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Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: Energy Management Program

Airports consume large amounts of energy. This is a great example of how an airport can use data to manage both consumption and cost of energy as well as setting goals that move the airport industry forward. This initiative is impressive.

The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the most-traveled airport in the world with more than 100 million passengers annually. In 2011, the airport established a Sustainable Management Plan that laid the groundwork for its first-of-a-kind Energy Management System. Using specialized software, the airport began tracking and managing utility performance for all of its assets.

The Sustainability Management Plan calls for a 20% reduction in Emissions by 2020, a 20% reduction in water and energy intensity by 2020, and a 90% reduction in waste by 2020 by building the a waste management facility. Senior management, along with internal and external stakeholders, supported the establishment of management protocols, operational controls, and accountability. This led to the airport’s Energy Management System getting accredited to the ISO 50001 standard. This certification created a mechanism for continuous improvement.

Through the efforts of planning, design, and construction, the airport completely changed airfield lights to LED, and completed other energy and water efficiency projects. The facilities are designed to silver, gold, and platinum LEED standards.

To incorporate energy and environmental improvements outside the control of the airport, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is also leading the development of an airport eco-district, where waste, climate action, transportation, and utilities stakeholders work together to solve sustainability and environmental issues. The eco-district has already helped to reduce stakeholders’ individual energy footprints and reduce emissions for the community, the airport says.

Many of these efforts are firsts for airports in the United States and the world. Some of them include being the first U.S. airport to have its energy management system certified to ISO 50001, being the first in the world to create an airport eco-district, and being the first airport to completely retrofit an airfield to LED lighting. The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is also a pioneer in waste management with a facility that repurposes 90% of waste from airport. Implementing energy efficiency projects, engaging stakeholders, and managing utility use improves utility performance and the environment around the airport, and sets a precedent for other airports.