Air travel is one of the major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, and eco-conscious individuals have been aware of this fact for many years.  It is for this reason that many people have taken some steps in their own lives to reduce their carbon footprint by using measures that offset airline emissions.  These steps include planting trees or donating to organizations working to preserve the environment.

The good news is that now the airline industry itself is stepping up to the plate and making drastic changes to the way it operates, in order to deliver a more eco-friendly flying experience.  These airline companies want to show their customers that they care about the environment.  And the new eco-friendly improvements can even cut down the costs of running their businesses.

Many airports around the United States are taking creative steps toward becoming “greener.”  Denver International Airport and Boston Logan Airport are both generating a portion of their energy from renewable sources, including solar and wind energy.  Also, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) has installed measures that have resulted in keeping 76,000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, including installing over 230,000 square feet of vegetated roof space at both Medway International Airport and O’Hare Airport.  The CDA has also made certain that all the airport trucks now use ultra-low sulfur diesel gas, and it has also implemented the use of recycled materials at all of its airports.  In addition, Denver International Airport has installed many solar panels that generate electricity throughout the airport’s grounds.

Europe and Asia are also following suit, implementing changes to their airports that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Airplane Pier E of Zurich Airport in Switzerland, for example, is covered with solar panels that generate energy without the use of fossil fuels.  Zurich International also utilizes fixed ground sources of energy to power their docked aircrafts, preventing 30,000 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere thus far.  Hong Kong International Airport is working hard to become the greenest airport in the world, and its first step is installing energy-saving LED lights throughout its two terminal buildings.  And Changi Airport in Singapore is using intelligent architectural designs, including double glazed glass and solar shading devices, which, together, reduce the need to use energy for both lighting and air conditioning.

What’s The Impact?

Despite these positive changes occurring at airports around the world, there are critics who believe that these advancements are not really improvements at all.  They feel that the airport companies are simply trying to gain more sales from eco-conscious individuals while withholding the fact that more airlines take off every day than ever before and airports continue to expand.

Although airports may be implementing eco-friendly measures to entice a concerned population of citizens to purchase more airline tickets, the measures that have been implemented thus far around the globe seem to have made an impact.  The hope is that, as more airline companies jump on board to utilize eco-friendly technology, their ultimate goal is that less CO2 enters the atmosphere each day.


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