Every airport would love to adopt “greener” measures, but are reluctant to do so; because what might be better environmentally is not easily determined and the search for answers is beyond the typical budget. The news that the Virginia Department of Aviation, the Cadmus Group and the FAA (funding) are creating a sustainability plan that will serve all of the Commonwealth’s 66 public-use airports.
An average airport has neither the resources nor the time/money to research a complex subject for its facilities. The infrastructure scope of the study will include the range of issues faced by airfields within the state– from commercial airports all the way down to turf runways and the technical purview incorporates construction materials, resiliency strategy and sustainability approaches (like the green roof shown above).
The library of existing knowledge is substantial. There are the Sustainable Aviation Guidance Alliance (SAGA), the Chicago Department of Aviation’s Sustainable Airport Manual , ARCP’s/TRB’s studies, FAA’s Sustainable Master Plan Pilot Program and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) released a Sector Supplement for airport sustainability. That’s a wealth of information upon which to build and to expand the technical data.
What may be additive about this study is process. The consultants plan to spend time with airport management to cull their ideas and to expose them to the science of sustainability. Through such incorporation, the expectation is that the airport manager community will be more receptive to the results (recommendations). While the study’s output will be specifically designed for the Commonwealth’s airports’ weather, geographical, soil, flora and fauna, it will have applicability to other similarly situated facilities. The documentation will set, by classes of airfields, a set of goals, meaningful metrics and specific initiatives.
This joint work product will advance all three of the sustainability goals– social, environmental and economic.
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