Driving home big water savings at PDX

by Lisa Timmerman 11/17/2014 2:09 PM

Ever wonder what happens after you drop off your rental car? If the vehicle was returned to Portland International Airport, there’s a good chance that it involved a visit to the Quick Turnaround Facility, also known as the QTA. Over the last two years, this behind-the-scenes facility has been undergoing some significant changes to reduce its environmental footprint.

 

After you part ways with your rental car, it gets whisked off to the QTA to get cleaned up for the next customer. Any garbage or recycling is removed, the interior is vacuumed and the car gets run through a car wash.

 

During the busy season, thousands of rental cars could go through the car wash each day, so it’s not surprising that Port of Portland staff identified the QTA as the largest consumer of water at PDX. In one year alone, the QTA could use as much as 16.2 million gallons of water. Over the last two years, the Port and on-airport rental car companies at PDX have been working together to make modifications to the QTA to improve water conservation.

 

In its first phase, the Port worked with the rental car agencies to complete facility performance and maintenance improvements, saving nearly 5.6 million gallons of water per year. The success of the first phase sparked interest in exploring the feasibility of water reuse.

 

“In the spring of 2013 we installed a water reclaim unit at our Alamo location and saw immediate water use reduction of 50 – 70 percent,” explains Ava Joubert, Group Operations Manager for EAN Holdings LLC, which operates the Enterprise, Alamo and National Brands at PDX. “We knew that if all five car rental companies doing business on-site at PDX installed individual water reclaim units on their bays the water and cost savings could be really impactful.”

 

In a recently completed second phase, all the rental car agencies installed water reclamation units that reuse rinse water in the wash cycle, cutting water use in half. The potential water savings each year will be around another 5 million gallons, equal to about 7.5 Olympic-size swimming pools!

 

In addition to the obvious environmental benefits of conserving water, the changes also pencil out for the rental car agencies. Using less water means lower water and sewer fees, cutting operating costs in a highly competitive industry. It also helps bring new possibilities to light. “We've learned about rebate programs with the Energy Trust of Oregon and the Portland Water Bureau for efficiency projects. We have made great strides, but there is still a lot to learn. The opportunities for more water and energy savings are infinite, which is really exciting!” says Joubert.

PDX helps bring Airport Carbon Accreditation to North America

by Lisa Timmerman 9/16/2014 3:38 PM

Big news out of Atlanta last week! Portland International Airport joined four other airport authorities to bring an internationally recognized carbon accreditation system for the aviation industry to North America.

The system is endorsed by Airports Council International and officially launched in Europe in 2009 where it has been widely in use since. It provides a common standard for airports across the globe to measure carbon emissions and commit to reduction actions. With the system now expanding to regions across the globe, PDX committed to be an early adopter of the system along with Aéroports de Montréal, Denver International Airport, San Francisco International Airport and Sea-Tac International Airport.

The Port of Portland already brings a wealth of experience in carbon accounting to this new process. As part of its commitment to promote clean air and reduce impacts to global climate change, the Port signed on as a founding reporter of The Climate Registry in 2008. The Port has reported greenhouse gas emissions organization-wide in each subsequent year. A commitment by the Port's Commission in 2009 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent below 1990 levels has already been far surpassed. Through a number of actions the Port has already reduced greenhouse gas emissions to about 65 percent below 1990 levels.

Representatives from PDX participated in a signing ceremony at ACI-North America’s annual conference in Atlanta last week. In the coming months, PDX will work towards achieving certification under the Airport Carbon Accreditation program, joining 108 airports on five continents.

Representatives from Aéroports de Montréal, Denver International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Portland International Airport and Sea-Tac International Airport pose after signing on as early adopters to the Airport Carbon Accreditation in North America.

Environmental efforts earn accolades

by Lisa Timmerman 9/10/2014 11:17 AM

 

A few months ago, this blog featured two research papers describing the latest and greatest in environmental achievements at airports and seaports. One of those documents, Environmental Initiatives at Seaports Worldwide: A Snapshot of Best Practices, just earned an Environmental Improvement Award from the American Association of Port Authorities.

AAPA issued the award in the Stakeholder Awareness, Education and Involvement category. The Port of Portland worked with the International Institute for Sustainable Seaports to develop, and later update, a white paper that highlights major environmental initiatives at seaports across the globe. Though the paper was originally conceived to gather information to support decisions about future marine terminal development in Portland, the paper was designed so that the information could also assist other ports around the globe as they reached the same critical decision points. The Port will receive the award in November at AAPA's annual conference.

The Port also recently earned a Special Recognition from the Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies for serving as a role model in using alternative stormwater management techniques. In 2006, the Port installed over 35 acres of porous pavement at Terminal 6. The success of that installation set the stage for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company to install nine acres of porous pavement on a parcel it recently purchased from the Port. The site is the first facility where BNSF has installed pervious pavement. The installation provides water quality benefits and eliminates the need for detention ponds, allowing BNSF to make the best use of its available space.

Port explores propane export facility

by Lisa Timmerman 9/2/2014 8:50 AM

The Port of Portland announced today that Pembina Pipeline Corporation has entered into an agreement to develop a rail-served propane export facility that could be up and running by early 2018. Pembina is planning to construct and operate the facility on land adjacent to the east end of the Port’s marine Terminal 6 in Rivergate Industrial District.

Based in Calgary, Alberta, Pembina is one of Canada’s leading providers of transportation and logistics for the North American energy sector. Pembina is a time-tested operator with extensive experience in building propane facilities and safely transporting and storing propane in Canada and the U.S. The Portland facility would utilize state-of-the-art storage and safety measures.

The Pacific Northwest has been a highly sought after hub for the transport of fossil fuels due to the rapid increase in domestic production of fuels. The Port has previously considered the suitability of its facilities for coal and crude oil.   

“This is great news,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “We welcome this investment and these jobs in Portland. The city is committed to growing our economy on the land we already have, and holding industry to very high environmental and public safety standards. This proposal meets these goals.”

Upon completion, the propane export facility would receive approximately 37,000 barrels of propane per day. It is anticipated that most of the propane would be exported to Asian markets, where the cleaner burning propane will be utilized for various residential and industrial purposes.

“We have been extremely discerning when considering recent energy sector cargo opportunities, and after saying ‘no’ to coal and ‘not now’ to crude by rail, we are confident that we are saying ‘yes’ to the right partner at the right time,” said Bill Wyatt, executive director for the Port of Portland. “Propane has an excellent track record as a clean and safe alternative fuel, and I am impressed by the level of experience, expertise and commitment to safety that Pembina brings to the table.”

It is estimated that the project will generate between 600-800 temporary construction jobs and approximately 35 to 40 new, permanent positions to operate the terminal. This employment is valued at approximately $7.2 million in wages and benefits annually. Additionally, an estimated $3.3 million in annual tax revenues would go to the City of Portland, as well as $2.4 million to Multnomah County and $3.1 million to Portland Public Schools annually.

Stump removal begins in economy parking lot

by Lisa Timmerman 8/26/2014 7:41 AM

Today, the Port of Portland moves forward with the second phase of work on the PDX Tree Obstruction Removal Project in the economy parking lot at Portland International Airport. The project began last fall with the removal of approximately 400 cottonwood trees that were beginning to encroach on federally-regulated airspace surrounding PDX's north runway.

The site will ultimately be replanted with lower-growing native trees and shrubs. The project is being executed in several phases to minimize site disturbance during wet weather months and to maximize the survivability of the new plants. The second phase, starting this week, will consist of removing stumps that were left on-site following the tree removal activity last September. Travelers and motorists should expect to see equipment removing the stumps for up to a month. 

Many of the stumps will be recovered and repurposed for habitat restoration projects. Some stumps are being given to the City of Portland and the Fairview Lake Property Owners Association. Others will be used by the Port on its own mitigation sites including projects at Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park and Buffalo Slough. The stumps are used to create habitat enhancements such as basking areas for turtle species and to simulate naturally-occurring large, woody debris features in waterways.

When the site is replanted next fall, the trees will be replaced with more than 23,000 native shrub and small tree species such as vine maple, Oregon grape, red-flowering currant and native roses and willow. They will be planted around existing, lower-growing species of trees and shrubs that were left untouched. The images below show an artist's rendering of what the site will likely look like once the replanting has occurred.

 

Still porous after all these years

by Lisa Timmerman 8/13/2014 4:43 PM

 

The Portland metropolitan region leads the nation in innovative solutions for managing stormwater. It's common to see bioswales installed in curb strips across the city and traditional impervious pavement is more often being replaced with alternatives that allow stormwater to filter through the surface. So, it's not surprising that last week the city of Portland hosted StormCon, an annual conference that draws stormwater management professionals from across the country to learn and share best practices and the latest developments in the field. The conference culminated with a tour of stormwater facilities at the Port of Portland and the Port of Vancouver.  

In 2006, the Port of Portland installed just over 35 acres of porous pavement at Terminal 6 in North Portland when tenant, Auto Warehousing Company wanted to rapidly expand their existing vehicle import and storage operation. Their short timeframe set the stage for a creative solution involving a large-scale installation capable of infiltrating 100 percent of the stormwater from the new development on-site. Porous pavement allows stormwater to filter through the ground instead of conveying it through a system of drains, pipes and outfalls, improving water quality and allowing water to flow more slowly and naturally to a receiving waterbody. It is still a relatively new practice, compared to the traditional impervious paving common to the many ribbons of roadways and acres of parking lots across the country.

The StormCon tour, sponsored by Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, consisted of about 80 participants who visited Terminal 6 to witness first-hand that a well-constructed pervious pavement installation can function successfully in an industrial environment when matched with an appropriate site use. Due to its structure, porous pavement is not often used in industrial operations since it cannot as readily handle the impacts of heavy cargo and machinery. AWC's auto storage lot was a great fit due to the primarily light passenger vehicles that move across its surface. The lot is visited by heavier trucks that load and haul the cars away to their destinations, and those loading areas were designed with stronger impervious pavement that drains to the pervious surfaces or to adjacent vegetated swales.  

To function properly over time, a porous pavement installation must be thoughtfully constructed and maintained. I’ve been observing how the facility pavement functions for almost a decade now and it performs as well today as it did when I first visited the site in 2007," said tour sponsor and stormwater practice leader for Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, Ross Dunning. "The T-6 installation is a shining example of low impact development done right and the most successful permeable pavement installation I’ve ever seen.”

Tour participants were treated to a demonstration of the installation's effectiveness by Richard Vincent, senior environmental planner for the Port of Portland, which can be viewed in the video below.

 

Related Links

Terminal 6 porous pavement project featured in Land & Water Magazine

The Green Side: Terminal 6 Paves the Way to Infiltration

VALE grant keeps passengers moving with lower emissions

by Lisa Timmerman 7/31/2014 2:09 PM

Portland International Airport's shuttle bus fleet will continue to be entirely powered by cleaner burning compressed natural gas thanks to a Voluntary Airport Low Emission Program grant awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration. The grant money will be used to purchase six CNG buses that transport airport passengers and employees from the terminal to parking and rental car facilities.

The grant was announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx yesterday. “[The] announcement supports President Obama’s efforts to reduce carbon pollution and increase the deployment of cleaner, alternative fuel technologies,” said Secretary Foxx. “It complements broad efforts across the FAA to expand the development and use of new technologies for aviation fuels that will benefit human health and the environment.”

 

The FAA began the VALE program in 2005 to help airport sponsors meet their air quality responsibilities under the Clean Air Act. The program also supports the objectives of the President's Climate Action Plan. “We applaud Portland International Airport’s efforts to become a better steward of the environment,” FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta said. “This project will allow the airport to realize immediate emission-reduction benefits for the airport and surrounding communities.”

  

For more information, visit the VALE website.

 

 

Green initiatives at airports and seaports

by Lisa Timmerman 7/3/2014 3:45 PM

Interested in learning about the latest and greatest developments in green initiatives at airports and seaports? The information is at your fingertips thanks to two research papers that highlight green initiatives across the United States and the world. The intent of both of these papers is to help provide solutions to common problems for airport and seaport terminal operators. The papers provide the additional benefit of offering the general public a glimpse into the challenges and best environmental practices in place at these facilities.  

Outcomes of Green Initiatives: Large Airport Experience, A Synthesis of Airport Practice was published earlier this year by the Airport Cooperative Research Program, with sponsorship from the Federal Aviation Administration. The paper is based on a literature review as well as surveys of 15 mostly large hub airports across the United States, including Portland International Airport. It discusses overall trends as well as unique case examples from many of the airports surveyed.

Environmental Initiatives at Seaports Worldwide: A Snapshot of Best Practices was first released in 2010 and later updated in August 2013. The Port of Portland and the International Institute for Sustainable Seaports teamed up to develop the white paper describing a broad array of environmental initiatives at seaports across the globe. It describes the geographic, community, financial and regulatory drivers that impact port decision-making related to sustainability and environmental management initiatives. It is based on interviews with port authorities, online research, literature reviews and other publicly available reports.

       

 

Bike to PDX with the Wheels to Wings Ride

by Lisa Timmerman 6/11/2014 9:47 AM

It's June and that means it's time once again for Portland's three-week celebration of all things bike - Pedalpalooza!

Did you know that you can ride your bike to Portland International Airport? As part of Pedalpalooza we will lead a Wheels to Wings ride on Wednesday, June 25, starting at 9:30 a.m. The ride will take the leisurely route along the I-205 Bike Path and eventually connect with the dedicated multi-use path that leads up to the terminal building.

Upon arrival at PDX, participants will get a quick tour of existing bicycle amenities and learn more about future plans included in a recent update to the PDX Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. PDX is one of the few airports in the country that provides direct access to its terminal building by bicycle. It was also the first commercial airport to develop a bike and pedestrian master plan in 2003.

Visit the Wheels to Wings Ride entry on the official Pedalpalooza wiki site for more details about the ride. There is no need to sign-up, just show up with your bike and safety gear.

 

Joining the ranks and sustaining partnerships

by Lisa Timmerman 6/10/2014 8:52 AM

The Port of Portland participated for the first time this year in the Oregon Business magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon sixth annual survey which ranks workplaces according to anonymous employee responses and an assessment of stated employer benefits. The Port came in at #58 in the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon category. The rankings considered workplace practices such as recycling, energy conservation, buying local, supporting bike commuting and public transport as well as setting overarching sustainability policies and goals.

The next day, the Port received a Sustainability Partnership Award from Portland State University in recognition of our 11-year partnership solving waste minimization challenges at Portland International Airport. Students from PSU's Community Environmental Services program serve one- or two-year terms with the Port, gaining real-world experience tackling waste management issues. The students' involvement in the program provides additional capacity for the Port to run one of the most innovative waste minimizations programs at any airport in the nation.