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3 Steps to Carbon Neutral Airports: Step 2

Editor’s note: this is the third post of a three-part series. The first post, outlining opportunities to reduce the amount of energy that airports use, appears here; the second post, stressing the importance of using on-site, clean, renewable energy, appears here.

Use On-Site, Clean, Renewable Energy
One of the hurdles to implementing energy efficiency upgrades is the lack of capital funding. One way to overcome this is to engage an Energy Service Company (ESCO). Under an Energy Savings Performance Contract, an ESCO pays all costs involved in identifying, installing, operating and maintaining new or upgraded energy-efficient equipment. The ESCO receives a share of the cost savings resulting from these improvements over a set term. At the end of the Energy Savings Performance Contract, the customer owns all of the improvements and receives all of the continuing savings.

After energy reduction measures have been identified, it’s time to consider on-site renewable power generation.  Since renewable energy technologies such as wind turbines and photovoltaics (PV) still tend to have a relatively high first cost and a long payback period, considering third party financing is a viable option.  A power purchase agreement (PPA) is a contract between a power provider and a building owner. The PPA provider funds the project, designs, builds, owns, operates and maintains the system and sells the power back to the building owner. The building owner then has an option to purchase the system from the provider. This is a great way to avoid upfront costs yet reap the benefits of a reduced carbon footprint.

Additional Resources:
U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Rating System. www.usgbc.org
UK’s BREEAM Rating System. www.breeam.org
Australia Green Building Council’s Green Star Program. www.gbca.org.au/green-star
Japan’s CASBEE Tools. www.ibec.or.jp/CASBEE
Clean Airport Partnership. www.cleanairports.com
AIA 2030 Toolkit. http://info.aia.org/toolkit2030/

Nellie Reid is a Director of Sustainable Design for Gensler. She founded the Los Angeles chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and served as board vice chair from 2004 to 2007. She also founded the A+D Sustainable Design Leaders Summit, a meeting of sustainable design leaders from 50 large architecture and design firms. Reid thinks that “sustainability should not just be a noble goal, but a core factor in all decisions.” Contact her at nellie_reid@gensler.com.

Reader Comments (1)

very interesting article so far, and waiting for part 3, amd also interested now to see if you could take this into the other spheres of the environment, the workplace and the schools and beyond...really like the graphical eye catching diagram too!
08.24.2010 | Unregistered Commenterdouglas wittnebel

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