Lighting the way with efficiency

by appell 9/15/2015 9:04 AM

How do you reduce energy consumption at a port? Look at the lights. Fall 2015 marks the beginning of a two-year project to invest in new energy efficient LED lighting across Port facilities. While new lighting may seem like a small change, it adds up to big energy savings.  The new upgrades will reduce power consumption – saving 1,020 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually!

The project converts old lighting to new LED lighting, swapping them out on existing poles at marine terminals, Portland International Airport (PDX) parking lots, roadways and maintenance facilities.  The new lighting affects over 80acres of parking lot and 30acres of roadway and includes wireless lighting control capabilities.

LED stands for Light-Emitting Diode, and they use 60% less energy than traditional lighting. LEDs are tiny! How small? The size of a pin tip, or only a few millimeters. Their lamp life is three to four times longer, reducing maintenance and waste.

LEDs can also illuminate more targeted areas, preventing light pollution. In designing upgrades at the Port, engineers conducted a photometric analysis evaluating the illumination “footprint” to make sure lights brighten only the needed areas.

Bright white LED light also provides safety advantages for roadways and public parking lots. For example, it won’t be so hard to find a red car at night as their light quality mimics daylight, making colors easier to distinguish. 

The Port’s energy efficiency upgrades link to a broader strategy to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions across all facilities. The project supports the Port’s 2020 aggressive goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to less than 15% of 1990 levels.

Stay tuned as the Port’s environmental programs implement more conservation projects to achieve environmental objectives and targets.

For more information on installing LED lights at your own home, visit the U.S. Department of Energy website:

Port of Portland airports help lead the way for carbon accounting in North America

by timmel 3/2/2015 10:50 AM

Portland International Airport, Hillsboro Airport and Troutdale Airport are now certified through the Airports Carbon Accreditation program, making them the fourth, fifth and sixth airports in North America to achieve the status. 

The program was launched by the European region of Airports Council International in 2009. It provides a framework for airports to commit to reducing carbon emissions from their operations with the ultimate goal of becoming carbon neutral. Port of Portland, which owns and operates Portland, Hillsboro and Troutdale airports, signed on as an early adopter in 2014 for the program’s initial expansion to North America. The Port airports now join Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, Victoria International Airport, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in obtaining the certification.

The Port brings a wealth of experience in carbon accounting to this new process. As part of its commitment to promoting clean air and reducing impacts to global climate change, the Port signed on as a founding reporter to The Climate Registry in 2008. The Port has reported greenhouse gas emissions organization-wide in each subsequent year. In 2009, the Port committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 – a goal already achieved and surpassed. Through a suite of actions, the Port has reduced greenhouse gas emissions to about 65 percent below 1990 levels.

Substantial reductions have come through the Port’s purchase of renewable energy certificates for 100 percent of its electricity consumption. That covers power use at major facilities such as PDX, which serves nearly 44,000 air travelers on an average day.  

Simultaneously, the Port is systematically investing in energy efficiency and conservation projects. Since 2010, lighting upgrades and retrofits to heating, cooling and ventilation systems at Port facilities resulted in a combined savings of 13,325 metric tons of carbon and 15.7 million kilowatt hours annually. The Port’s fleet of shuttle buses, which deliver passengers and employees between the airport terminal and parking areas around-the-clock, run entirely on cleaner-burning compressed natural gas.

The Airports Carbon Accreditation program is specific to airports and champions the voluntary and collective efforts of airports worldwide to guide and support continual improvement. The program has attracted the support of key institutions in air transportation such as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. The Port now joins over 100 other leading airports across the world, in the most credible and internationally-recognized framework for active carbon management at airports.

Port receives ISO 14001 certification

by timmel 1/8/2015 9:26 AM

After 14 years with an Environmental Management System in place, the Port of Portland sought certification to the international standard, ISO 14001, at the end of 2014. An EMS is a framework that organizations around the globe use to proactively identify and manage impacts on the environment and it is centered on the principle of continuous improvement.


The Port has long operated its EMS in conformance with ISO 14001, but 2014 marked the first year that the Port sought certification through third-party accreditation agency. Experienced auditors performed an intensive audit and on-site inspections of the Port’s operations and EMS.


The EMS uses annual goal setting and performance reporting to guide and evaluate environmental performance. The Port’s goals focus on five key programmatic areas including air quality, energy management, water resources, natural resources and waste minimization.


The Port received the certification from Bureau Veritas, earning exceptionally high marks from the audit team. The Port is one of the first and one of the few consolidated ports to receive the certification for all its operating areas. Many organizations certify a portion of their operation, but the Port sought certification across all its diverse operations including marine, industrial development, aviation, and corporate. The certification marks a significant achievement, but due to the nature of the EMS, it also demonstrates a significant commitment to continue to assess the Port’s performance and seek ways to improve its environmental programs and practices on an ongoing basis.

Updated bike and pedestrian plan takes off at PDX

by timmel 12/18/2014 3:37 PM

The Port of Portland recently completed an update to its PDX Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan. Planning for pedal and foot-powered transportation might initially seem like an odd fit for a facility that is primarily focused on flying travelers to far flung destinations. In a community that boasts about its bike lanes and neighborhood walk scores, it is all about providing good customer service and reflecting the needs of the large workforce that keeps PDX running on a daily basis.

The PDX Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan is not a regulatory requirement. Providing alternative transportation options to and from PDX helps the Port meet its sustainability and employee wellness goals in addition to meeting the needs of travelers and airport employees. The Port began planning to accomodate cyclists and pedestrians in the 1990s. By 2003, the Port became the first commercial airport in the nation to develop a comprehensive bike and pedestrian master plan.

In the last decade, implementation of that plan led to constructing a multi-use path directly to the PDX terminal building - another first for a commercial airport - and secure bike parking for airport employees and public bike parking for travelers and visitors. Beyond the terminal, an at-grade bike and pedestrian crossing of Airport Way at its intersection with NE 82nd Avenue, which is considered one of the most complex intersections in the state, provides a connection to the multi-use path from points south. It also allows pedestrians to access businesses on Frontage Road after taking TriMet MAX light rail to stops in nearby Cascade Station.  Cyclists originating from points north along the Marine Drive Bike Path or crossing the Glenn Jackson Bridge benefit from a quicker option for accessing PDX by using a designated crossing constructed by the Port that connects directly to the multi-use path. 

Multi-use to PDX terminal building


 Crossing of Marine Drive to connect Marine Drive bike path to PDX

With many of the goals from the 2003 Master Plan achieved, the Port began updating the plan last year. After a thorough analysis and outreach to bike and pedestrian facility users and experts, the new plan includes recommendations to support and improve the airport’s cycling and walking populations as well as identifying challenging connections between PDX’s bike network and bike networks to the south.  One of those challenging connections, the intersection of Columbia Boulevard and NE Alderwood Road, will soon be converted to a signalized crossing, improving safety for cyclists. The Port will contribute to funding a portion of the improvement thanks to a recent State Transportation Improvement Program award.

Currently, many of the public bike parking areas at PDX are frequently near or at capacity, even during cold and rainy winter months. The Port plans to replace the existing serpentine racks with staple racks to add parking capacity within the next year. The Port will explore additional signage and work to incorporate helpful information for pedestrians and cyclists as broader wayfinding technology advances at PDX. In the longer-term, the Port will seek to develop an outbound multi-use path in conjunction with future improvements to the PDX terminal and terminal exit roadway.  

Bike parking near the TriMet MAX station at PDX

The updated Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan can be found on the Port’s public website and cyclists can find information on accessing PDX by bike there as well.

Related Links

 Does your airport have a 50-page bike plan?

Airport plots better ways to get to PDX - by bike Portland Tribune

Driving home big water savings at PDX

by timmel 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 timmel 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 timmel 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 timmel 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 timmel 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 timmel 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.