Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport lands multi-million emissions reduction grants from FAA
Terminal B at George Bush Intercontinental (photo: HAS)
Thu 27 Aug 2009 – The City of Houston Department of Aviation has received $8.8 million in grants from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to install new state-of-the-art equipment at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) that is expected to reduce ground emissions by up to 60 percent. The two grants awarded through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP) will allow the purchase and installation of new solar panels, heaters and chillers in the airport’s central operating plant, which controls the air conditioning and heating in all five airport terminals. These upgrades will replace the outdated gas-powered steam generation system currently used in the facility.
One of the grants is a $5 million contribution from the FAA’s Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) programme, a nationally competitive initiative designed to reduce airport ground emissions at commercial service airports located in regions of the country with higher than normal pollution levels, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The project allows airports to use grants to finance low-emission vehicles, refuelling and recharging stations, gate electrification and other airport air quality improvements. Currently the entire Sedan/SUV fleet at Houston Airport System, the fourth-largest multi-airport system in the US, is composed of hybrids and more than half of them were purchased with VALE grants.
“We have presented some very unique ideas to the FAA and we’ve already worked closely and successfully with them on eight other green projects,” says Eric Potts interim Director of Aviation for the City of Houston. “This project will allow IAH to significantly shrink its environmental footprint and that is good news for all of us.”
To date, only nine airport operators in the US have received VALE grants and the most recent grant to IAH is among the largest ever issued. In order to expedite the project, the system will be designed and built to order, beginning in 2010 and is scheduled for completion in 2011.