Boston Logan International Airport will be the first airport in the nation to use environmentally friendly asphalt on a runway repaving project, following a vote today by the Massachusetts Port Authority Board to spend $6.3 million on the work.
The project this fall on Runway 4R/22L will use so-called “warm mix’’ asphalt which is heated to between 250 and 275 degrees, some 75 to 50 degrees less than traditional “hot mix” asphalt. The difference on this project will result in the reduction of nearly 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide, the savings of about 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel, and produce an energy savings of about 26.4 billion Btus. Another environmental benefit is up to 20 percent of the new asphalt will be made from recycled asphalt.
“Warm mix uses 20% less energy to make, produces 20% fewer greenhouse emissions when applied, and allows us to use a higher percentage of recycled asphalt pavement in the final product,’’ said Thomas J. Kinton Jr., Massport CEO & Executive Director. “This project is another example of Massport leading the way as an airport operator to reduce our impact on the environment wherever we can do so in an financially responsible way.’’
Warm Mix Asphalt has been used at European airports. Runway paving projects in the U.S. must meet stringent Federal Aviation Administration standards. The warm mix was first tested at Logan on a taxiway and apron areas with FAA oversight before the airport received permission to use it on a runway.
Runway 4R/22L is 10,005 feet long and 150 feet wide. The repaving contract calls for the outer 37.5 feet of each side of the runway to be milled and repaved. If the warm mix performs as expected on the outer edges of the runway, then it will likely be used for the next runway repaving project which calls for all of Runway 9/27 to be repaved.
Because warm mix asphalt is not heated as high, the work environment is better for the crews installing the new pavement. Thermal and air emissions are lessened both on site and at the plant where it is produced – Aggregate Industries in Saugus. The manufacturing process also reduces dust and NOx emissions.
The warm mix asphalt compacts better, allowing for sturdy runways that can withstand the impact of heavy airplanes and high pressure tires. Traditionally, runway projects at Logan require that asphalt is laid in 3 inch thick sections called “lifts”; warm mix asphalt lets workers lay down the pavement in 6 inch thick lifts, which will shorten the time the runway is out of service.
Emissions reduction is one of the most prominent environmental, operational and community issues currently facing the aviation industry. For airports in particular, addressing this is a challenge since the largest sources of emissions are typically aircraft engines and on-road vehicles over which airports have little or no control.
Earlier this year, Massport announced a series of environmental initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations, enhance its environmental stewardship, and give customers options that can reduce their impact on the environment.
Massport is planning to purchase renewable energy credits so that by the end of calendar year 2009, all of the electricity the Authority uses for its own operations will be offset through the purchase of those credits. This will allow the operations of the Authority to be carbon neutral.
In support of Mayor Menino’s Clean Cabs initiative, Logan now gives front of the line privileges to taxis using hybrid fuels. To encourage passengers to drive alternative fueled vehicles to and from the airport, Massport designated prime parking areas near garage elevators for use by hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles only. Logan’s 26 shuttle buses logged their 11-millionth clean air mile last year. Nearly thirty percent of all passenger and employee trips to Logan are in High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV), one of the highest HOV access mode shares among US airports.
Massport has also made major capital investments that promote a cleaner environment. Passengers flying through Logan’s Terminal A enjoy the distinction of using one of the most energy and resource efficient terminals in the country. Terminal A is the world’s first airport terminal to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified by the Green Building Council. Signature Flight Support’s facility at Logan was LEED certified earlier this year.
In March, Massport installed 20 building-integrated wind turbines on the roof of the Logan Office Center which house Massport’s administrative offices at the airport. Massport also developed the first ISO 14001 airport, container terminal and bridge in the US.
“We have a lot to be proud of, but we have much more work to do,’’ said Kinton. “We must do what we can to limit the environmental impacts of the aviation and maritime industries. And what we do must be measurable, achievable and long-lasting, as we maintain a careful eye on how it affects our bottom line.”
Boston Logan serves as the gateway to the six-state New England region with a population of over 14 million and offers nonstop service to 100 domestic and international destinations. Boston Logan also has more low fare flights than any airport in New England and in 2007 handled 28.1 million passengers. In 2007 Boston Logan was ranked number one as the “Easiest Airport to Get To” by the business travel website Aviation.com.