The Massachusetts Port Authority today 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.
In making the announcement, Massport CEO and Executive Director Thomas J. Kinton Jr., compared the effort to the security challenge the airport and the aviation industry faced after Sept. 11, 2001. “We had a big challenge then, and also a big responsibility to take steps to improve security in a very dynamic way. It required a plan, it required a budget, and it required a whole new capital program. The environment needs the same kind of focus.
“We have already done a lot, but in an age of rising global temperatures and rising oil prices, we must do more. As the owner and operator of New England’s airport to the world, we must lower our energy appetite wherever we can because we are in an industry that does not have an alternative for jet fuel.”
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. In addition, the Authority will purchase additional renewable energy credits to offset other carbon emissions, such as those from Massport vehicles. This will allow the operations of the Authority to be carbon neutral. It also will exceed Gov. Deval Patrick’s 2007 Leading by Example Executive Order to procure 15 percent of the Authority’s electricity from renewable resources and beat -- by two years -- the goal of doing so by 2012.
The program covers Massport operations including offices, heating plants and garages, but does not include public spaces such as airport terminals, roadways and commercial parking garages. To help the Authority plan for addressing other goals in Gov. Patrick’s Leading by Example executive order, the Authority will issue a request for qualifications for an energy consultant to work with the Authority to develop a long range utility plan to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gasses.
In the meantime, the Authority will turn off the moving walkways between the garages and terminals from 12:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. Not using the power to run walkways in those three early morning hours will result in the Authority saving one full day of power for the walkways every eight days, or roughly 45 days each year. Massport estimates the energy savings to be nearly 74,000 kwh. Based on EPA greenhouse gas equivalencies, this is equal to the carbon that would be sequestered by 13 acres of forest in a year.
In support of Mayor Menino’s Clean Cabs initiative, Logan now gives front of the line privileges to taxis using hybrid fuels. To increase the demand for those cabs and offer our customers a choice, the Authority is placing signs outside terminals informing passengers they can request a hybrid cab. If one is available, it will be dispatched. Drivers of hybrid cabs get front of the line privileges in the taxi pool two times per shift. If a passenger requests a hybrid and the two passes have already been used, the hybrid cab still will be able to leave the taxi pool immediately.
To encourage passengers to drive alternative fueled vehicles to and from the airport, Massport reminds motorists that designated prime parking areas near garage elevators are restricted for use by hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles only.
Massport also announced today that it joined the global aviation industry in a declaration on climate change that was signed by industry leaders at the Aviation & Environment Summit in Geneva, Switzerland. Massport was one of some 87 airport operators to sign the declaration to strengthen the industry’s commitment to introducing technological, operational and efficiency advances to reduce its environmental impact. The declaration, which expresses a commitment to working toward carbon-neutral growth and a carbon-free future, states: “We agree on the need to accelerate action to mitigate our environmental impact, especially in respect to climate change while preserving our driving role in the sustainable development of our global society. Our efforts and commitment to work in partnership with governments, other industries and representatives of civil society will provide meaningful benefits on tackling climate change and other environmental challenges.”
In celebration of Earth Day, Massport officials will walk the perimeter of the airfield this week to pick up harbor debris on the rip-rap walls. At the Tobin Memorial Bridge, maintenance personnel will spend time cleaning at the Adamski Park in Chelsea and the Tot Lot in Charlestown. From the hours of 10 a.m. to 12 noon, lights in the Chelsea Garage will be turned off. And at Maritime, all facilities will undergo a spring cleaning. In addition, timers will be adjusted on street lights in the Seaport District to ensure they are only on after sunset.
In an effort to reduce the use of potentially harmful products, Massport will issue a request for proposal later this spring for a new contract for cleaning Logan Airport terminal buildings and Massport offices that promotes the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products.
Going forward, the Authority will work with airport concessionaires to develop a comprehensive environmental program that will reduce waste and promote environmentally friendly products.
Other purchasing initiatives include: ensuring by the end of the fiscal year all paper products purchased by the Authority for office use and cleaning contain recycled paper; and establishing a working group to recommend hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles for purchase by the Authority.
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. Massport recently unveiled a plaque in Terminal A reflecting the building’s green status.
Massport is a national leader in embracing environmental initiatives. Last month 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; and a number of innovative air quality emission reduction programs. Logan’s 32 shuttle buses logged their 11-millionth clean air mile recently and currently, 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.
“We have a lot to be proud of, but we have much more work to do,’’ said Kinton. “This effort will require each and every one of Massport’s 1,200 employees to recognize the paradigm shift taking place at the Authority. 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 77 domestic and 32 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.