Energy comprises a large portion of operating costs for airports—as much as 10% to 15% of these facilities’ entire operating budget. By implementing energy-saving measures, you can cut costs while also promoting a greener image. The measures detailed in this report are aimed at providing substantial energy savings with short payback periods. An average airport (a subset of the transportation complex sector) uses 19.7 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and 34.7 thousand Btu of natural gas per square foot annually, with lighting and cooling accounting for 46% of overall energy use (figure 1).

Average energy use data

Figure 1: Energy consumption by end use

Major sources of electricity consumption in airports include cooling, lighting, ventilation, and a large number of miscellaneous sources, including computers and cooking equipment. For natural gas, the main end use is typically heating.
A pie chart showing electricity end uses for airports: cooling, 31%; lighting, 15%; ventilation, 12%; computing, 8%; refrigeration, 7%; and other uses, 27%; A pie chart showing natural gas end uses for airports: heating, 88%; water heating, 7%; and cooking, 5%.

To better manage your facilities’ energy costs, it helps to understand how you’re charged for energy. Most utilities charge commercial buildings for their natural gas based on the amount of energy delivered. Electricity, on the other hand, can be charged based on two measures—consumption and demand. The consumption component of your bill is based on the amount of electricity, in kWh, that the building consumes during a month. The demand component is the peak demand, in kilowatts (kW), that occurs within the month. Monthly demand charges can range from just a few dollars to upward of $20 per kW and can be based on the highest peak recorded in the previous 12 months.

Reduce peak demand whenever possible because it can be a considerable percentage of your bill. As you read the following energy cost-management recommendations, keep in mind how each one will affect both your consumption and your demand.

Quick fixes

Many airport systems offer substantial energy-saving potential. Most of those savings come from lighting and cooling end uses or from setting specific electronic equipment on timers so that they’re only used when needed.

Turning things down

Turning things down seems simple, but remember that for every 1,000 kWh you save by turning things off, you save $120 on your utility bill, assuming an average electricity cost of $0.12 per kWh.

Delamping Many airport areas are lit brighter than necessary, and delamping can help reduce costs without negatively affecting occupants. The Toronto airport, for example, was able to reduce the amount of light by 40% in its terminal by removing one T8 bulb from every two-lamp fixture. This eliminated 2,000 bulbs—and their related energy and replacement costs—but didn’t trigger any customer complaints about inadequate lighting.

Flight information displays Make displays more efficient by installing programs that sequence the displays on and off based on patterns of occupancy in an area. Additionally, when it’s time for replacement, consider installing ENERGY STAR–qualified displays (specifications can be found on its Signage Displays page) to save even more energy.

Office equipment Desktop computers can use more than twice the energy of a flat-screen monitor, so it’s important to power down or put to sleep computers that aren’t in use. The ENERGY STAR Power Management program’s article 6 Ways to Reduce IT Costs discusses several possibilities, including free software that automatically places active monitors and computers into a low-power sleep mode through a local area network. Use smart power strips to shut off plugged-in devices like printers and monitors when there are no users present, and install computer power-management software to provide further savings.

HVAC operations and maintenance

Regularly scheduled maintenance and periodic tune-ups save energy and extend the useful life of HVAC equipment. Create a preventive maintenance plan for your airport that includes regularly scheduled tasks such as cleaning, calibration, component replacement, and general inspections. Keep information on setpoints and operating schedules readily available for reference when the equipment is checked or recalibrated.

HVAC settings optimization Make sure thermostats are correctly set so different parts of the building are at the appropriate temperatures at the appropriate times. Use HVAC controls to reduce ventilation in areas that aren’t in use.

Economizers Many air-conditioning systems (other than those in hot and humid climates) use a dampered vent called an economizer to reduce the need for mechanically cooled air by drawing cool outside air into the building. But if the economizer isn’t regularly checked, the linkage on the damper can seize up or break.

An economizer that’s stuck in the fully open position can add as much as 50% to a building’s annual energy bill by allowing hot air in during the air-conditioning season and cold air in during the heating season. Have a licensed technician check, clean, and lubricate your economizer about once a year and repair it if necessary. If the economizer is still operating, have the technician clean and lubricate the linkage and calibrate the controls.

Steam trap inspection and maintenance Steam traps remove water from the steam distribution system once the water has cooled and condensed in a radiator or other heat exchanger. This heat-recovery process saves energy because the steam will release its heat to warm the air before it’s cycled back into the boiler.

However, mechanical steam traps can become stuck open, which wastes heat, since live (or still heated) steam is being released. They can also become stuck in the closed position, which leads to a buildup of condensate in the system and can cause damage. This type of failure is less common and more easily diagnosed than when traps are stuck open.

Without maintenance, 15% to 30% of the installed steam traps in a steam system may fail within three to five years, according to the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) tip sheet Inspect and Repair Steam Traps (PDF). A single failed trap can waste more than $50 per month, and airports can have hundreds or even thousands of steam traps. Install steam trap monitors to get notified when they fail; each one can monitor up to 16 steam traps. Knowing when a steam trap fails is important because one failure can cause other steam traps that drain into the same line to fail. There are some general warning signs that steam traps may be failing:

  • The boiler room is unusually hot
  • The condensate receiver is venting an abnormally large amount of steam
  • Water seals on condensate pumps are failing quickly
  • It’s hard to sustaining boiler operating pressure
  • It’s difficult to maintain low pressure in return lines
  • Water hammer (when slugs of condensate accelerate quickly in the pipes) occurs—this can cause serious damage to equipment and pose a safety hazard

Chiller maintenance Cleaning the chiller’s coils can greatly increase its efficiency. If the coils are dirty, the heat-transfer efficiency will decrease, which will will decrease the efficiency of the unit. For a 10-ton unit, a $50 cleaning will typically pay for itself in two months and yield an additional $200 in savings over the course of the year. To see if a chiller could benefit from cleaning, check the temperature difference between the return and supply chiller water. The difference should be about 10° to 15° Fahrenheit (F). If the difference is less than 10 degrees, it’s likely because of low efficiency, indicating that the system needs cleaning and maintenance.

Chiller sequencing Operators often run more chillers than necessary for a given load. Each chiller runs most efficiently at a range of loads. Turn off some chillers to keep the others in their most-efficient zone, which is typically above 30% of their full load. Chillers aren’t as efficient when they operate below 30% of their full load As cooling loads increase, bring additional chillers online when the others are leaving their most efficient loading zone. If one chiller is significantly smaller than the rest (often referred to as the swing chiller), it can be brought on- and off-line first to keep the larger chillers more fully loaded. More chillers shouldn’t be turned on until the chillers currently running are at full load.

Multiple cooling towers Although it’s beneficial to run as few chillers as possible, you should run as many cooling towers as possible. Most chilled-water plants have excess capacity, so that one or more cooling towers aren’t operating during low-load hours. To make the most of existing cooling towers, run condenser water over as many towers as possible at the lowest fan speed as often as possible; fan motors use less energy than the tower, and the water is still cool. If two cooling towers run at half speed (instead of one at full speed), together they would reject slightly more heat than the single-tower operation while drawing only half the power.

Cooling tower maintenance A dirty or corroded cooling tower makes these systems less efficient. To avoid this, clean and maintain cooling towers annually.

Air-conditioning temperatures With a thermometer, check the temperature of the return air going to the air conditioner and then check the temperature of the air coming out of the register nearest the unit. If the temperature difference is less than 14°F or more than 22°F, have a licensed technician inspect the air-conditioning unit.

Cabinet panels and condenser coils Do a maintenance check on your rooftop air-conditioning units on a quarterly basis. Make sure the panels are fully attached with all screws in place, and also check to see that gaskets are intact so no air leaks out of the cabinet. Leaking chilled air can cost $100 per year in wasted energy per rooftop unit. In addition, check condenser coils quarterly for debris that can collect there. Thoroughly wash the coils at the beginning or end of the cooling season.

Airflow Hold your hand up to air registers to ensure that there’s adequate airflow. If there’s little airflow or if you find dirt and dust at the register, have a technician inspect your unit and ductwork.

Boiler combustion area According to the DOE’s Building Technologies Program report Efficient Hospital Boilers Result in Financial, Environmental, and Safety Payoffs (PDF), decreasing excess combustion air by 15% can lead to a 1% increase in boiler efficiency. Tuning the combustion area includes checking the systems for efficiency opportunities. For example, repairing air leaks will prevent excess air from escaping and keep the combustion area cleaner.

Longer-term solutions

Airports rely on durable equipment that will eventually be upgraded or replaced. Though lighting and HVAC are the most likely areas for targeted upgrades, you can find savings in other places, even washers and dryers. Though these long-term solutions require more effort, they’re more likely to increase the efficiency of your facility. Ask your utility representative for more information about incentives for such projects.

Before implementing these kinds of projects, it’s a great idea to have an energy inspector conduct a walk-through audit. Use our recommendations as guidelines in conjunction with a level 2 energy audit. You can see the ASHRAE standards on Energy Advantage’s page The Difference Between ASHRAE Level 1, 2 & 3 Energy Audits. Level 2 audits provide detailed energy calculations and financial analyses of proposed energy-efficiency measures.


Commissioning is the process of making sure systems are designed, installed, tested, maintained, and operated according to the owner’s operational needs. This process can cut energy bills by 10% to 15% or more, and often provides a simple payback period of less than one year.

While the term commissioning applies to new buildings, the term retrocommissioning refers to testing and calibrating an existing building that hasn’t been commissioned before. When the process is applied to a building that’s been commissioned before, it’s called recommissioning. It’s best to recommission buildings every three to five years to keep your building performing properly. You may also be able to do monitoring-based commissioning, sometimes called ongoing commissioning, where you attach monitoring equipment to systems and leave it in place for continuing diagnostics.

Spaces should always be commissioned when there’s a change in what they’re being used for. As part of the contract, require your commissioning agent to provide instructions and documentation that can be used for future staff training and maintenance checklists. Since all the systems in the building affect each other, commission all systems at the same time to avoid inefficiencies.

Building automation systems

Building automation systems (BASs) can be expensive, but they contribute to large recurring savings. A BAS controls a building’s HVAC, lighting, security, and other systems from one central location, increase efficiency, and allow for easier monitoring. By monitoring temperature, lighting, and pressure, the BAS can operate systems only when they’re needed and use the least possible energy when they’re running. BASs are also useful for monitoring-based commissioning.

To save energy, a BAS can:

  • Only run systems when required—the BAS will decide which equipment needs to run based on weather conditions and a schedule of building occupancy
  • Ensure that the systems within the building are running at minimum capacity
  • Decrease peak demand—when the power draw of a building reaches a set number, the BAS will reduce power to designated systems, such as lighting

It’s important to commission your BAS and get the settings right to realize all of the energy savings possible. For example, optimizing the system’s sensors can increase its efficiency.


Lighting plays a major role in airport operations; it typically makes up 15% of an airport’s total energy costs. Not only is it crucial for primary airport functions such as terminals, parking, roadways, taxiways, and runways, efficient modern lighting can also provide non-energy benefits such as stress relief for travelers through tunable color temperatures.

Lighting controls Automatic lighting controls such as occupancy sensors, timers, photosensors, and dimmers save energy and reduce maintenance costs. Occupancy sensors and timers can reduce lighting energy consumption by up to 50% in offices and other areas that aren’t open to the public, and they may be a good choice in public areas that have little traffic.

Timers may be the best bet for energy savings in areas with higher occupancy but predictable schedules. Terminals generally follow predictable schedules, and you can adjust lighting controls based on the published commercial flight schedule for a given period. For example, the energy management system at Port Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio, is programmed to turn off lighting and mechanical systems in gate areas where no flights are scheduled so that energy isn’t wasted on unoccupied parts of the building.

LEDs Although LEDs have the potential to save a lot of energy in airports, they’re not appropriate for all situations. Despite the technological advances, you still need to take care in selecting products that will meet specific illumination needs, match manufacturer claims, and be compatible with any controls that are employed.

For example, you can use LEDs in terminals, parking lots, roadways, and taxiways. But LEDs aren’t the best choice for runway lights in colder climates since they don’t give off heat and you’ll have to clear off the frost. LEDs can also be too bright, making it difficult for pilots to land safely. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires a switch from 3-step to 5-step regulators to allow for better dimming control. To learn more about the FAA’s requirements, read the advisory circular Design and Installation Details for Airport Visual Aids(PDF).

LEDs require less maintenance than other lighting options. Their life ranges from 25,000 hours to more than 100,000 hours, depending on the application. Other lights range from 1,000 hours (incandescent lamps) to as much as 70,000 hours (induction lighting).

For conventional lamps—such as incandescent, fluorescent, or high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps—life is defined as the number of hours of operation after which half of a representative sample of lamps can be expected to fail. In contrast, LEDs don’t generally fail outright; rather, their output declines over time, so the industry defines LED life as the point at which the light output has declined to 70% of its original value.

Fluorescent lamps If your facility uses T12 fluorescent lamps or commodity-grade T8 lamps, relamping with high-performance T8 lamps and electronic ballasts can reduce your lighting energy consumption by 35% or more. Adding specular reflectors, new lenses, and occupancy sensors or timers can double the savings. Paybacks of one to three years are common.

LEDs—in the form of replacement tubes, retrofit kits, or new fixtures—are also a viable option, offering considerable savings even when compared to the best fluorescent options, but products vary in performance, so select carefully.

Daylighting A design strategy that uses a mix of natural and artificial light sources can increase comfort and reduce energy costs. The elongated structure of airport terminals, which is necessary for airplane gate access, lends itself well to daylighting. The addition of low-emissivity window glazing reduces both glare and solar gain, and light pipes and skylights can bring sunlight into interior spaces on top floors. During construction, incorporate translucent roofing material to let more light in.

Ballasts and daylighting controls can reduce the amount of electric light used when daylight is present. Appropriate window shading and separate shades on high windows are relatively low-cost retrofit options.

As a bonus, natural light provides benefits other than energy savings, such as reducing stress for travelers.

Smart lighting design in parking lots Parking lots are often overlit—an average of 1 foot-candle of light or less is usually sufficient—which means there’s potential to save energy by delamping, adding dimming controls, or adding occupancy sensors. For example, the Toronto Pearson International Airport used some of these options to reduce the lighting in its parking garage by 25%.

Overlit parking areas not only waste energy but can actually be dangerous if drivers have trouble adjusting their eyes between highly lit and dark areas. However, you should find a balance to prevent safety concerns involved with underlighting.

The most common lamps used for outdoor lighting are HID sources—metal halide and high-pressure sodium. In recent years, fluorescent lamps, induction lamps, and LEDs have also become viable sources for outdoor lighting, offering good color quality and better control options than HID sources. LEDs, in particular, offer high efficiency and long life, and their light can be precisely directed, which limits light pollution.

Apron lighting Replacing HID lighting on aprons—the spaces where aircrafts are parked, loaded and unloaded, refueled, and boarded—with LEDs can save energy, decrease maintenance needs, and increase safety. Using LEDs gives you more control over the amount of light being produced and the distribution of that light; placement and brightness of the LEDs will depend on the size of the aircraft being lit. When considering upgrading to LED apron lighting, we recommend:

  • Using fully shielded light sources
  • Looking for lamps with light temperatures of 3,500 kelvins (K) or lower
  • Shaping the LEDs’ beams to light areas efficiently
  • Considering dimming to reduce energy use during periods of low activity

Taxiway lights Replacing taxiway lights with LEDs can save energy and maintenance costs. According to the DOE report LEDs Ready for Takeoff at Louisiana Airport, Hammond Northshore Regional Airport replaced about 250 incandescent lights along its taxiway with LEDs, and it estimates its annual energy savings will be between $10,000 and $15,000.

Using LEDs also makes it easier for airport staff to turn the taxiway lights off when they’re not needed. With incandescent lights, the likelihood of the light bulb blowing out is higher on initial start, so if your staff turns lights off in those in-between times, there’s a higher risk of the lights blowing when they’re turned back on.

LEDs reduce maintenance costs as well since they have longer lifetimes and are more durable than incandescent lights in the outdoors. The FAA’s Design and Installation Details for Airport Visual Aids includes material, placement, and height requirements.

Bridge navigation lights Because navigation lights on bridges have many requirements—such as being visible from a mile away in different conditions—LEDs are a good alternative to incandescent lights. LED light is more focused, shining only in the intended direction; incandescent light goes in all directions, which means that roughly half of it will be projected onto the surface of the bridge. LEDs also use less energy, last longer, and require less maintenance. In addition, LEDs are more durable and resistant to vibration, so they can withstand many conditions that would break the filaments in incandescent lights.

Security lighting Using occupancy sensors with outdoor security lighting can save energy and improve security. The lights are off until motion triggers one of the sensors—which leads to energy savings—and the sudden presence of light can draw the attention of the security guards, adding a level of security.

LED exit signs If you haven’t upgraded to LED exit signs, doing so can decrease energy and maintenance costs. They can also increase safety since LED exit signs are brighter than traditional exit signs.

Flight information displays Consider replacing inefficient monitors with ENERGY STAR–rated displays to save energy. You might look into a system that displays flight information. These systems use flight data to estimate occupancy in different areas and turn off displays in unoccupied spaces.

Refrigerated display cases LEDs have lower power demand and longer lifetime, and they don’t emit as much waste heat into their environment as fluorescent lights do, so the refrigeration systems can work more efficiently. LEDs can create a more even distribution of light to make the case contents more appealing, and they can be programmed to dim during low-traffic periods to reduce energy use.


Boilers You can enhance the energy performance of existing boilers with stack gas heat recovery (also known as condensing heat exchangers).

If you’re considering replacing your boilers, look at condensing boilers, which are more efficient and can last up to 25 years longer than standard noncondensing boilers. A condensing boiler captures and reuses waste heat released from flue gas, which means it uses less energy when heating water. Although condensing boilers are more expensive than noncondensing boilers, the average simple payback period is five years with a 20% return on investment.

Another thing to consider when replacing boilers is to properly size them for the load the airport requires—a value that could have significantly changed since you initially installed the boiler. It can also be beneficial to install multiple smaller units rather than running larger units at inefficient part-load levels.

Other boiler efficiency adjustments include:

  • Installing an economizer to preheat air before it enters the combustion area, requiring the boiler to use less additional fuel
  • Adding water recovery equipment, such as a deaerator, which removes dissolved oxygen in the feedwater and eliminates carbon dioxide, allowing the feedwater to be cycled back into the boiler, saving heat, energy, and water
  • Insulating your pipes to reduce heat loss

Blowdown control Boilers use a blowdown function to remove solids in water that fall to the bottom of the tank and form a sludge that lowers the boiler’s heat-transfer ability. The dissolved solids lead to foaming and carry over into steam, reducing the boiler’s efficiency. Installing a blowdown control system can help keep this process efficient by monitoring the amount of water discharged in relation to the amount of dissolved solids present.

Solar water heating Solar water heating may be particularly effective in smaller airports and can even help with melting snow. Solar water heating occurs when water passes through panels mounted on the roof, heats up, and passes through a heat exchanger where it warms potable water for space heating or domestic uses. You can also use solar water heaters to preheat boiler feedwater.


Variable-frequency drives (VFDs) VFDs can be added to pumps and fans in HVAC systems, saving energy by allowing motors to adjust their output to fluctuating heating and ventilation needs. VFDs can save the most energy in spaces with lower ventilation requirements; they can decrease power drawn by fans by up to 50%.

Energy-recovery ventilation (ERV) Proper ventilation is essential for maintaining good indoor air quality, but it places an additional burden on heating and cooling equipment, which must condition air that will soon be exhausted from the building. ERV systems capture thermal energy and moisture from the exhaust airstream and transfer it to the intake (outside) airstream, saving energy and improving humidity control. The effect of these benefits varies depending on climate, but geographic locations with hot, humid summers are particularly well suited to ERV systems.

Demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) Instead of ventilating space at a constant rate designed to accommodate the maximum number of customers, a DCV system ensures that the amount of outside air drawn in for ventilation depends on actual occupancy at any given time.

Efficient fan motors The efficiency of fans can vary depending on design, going from as low as 40% to as high as 80%. HVAC fans are good candidates for energy-efficiency retrofits because they have long operating hours and wide-ranging efficiencies. When replacing fans, choose ones that fit the space and function they’ll be used for so they can operate most efficiently.

Displacement ventilation Traditional air-supply systems—in which air is supplied and returned at the ceiling—can be inefficient. In this system, some of the ceiling air can return right after it’s been put into the room before it’s had a chance to cool the intended space. Repairs for traditional systems are costly since the system is housed in the ceiling. In displacement ventilation systems, cool air is instead supplied near the floor; when it comes in contact with occupants, it absorbs the heat. This warm air rises to the ceiling and is taken out of the room at the ceiling exhaust.

Displacement ventilation systems decrease energy use and increase the efficiency of ventilation systems in airports, particularly since most airports are largely made up of open spaces with high ceilings. Since displacement ventilation systems are only applicable for cooling, you’d need a separate heating system, so displacement ventilation systems are best in warmer climates.


Chillers Chilled-water systems are custom-designed for each application, and employing efficient auxiliary equipment and operating strategies can often be more important than selecting the chiller itself. Centrifugal and screw chillers tend to be the most efficient electric chillers on the market, but other types, including scroll and reciprocating chillers, are available. Annual energy costs of a chiller can amount to one-third of the purchase price.

Water-side economizers A water-side economizer evaporatively cools water in a cooling tower and delivers it to a building’s chilled-water coils via a flat-plate heat exchanger. In colder climates, the opportunity for free cooling with a water-side economizer typically exceeds 75% of the total annual operating hours, whereas in warmer climates, such free cooling may only be available during 20% of the operating hours due to temperature and humidity. Typical simple payback periods from energy savings range from two to five years.

Building shell

Windows In addition to providing lighting, windows affect heating and cooling loads. The airport’s location affects which window options will be most efficient. If cooling loads are dominant, you’ll want glazing that transmits adequate light for daylight activity while minimizing solar heat transmission. In buildings where heating is the major energy load, choose glazing that minimizes heat loss and, in some cases, configure it to increase passive solar heat gain while maximizing daylighting.

Cool roofs and green roofs Although most heat gain in a facility comes through the windows, eliminating heat gain through the exterior roof and walls can be a cost-effective and low-risk way to reduce cooling loads and peak demand. One of the most effective strategies is to use light-colored walls and roofs, called cool roofs.

Another approach is a green roof, which has grasses or vegetation on top in order to reduce heat absorption. For example, O’Hare airport in Chicago has realized a 30% reduction in annual heating and cooling costs by installing its Vegetated Roofs, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. While green roofs aren’t generally as effective as light-colored roofs for purely reducing cooling costs, they can be a better choice for climates that require large amounts of cooling in summer and heating in winter. Green roofs also provide non-energy benefits such as sound absorption for heavy airport equipment, reduced stormwater runoff, and improved air quality.

Baggage conveyors and other motorized systems

The hundreds of motors and belts in baggage systems constitute a large electric load, and upgrades can create significant energy savings. Using efficient motors on escalators can also reduce maintenance and lead to energy savings.

Baggage systems The most comprehensive and cost-effective way to save energy for mechanical system upgrades is through a whole-system approach. Efficient belt systems have teeth instead of relying on friction to hold the belts, saving energy and resulting in fewer bearing failures, because less lateral force is placed on the drive. In addition to cutting down on energy costs, an efficient driveline may reduce initial costs by allowing a smaller motor size.

Adding VFDs can result in energy savings when you don’t need the baggage conveyors to operate at full speed, but don’t make this upgrade in isolation. Think about the whole system—speed controls will only reach their full savings potential if all elements of the system are specified for variable-speed operation.

Since baggage systems run intermittently, they’re good candidates to be controlled by a BAS. Baggage-handling systems at the Toronto and Columbus airports have been separated into energy management zones that can be shut down if the gates they serve aren’t in use.

Escalators and walkways Escalators and moving walkways consume a a lot of energy in airports. Technologies are available for reducing escalator energy use, from intermittent drives that reduce escalator speed while passengers aren’t present to LED lighting and regenerative braking for down escalators. Research suggests that the energy-savings potential for escalators and walkways in the US ranges from 10% to 40% per unit. Key components affecting energy use include motors, controls, and lighting; intermittent drives can be effective in decreasing the energy use of escalators that aren’t constantly in use.

Elevators You can reduce energy consumption by installing more-efficient elevators, but because simple payback periods may be as long as 15 to 20 years, it’s rarely practical to install efficient elevators for the energy savings alone. It can be more effective to replace them when undergoing large renovations. Modern elevators have other non-energy benefits, such as high performance and improved reliability.

Appliances and office equipment

Depending on airport size, there may be areas that have refrigerators, washers, dryers, and vending machines. For these sorts of appliances, look for ENERGY STAR–certified models that maintain higher levels of energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR program also has an Office Equipment page that covers ways to cut utility bills for monitors, printers, scanners, copiers, fax machines, and power adaptors.

Other options

Renewable energy In many airports, photovoltaics (PV) have the potential to offset considerable electricity costs. Denver International Airport has installed 10 megawatts of solar PVs in four different installations. The solar panels generate 16 million kWh per year and offset about 7% of the airport’s energy consumption.

Parking lots in hot, sunny areas are particularly good places for PVs panels—if you place them on top of canopy structures, they can do double duty, providing shade for cars while also producing electricity. In some cases, installing a small PV array and battery to power an obstacle beacon may be less expensive than burying electrical wires. Note that solar reflective glare can be an issue for plane approaches, so PV projects require glare analysis.

Vehicle upgrades Converting the fleet of airport vehicles—such as ground-service equipment and shuttle buses—from gas to electricity demonstrates a commitment to the environment and local air quality. When possible, electric-battery vehicles should be charged at night, during off-peak hours—talk to a utility representative to learn more. Non-energy benefits include cleaner, quieter airport operations, which can result in happier employees and travelers.

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