What is a carbon footprint? In simple terms, a carbon footprint is the distribution of greenhouse emissions caused majorly by the burning of fossil fuels and traveling. Traveling whether it’s by car, bus, or plane is something that humans do on a daily basis, the question is, how can we make traveling sustainable and yet still obtainable? Well first let’s start with air travel. Three simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint when flying is to skip the layover and take direct flights, prioritize flying on new and improved aircrafts, and my personal favorite, fly with sustainable air lines. Now, you may be asking, what airlines are making sustainable efforts? Well, below is a list of the top 8 sustainable airports from all across the world to choose from.
Galápagos Ecological Airport, Ecuador -
The Galapagos Ecological Airport in Ecuador is a LEED Gold Certified, Airport Carbon Accreditation, and received the ASQ Customer Experience Award in 2019. The airport was the first to receive the LEED Gold Certification and has upheld high standards since its formation. They were also the very first Latin-American airport to exceed a Level 3 Carbon Accreditation through fuel and energy reduction in the facility. The airline helps you easily reduce your own personal environmental impact by lowering your carbon footprint when traveling by air. The airline even has a website that allows you to calculate the emissions for your specific flight. This airline is a very reliable and great option for a sustainable air traveling experience.
Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden -
The Stockholm Arlanda Airport located in Sweden uses renewable jet fuel allowing for them to take away the usual large carbon footprint that comes with air travel. They use a climate offset system that allows passengers to purchase renewable fuel for their flights. This means that they could purchase it for half the flight or up to the entire flight depending on how much of their carbon footprint that they are wanting to reduce. Their website also gives personal tips on how to fly sustainably such as taking public transportation to and from the airport, avoid layovers and choose direct flights, purchase renewable jet fuel, pack light, and choose airlines that have a newer fleet. This airline gives many useful tips as well as the chance for the purchase of renewable fuel to lower carbon emissions.
Denver International Airport, US -
The Denver International Airport located in the United States has a five tier system to their sustainability efforts: community stewardship, environmental management, economic excellence, green buildings, and energy management. First we will start with community stewardship. They prioritize building community in the airport and their surrounding areas as they transport over 64 million passengers each year and host 35,000 on site jobs for community members. This is Denver International Airport’s first step to making guests comfortable and welcome. Their next step is environmental management. They have strategically set aside an Environmental Services Division that upholds their environmental policy which includes protecting the environment, conserving energy and natural resources, preventing pollution, meeting/exceeding compliance obligations and voluntary commitments, and lastly continue to improve the Environmental Management System. The third tier is economic excellence. The airport generates over 26 billion dollars for the state per year and strives to promote success by minimizing long term costs for the airport, reducing regulatory effects, increasing their investment returns, preparing the estate for future endeavors, all the while working to reduce potential risk. The airport's fourth step falls under green buildings. The facility is one of the few to receive a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification due to their strive to better their sustainability efforts. For example, Concourse C West, Five-Gate Expansion is a LEED gold-certified gate because of its LED lighting, 16% less used energy, 20% of less used water, and multiple other efforts. The last and final tier of their efforts is their energy management. The airport has been a model for energy efficiency since the 90s because of its conservation in lighting, heating, cooling, equipment, partnerships, and energy. The Denver International Airport is an amazing option for sustainable traveling.
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, US -
The Dallas Fort Worth International Airport located in Texas is an airport that is devoted to finding its passengers a sustainable ride to their destination. DFW was the first carbon neutral airport introduced to America and has since then worked toward bettering every aspect of their sustainability efforts. DFWs goal is to continue leading sustainable travel and to be a model for airports across the globe in green efforts. The airport bases their efforts off of the United Nations SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) in order to work in unison with America’s and the globe’s sustainable needs. The established efforts are successful because of the program’s devotion to identifying challenges, defining solutions, and finally measuring their results. DFW is a large airport that takes up more land mass than the city of Manhattan, because of this, the facility manages more than 250 miles of storm pipes, 100 water outfalls, and 25 miles of creeks and channels. This allows the airport to sustainably manage their water usage in addition to managing their lighting, energy, and temperature usages. The Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is an amazing airport that is constantly working toward bettering their efforts and the traveling experiences of their customers.