I was interested to read a recent story in USA Today about several airports' efforts to try and "green" their facilities. To me, airports seem to be an extension of the carbon footprint we create while flying. Think of it: sitting in a terminal, eating fast food and drinking bottled water, and throwing away items we'd typically recycle because there never seem to be enough bins. So I was heartened to hear of some of the efforts underway at terminals across the country.
- Boston's Logan airport has installed a set of 20 wind turbines that will generate 3 percent of the airport's energy a year. It also has the first LEED certified terminal in the U.S., with sensor-lights, low-flow toilets, and large glass windows that allow for natural light and heat.
- Denver International and Fresno Yosemite airports have allocated some of their land to install solar panels, which they hope will offset some of their energy costs. Denver has also found a way to reuse all of the de-icing fluid that's used on airplanes during winter: It's mixed with snow and used as antifreeze or as "flushing fluid" in toilets.
- Speaking of toilets, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson is installing both lower-flow toilets and urinals, which they estimate will save them 44 million gallons of water a year.
- Seattle-Tacoma requires that all of their concession stores' coffee grounds (that's 143 tons a year) be composted and plans to begin charging all of their concessions per pound of trash that they create (recycled goods will not be charged).
Some promising first steps for sure. Have you seen other "green" efforts in your travels internationally? Let us know in the comments, below.
Photo: Mark Garfinkel for USA TODAY