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How San Francisco International Airport Will Meet Its ‘Big Hairy Audacious’ Climate Goals

SFOSan Francisco International Airport (SFO) is on a mission to become “the cleanest, greenest, and most sustainable airport in the world.” This includes reaching zero net energy, zero net carbon emissions and zero waste production by 2021 — a few of what SFO calls its “Big Hairy Audacious Goals,” or BHAGs, in its climate action plan adopted earlier this year.

Achieving these climate targets will involved “green vehicle policies, carbon reduction initiatives, water conservation, recycling programs, wetland protection, and green building and design,” SFO spokesman Doug Yakel said in an email, adding that the airport will minimize its freshwater consumption and use treated wastewater as much as possible to meet its nonpotable water demands.

T1 Partners, a joint venture of The Allen Group, EPC Consultants and Parsons, is managing SFO’s $2.4 billion, multi-year Terminal 1 redevelopment program and also working with SFO to implement its climate action plan.

And to help the airport reach these goals, the T1 Partners program management team selected thinkstep’s SoFi Software to manage and track sustainability initiatives for the Terminal 1 redevelopment program.

“With SoFi we are able to collect sustainability design and construction data on multiple projects and then to use this data to report on how each project in the program is performing relative to the airport’s sustainability goals and objectives,” said Anthony Bernheim, sustainability manager for The Allen Group. “Since Terminal 1 is such a far-reaching project that will last many years, it is important that T1 Partners work with a flexible platform that is easily customizable. For these reasons, T1 Partners selected SoFi and are very happy with our ongoing results.”

Terminal 1 was built in the early 1960s and renovated in the 1980s. When it’s fully completed in 2022, the redevelopment project is targeted, at minimum, to achieve a LEED Gold green building certification.

T1 Partners is tasked with overseeing multiple projects in various phases and hundreds of deliverables within the program. That’s where the SoFi Software tool comes into play.

The enterprise software platform covers a broad range of environment, health and safety functions including sustainability management and reporting, EHS management, supplier engagement, energy management, and building portfolio management.

Yakel wouldn’t provide specifics about why thinkstep’s SoFi won the bid but says “SoFi was chosen by the T1 Partners group following a competitive analysis of available providers who could meet their needs to document project sustainability outcomes for multiple projects.” He said it’s still too early to describe how SoFi’s data has informed any of the airport’s sustainability initiatives.

Meanwhile, other airports are also moving forward with similar environmental sustainability initiatives. Denver International Airport — which in 2013 became the first US airport to achieve ISO 14001 environmental management systems certification — installed several smart-city technologies to improve energy efficiency and water management.

And in August, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport became the first carbon neutral airport in North America by switching to renewable energy sources and converting its bus fleet to compressed natural gas vehicles, among other low-carbon initiatives.

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