Sustainability & Environmental
The City of Albuquerque Aviation Department will be increasingly sustainable with regard to natural resource conservation, economic strength and community contributions.
sustainability policy statement
- Establish and meet sustainability targets.
- Continually improve our sustainability approach and results.
- Make informed business decisions that incorporate sustainability factors.
Albuquerque’s unique environmental attributes have been significant factors in its establishment, growth, and development. The Aviation Department will increase its emphasis on sustainability efforts to protect these resources through the following priorities.
- The Department will achieve its transportation and economic mission in a manner that demonstrates responsible stewardship with a focus on water conservation, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and innovation.
- As it implements proactive sustainable management and practices that continually improve the environment, the Department will contribute to the economic, social, and environmental well-being of the City of Albuquerque and the region.
- The Department will fully comply with all applicable environmental laws, regulations, and other requirements and will exceed legal and regulatory standards where appropriate.
- The Department will influence tenants to encourage active participation in sustainability efforts.
The Aviation Department will actively approach environmental stewardship and sustainability using the following principles:
- Establishing Environmental Goals and Targets: Using innovative technologies and best management practices, the Department will develop, monitor, and regularly review specific activities and programs that improve environmental performance.
- Achieving Continual Environmental Improvement: The Department will strive to continually reduce the impacts of operations so that it preserves and protects surrounding natural resources through cost-effective energy use, recycling, water conservation, waste reduction, pollution prevention activities, and procurement of green materials.
- Using Sustainability in Business Decisions: The Department will seek to enhance the sustainability of its airports by incorporating sustainability into daily business decisions.
stormwater pollution prevention
Under the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants into waters located in the United States. Industrial, municipal, and other facilities, including airports must obtain NPDES permits. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 6 administers the NPDES permit program in the State of New Mexico and issued the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) for stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity on March 1, 2021.
Activities such as aircraft, vehicle, and ground support equipment fueling; aircraft, vehicle, and equipment maintenance; aircraft and runway de-icing and anti-icing, and material handling and storage that take place at the airport can be exposed to precipitation. Runoff from rain or snowmelt has the potential to come into contact with these activities and their pollutants and transporting them to the nearby storm sewer system or directly to a river or receiving water. To minimize the impact of stormwater discharges from the airport, the 2021 MSGP includes an industrial stormwater permitting sector, “Sector S Air Transportation” that contains specific requirements for the airport to comply with and to develop a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) specific to the airport.
Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans have been developed for both the Albuquerque International Sunport and Double Eagle II Airport and can be accessed in the links below.
Albuquerque International Sunport Stormwater Pollution Plan and 2021 MSGP
Double Eagle Airport Stormwater Pollution Plan and 2021 MSGP
EPA’s Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) Website
In 2014, the Sunport revised and updated the Aviation Department’s Water Conservation Plan which was implemented in 2004. The 2014 “Water Use Report and Conservation Plan Update” (Plan) is an effective and critical component of reducing water use to ensure a future water supply for the City of Albuquerque. The Plan discusses conservation measures already taken by the Aviation Department and provides additional water-saving recommendations for the future.
Sunport Blvd. landscaping was installed with low-water-use plant materials (xeric). The median portion of the landscape was designed for the efficient capture of stormwater by creating swales in terrain eliminating runoff from the area.
This design was recognized and received an award for water conservation. The sloped areas north and south of the roadway are supporting the Buffalo and Blue Gramma grass. These grasses are quite a drought-tolerant and require much less maintenance (mowing, fertilizing, etc.) than the cool season turf varieties commonly used. All of the newer installations of landscape included a new installation of irrigation systems. The system programming is now controlled by a central computer system allowing much better and more efficient use of water. Another aspect of the diversity of the landscape is the vast inventory of trees. The landscape maintenance crews have been aggressively increasing the number of trees throughout the landscape while maintaining the existing inventory. These trees are a vital element in the Sunport’s sustainability goals. Trees perform a multitude of functions including carbon sequestration, converting CO2 to oxygen, stormwater mitigation, erosion control, natural cooling, and the reduction of VOC emitted by automobiles to name a few.
In 2010, a new water line originating from the wastewater treatment plant through the Sunport was installed to supply non-potable treated re-use water for irrigating the landscape at the Sunport. This reclaimed water will still provide needed irrigation to the 70 acres of landscape at the Sunport, without the need for millions of gallons of drinking water per year. This project is being carried out in partnership with the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA), the local provider of water and wastewater services. The final conversion from potable to non-potable water for irrigation will entail the installation of booster pumps and the associated infrastructure, and is expected to save up to 2.5 million gallons of drinking water per month. Construction and installation of these pumps and infrastructure will begin in 2020 with anticipated completion in 2021.
electric ground support equipment (GSE)
In 2014, 20 electric charging stations were installed at the Sunport for airline ground support equipment (GSE), allowing airlines to replace their internal combustion engine equipment with electrical equipment. Ground support equipment includes
- belt loaders (conveyers that help load luggage into the cargo area of the plane)
- baggage tractors (vehicles that bring luggage from the ticket counter to the plane)
- pushback tractors (push planes away from gate before departures)
The installation of these electric charging stations has helped to decrease emissions at the Sunport and contribute to better air quality in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. This project was partially funded with a Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
solar photovoltaic system
In 2010, a new solar photovoltaic (PV) project was installed on the Sunport parking structure 4th level canopies. The project was largely funded by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) grant. This solar PV system has added an additional 440 kW and 2,016 panels to the existing 146 kW 480-panel system covering the eight western-most canopies of the parking structure.
In 2011, the Sunport was awarded another FAA VALE grant for the installation of an additional 411 kW solar PV system on the five remaining canopies of the Parking Structure. The approximate one-megawatt solar PV system located on the 4th level parking structure provides electric power to the structure during daylight hours and significantly reduce electricity consumption and billing costs. The excess power is used in the terminal building.
In 2013, a new one-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system consisting of 4,060 solar PV panels and occupying approximately 191,000 square feet of space was installed over the Sunport long term parking lot. The project was largely funded by an FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant funding. The solar PV system provides electric power to the Sunport terminal building.
Maintenance technicians have also completed the Photovoltaic Academy offered by CNM Workforce Training Center. Electricians will now be able to obtain a NABCEP licensee (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) a nationally recognized standard. This training complements our solar array & solar chiller installations.
The Sunport employs more than 300 people and has approximately 5.4 million passengers travel through the airport annually which creates plenty of opportunity to recycle much of the waste that’s generated. Because of this, the Sunport implemented a recycling program in 2007.
In 2008, the Sunport generated approximately 1,572 tons of solid waste as compared to 2018 which generated approximately 1,102 tons. In addition to reducing the amount of solid waste generated, recycling also increased – from 2008 to 2018, the Sunport grew its recycling by approximately 242%, from 59 tons per year to 132 tons per year.
To help make it more convenient to recycle while on the go, 70 co-located recycle and solid waste stations are available throughout the Sunport for passenger use; in the blue containers please dispose of paper (including newspaper and magazines), aluminum cans and plastic bottles for recycling.
Recycling doesn’t stop with our passengers; recycle containers are also present behind the scenes, in employee offices, work areas, and break rooms. In addition to comingled recycling, the Sunport also recycles its toner cartridges, oil and filters from Aviation fleet vehicles and even food waste from restaurant kitchens.
airfield led lighting and fluorescent lamp replacement
Ballast and fluorescent lamps have beem swapped out in the airfield maintenance facility as part of the City of Albuquerque’s Green Initiative Program. The new fixtures are low-energy electronic ballasts and T8 lamps. Other steps taken to lower the amount of energy being used is the replacement of exit signs with low energy consuming LED fixtures and motion-detecting timer light switches in employee break rooms, men’s restroom and Airfield Manager’s office to assist in verifying that lights are being turned off when not in use
Additionally, conventional taxiway lighting was replaced with LEDs. The LED technology will provide an approximate 70% energy reduction from conventional technologies with an expected useful life of over 100,000 hours.
police bike patrols
Bikes provide environmental and health benefits. Bike patrols run on human power rather than gas, therefore their carbon footprint is much smaller than would be with patrol cars. With zero emissions, bicycle patrols may be an attractive option for green initiatives.
The Albuquerque Aviation Police also developed this program to improve response time and to detect criminal activity. The bike patrol provides better speed and mobility than foot patrol and access to areas where patrol vehicles are often limited. The bike officers sit up higher, giving them a panoramic view of activities. They patrol areas including the terminal, parking structures, and the rental car facility.
Officers have greater contact with citizens than vehicle patrols and blend into the environment, allowing them to go undetected by individuals who may engage in anti-social behavior. The physical activity involved also provides exercise for the officers, keeping them in great shape. It not only improves their health but keeps them alert and provides a sense of well-being.
Each of the officers selected for bike patrol duties undergo intense training on all aspects of bike safety and tactical deployment methods. Overall, they provide an additional layer of security at the Albuquerque Sunport.
All Sunport custodial supervisors and upgrade supervisors have been trained and certified as green clean technicians. The Green Clean Institute Certification Program not only qualifies individuals but also buildings and organizations. Both of these programs led to meeting a portion of the LEED Certification requirements for the Sunport.
The City of Albuquerque Aviation Department has received certification from the Green Clean Institute. This has been achieved through our custodial supervisor & upgrade training, along with rank & file and use of innovative techniques and special tools.
In addition, the staff receives Green training each month to educate them with new Green Clean Standards. We have implemented a Train the Trainer program where the Certified Supervisor trains the staff from the Green Clean Technician 101 Training Manual. Each month one chapter is reviewed and questions are answered in a group setting, after which the staff applies their knowledge in the field.