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.

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.

 

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.

 

Celebrating the environment through art

by Lisa Timmerman 5/21/2014 9:53 AM

April may have been host to Earth Day, but May is a great month to celebrate the environment through arts and culture! The Port of Portland is proud to sponsor this year's edition of Honoring Our Rivers. The anthology of essays, poems, photography and artwork includes submissions from students across the state of Oregon and reflects how they feel connected to local waterways. The publication is an annual project of the Willamette Partnership. You can view the 2014 anthology at local schools and libraries or visit http://bit.ly/1jp9GyI.

A new art installation at Portland International Airport is designed to demonstrate the effects of exposure from the physical environment on natural materials. The temporary installation, created by Seattle artist John Grade, is a piece of a larger sculpture commissioned for the City of Portland through the City’s Percent for Art program for a site at the Columbia Wastewater Treatment Plant. The wood sculpture has been fragmented into 15 pieces which will be temporarily sited for up to three years at multiple locations throughout the city and state, including the one at PDX. Gradually, the fragmented clusters will be returned and re-installed at the original site. The sculpture can be viewed on the lower roadway as motorists depart from the PDX terminal. 

 

Changes in the short-term garage come to light

by Lisa Timmerman 4/16/2014 1:37 PM

Visitors to Portland International Airport are seeing the short-term parking garage in a whole new light. Since the late 1980s, the garage had been illuminated with high pressure sodium light bulbs. These are the same types of bulbs that are widely used for street lamps and emit an orange-colored glow. The Port of Portland just finished replacing over 2,000 bulbs in the garage with primarily high-efficiency fluorescent bulbs.

The fluorescent bulbs proved to be the best fit for most floors of the garage due to the low ceilings and they also now match the lamps installed in the long-term garage in 2010. On the roof of the garage, where low ceilings are not an issue, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs were used.

The new bulbs will save 1,130 megawatt hours of energy per year, enough electricity to power 247 homes. Energy savings, of course, equate to cost savings and the project is estimated to save $90,000 annually in energy costs.

In addition to being lighter on the environment, the new bulbs are easier on the eyes of weary travelers and will help regular users of the garage, such as rental car companies, better serve their customers during dark evening hours.

 

Five years of carbon footprint reporting yields impressive results

by Lisa Timmerman 3/12/2014 4:29 PM

The Port of Portland just marked its fifth year reporting to The Climate Registry. The Port became a founding greenhouse gas emissions reporter of TCR in 2008, primarily in response to an ambitious goal set by the Port’s Commission to reduce the Port’s GHG emissions by 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. 

The Port uses TCR’s robust voluntary GHG reporting program to measure, publicly report and provide third-party verification for the Port’s carbon footprint. TCR is a non-profit organization established to develop a common, accurate and transparent GHG reporting standard in North America. TCR uses internationally recognized GHG measurement standards developed by the World Resources Institute, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the World Business Council on Sustainability.

Based on the initial emissions inventory, the Port adopted a combined approach focusing on energy conservation strategies, replacing and retrofitting older equipment and purchasing renewable power. The Port consistently earns high rankings nationally on the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partner list. The Port now purchases 100 percent renewable power and is currently ranked 25th among 100 percent renewable purchasers and 9th among local government purchasers, with over 75 million kilowatt hours of renewable power certificates.

The inventory has also served as the foundation for the Port’s carbon footprint reduction and energy management strategy which prioritizes projects to increase energy efficiency. Building awareness around the Port’s carbon footprint has delivered real results. Based on data from the 2012 reporting year, the Port had reduced its GHG emissions by an incredible 60 percent below 1990 levels – four times the original goal!