November begins the busy season of holiday traveling. In fact, Airlines for America, the country’s only airline trade association, estimates 24.2 million people flew from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 for Thanksgiving in 2013. With family and friends spread out across North America, people are relying on air travel more and more. And as North Americans are becoming more aware of the importance of protecting the environment, they want their holiday travel partners to share the same philosophy. These airports are making an effort to make their facilities as environmentally friendly as possible. While some are focusing on improving air quality, others are making strides in reducing water usage and saving energy. If you’re traveling this holiday season, check out these airports and learn more about how they’re making a difference for our planet.
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
The Charlotte, N.C., airport has a unique solution for its large amount of waste. In this airport, 300 pounds of earthworms live in an 8,000 square foot bin and eat the food scraps and paper waste travelers leave behind. Before the waste goes into the worm bin, it goes through a pre-composter so it’s easier for the worms to digest. Earthworms can easily digest these items, and their waste makes a valuable soil fertilizer. This composting system is designed to convert 2 tons of waste into valuable fertilizer each day.
- Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Along with using solar-powered hot water and a taxi incentive, the Vancouver International Airport has a green attraction unlike any other. This airport has an 18-meter high and 12-meter wide wall full of living plants. The green wall has 28,249 individual plants with a built-in irrigation system, making it the largest living wall in North America. Benefits of the green wall include air purification, sound control and evaporative cooling.
- Denver International Airport (DIA)
DIA is the largest airport in the United States by total area. In 2013, the airport averaged more than 1,550 flights each day and served a total of 52.5 million passengers. Denver is making strides to improve air quality by using alternatively fueled, hybrid and electric vehicles in the airport fleet. Additionally, the airport has reduced access fees for hybrid taxis and vans. DIA employees can benefit from carpool and bus pass programs to reduce fuel emissions as well.
- Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (YWG)
Winnipeg Richardson International Airport is the first LEED-certified airport in Canada. The building is designed for passive heating in the winter and solar protection in the summer. To make the most out of the sun’s energy during the cold winters, the perimeter of the floor plate is a solar collector. The solar collector transfers the energy into the in-floor radiant heating system.
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
California is in a severe drought, so SFO is making an effort to reduce water usage. To conserve water outdoors, SFO is reducing landscape irrigation by more than 50%. The airport is cutting back on hosing down the sidewalks, and even working with rental car companies to reduce water usage. Indoors, the airport is performing a Water Wise evaluation for all plumbing fixtures and only serving water at restaurants when customers request it. The airport is also requesting all tenants participate in an individual 10% water reduction goal.