ACI-NA Announces 2011 Environmental Achievement Awards Winners

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By Morgan Dye

Albuquerque International Sunport, Aéroports de Montréal, Vancouver International Airport and the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest Program (which is comprised of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Portland International Airport, and Spokane International Airport) have been selected as winners of Airports Council International – North America’s (ACI-NA) 2011 Environmental Achievement Awards.

“Airports remain focused on better understanding and mitigating impacts to their natural environment and local communities by implementing inventive programs that reduce the environmental effects of their operations,” said Greg Principato, ACI-NA president. “ACI-NA’s Environmental Achievement Awards provides the opportunity to showcase how committed airports are to green building, sustainability and environmental management in their construction projects and everyday operations.”

Environmental Management Award Category:

Albuquerque International Sunport’s Sustainability Management System earned them the Environmental Management Award. Their Sustainability Management System is in place at both the Sunport and Double Eagle II, a general aviation reliever facility, and has launched an effort towards sustainability that has become intrinsic to the management culture of these airports.  A major part of the sustainability effort at the Sunport has been the application, and eventual acceptance of Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) Program grants.  The goal of the VALE Program is to reduce the amount of regulated pollutants and other harmful air emissions generated by sources at airports.

Outreach, Education and Community Involvement Award Category:

Vancouver International Airport won this year’s Outreach, Education and Community Involvement Award with the Quest Food Exchange Partnership.  Vancouver International Airport works in partnership with The Quest Food Exchange to reduce the amount of food waste generated at the airport.  The Quest Food Exchange, also known as Quest Outreach Society, is run by Quest, a non-profit organization that assists low-income individuals and families in the Metro Vancouver to overcome their barriers with dignity and encourages self-sufficiency. Surplus foods and various consumer goods are collected from donors and redistributed via Quest stores or partner agencies. Donating to Quest Food Exchange not only reduces waste, saves money, and protects the environment, but also provides foods and goods to people in need. Since the partnership began in late 2010 over 2,000kg of food from various airport food outlets and businesses has been diverted from landfill. In addition, this partnership fosters positive airport community relations and employee engagement.

Mitigation Award Category:

The Mitigation Award went to Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) for their Tree Policy.  Mindful of sustainable development and respect for the environment, the ADM Tree Policy seeks mainly to protect areas of high ecological value on airport property and to offset the environmental impacts of projects.  Additionally, ADM attempts to develop their facilities while ensuring that they coexist in harmony with the surrounding area, in particular with regard to environmental quality. From this perspective of environmental protection, ADM acknowledges the important role of trees in urban environments, namely that they contribute to enhancing regional ecological heritage, are effective in combating the “heat island” effect, and have aesthetic value, as well as the improvement of air quality.  ADM’s Tree Policy is implemented at both Montreal-Trudeau and Montreal–Mirabel airports.  Within the last 2 years, 5 greening projects were conducted and 2 are underway.

Special/Innovative Projects Award Category:

The Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest Program, comprised of the Port of Seattle, Port of Portland, and Spokane International Airport, won the Special/Innovative Projects Award.  Together with their Steering Team partners – Boeing, Alaska Airlines, and Washington State University – and consulting facilitator Climate Solutions, these three airports convened more than 40 stakeholders and observers to assess the feasibility, challenges and opportunities of scaling up a commercially viable and sustainable renewable aviation fuels industry in the Northwest U.S.A. The SAFN initiative takes place within a global network of seven (7) similar stakeholder processes led by Boeing, which all support the broader aim of achieving carbon-neutral growth across the aviation industry beyond 2020.  The SAFN results, published as a report on May 25, 2011, provide a “flight path” for scaling up this industry in the Northwest U.S.A.  The innovative SAFN approach and results are already being considered for adoption by stakeholders in other regions of North America.

Since being established in 1997, the Environmental Achievement Awards contest has generated immense interest throughout the industry and has catalyzed numerous environmental programs at airports.

Award winners will be recognized at the ACI-NA’s 20th Annual Conference & Exhibition in San Diego, CA, October 19, 2011, during the Chairman’s Honors Luncheon.

Winners in each category are selected by a three-judge panel based on the project’s environmental benefits, innovation, effective implementation, widespread applicability and cost-effectiveness.  Judges for the 2011 Awards Program were Steve Alterman, President of the Cargo Airline Association, David Bell, editor, Aviation and Environment News and Noise Regulation Report and Tom Bennett, Environmental Specialist at the Federal Aviation Administration.