There are many airports that have been implementing practices that are considered to be sustainable, i.e., they have environmental, social, and economic benefits. Airports implement sustainability practices because of local and regional priorities, the availability of grant funds for that particular project or practice, and/or the practice may have appeared to be relatively inexpensive to implement without consideration or awareness of long-term implications.
Airport maintenance departments frequently are asked to support and maintain a new system, practice, or piece of equipment as a result of integrating a sustainability practice, but rarely have an opportunity to discuss impacts they foresee occurring. As a result of this and for other reasons, there have been impacts and implications to these practices that were not necessarily considered or known prior to their implementation.
It is prudent for airports to assess the budgetary and operational implications of various sustainability practices, as some may require more maintenance and upkeep than originally anticipated. There have been many studies and materials written on sustainability for airports, but very little has been done to look at long-term operational and maintenance implications. Research is needed to help airports consider all the operational and maintenance implications and impacts of sustainability practices.
The objective of this research is to develop a process to evaluate sustainability practices as they relate to the impacts on day-to-day airport operations and maintenance. The elements of the evaluation process should include, at a minimum, the short- and long-term implications of maintaining the sustainability practice, budgetary implications, staffing issues, appropriate metrics, environmental impacts, and a tool for conducting a cost-benefit analysis.
The evaluation process should be applicable to these categories of sustainability practices:
- Water conservation
- Energy conservation
- Waste management
- Consumables and Materials (e.g., paper products, paints, light bulbs, filters)
- Alternative Fuels
It is not necessary for the evaluation process to be applicable to noise and de-icing sustainability practices.
The final deliverable will be a report that includes the evaluation process, cost-benefit analysis, the case studies, and an explanation and justification for the process.