernization Program.
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Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, America’s Friendliest Airport®, has an annual economic impact of more than $38 billion. Every day approximately 1,200 aircraft and more than 125,000 passengers arrive and depart at Sky Harbor. PHX Sky Harbor is funded with Airport revenue. No tax dollars are used to support the Airport.