Austin airport lands significant milestone with carbon neutral accreditation
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) just achieved a very significant goal, maintaining carbon neutrality and renewing its Level 3+ Accreditation by the Airports Council International.
“Having a carbon neutral airport is a significant milestone for our city,” said Gina Fiandaca, Assistant City Manager, in a release. “AUS plays a critical role in supporting our citywide goals and efforts to combat climate change, especially as we work to cut emissions by 2030, with a goal of achieving net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. I applaud AUS’s commitment to combatting climate change and for being a leader in environmental stewardship.”
The independent accreditation program assesses carbon emissions at airports through six levels of certification (Mapping, Reduction, Optimization, Neutrality, Transformation, and Transition). Besides AUS, Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport in Canada is the only airport currently at Level 3+ accreditation in North America, while only a handful of other airports have reached Level 4 and beyond.
According to the City of Austin release, reaching Level 3+ accreditation means AUS has reduced its emissions as much as possible, offsetting residual emissions by investing in and implementing projects that reduce carbon dioxide. These combined efforts help minimize the airport's environmental impact and have led to a fully carbon neutral airport operation, which, according to the release, includes:
- Partnering with Austin Energy to generate 1.8 megawatts of renewable solar energy on the airport campus which provides power to the airport and 160 local homes through the Community Solar Program
- Partnering with Signature Flight Support to accept the first-ever delivery of Sustainable Aviation Fuel to AUS earlier this year
- Using 100 percent renewable energy in the Barbara Jordan Terminal through Austin Energy’s GreenChoice Program
- Using renewable natural gas to power AUS’s shuttle bus fleet and piloting a renewable natural gas credit sharing program with Clean Energy to aid airport partners in reducing their emissions
- Receiving Gold LEED Green Building certifications on several buildings on the airport campus, including the 2019 nine-gate expansion and administration building
- Achieving an Austin Energy Green Building 3-star rating on the newest completed airport facility, the Airport Career and Development Center
- Purchasing renewable energy and carbon offsets from sustainable sources and promoting The Good Traveler program to AUS passengers
- Establishing the AUS Food Rescue Program, which donates unused perishable food from concessions to Keep Austin Fed, and a campus-wide composting and recycling program
- Partnering with airlines to support electric-powered airline ground service equipment
“AUS is proud to be the first medium-sized North American airport to achieve carbon neutrality,” said Jacqueline Yaft, AUS Chief Executive Officer, in the release. “As our airport develops and grows to meet the needs of our community, we will continue our commitment to carbon neutrality and environmental stewardship through innovative collaboration with our partners, and by incorporating sustainable design and green development.”
To learn more about the airport's environmental initiatives and sustainability program, visit AustinTexas.gov.