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Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 Cloudy, 47 F

Sustainable Airport Master Plan

Learn more about the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport's exciting plan to make sustainability a core objective in our master plan.

When people think of "green" infrastructure, they rarely think of aviation. Airplanes and related operations activities are often viewed as significant sources of air emissions and other negative environmental impacts. Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is breaking new ground by undertaking the country's first FAA-funded sustainable master plan. The airport's consultant, C&S Companies, have been collaborating with the airport and the community to develop this new type of planning document. As airports across the country look to find new ways to reduce their carbon footprints, countless sustainable projects have been undertaken, including renewable energy projects, recycling programs, emission reduction efforts, and green building techniques. While each of these projects represent significant strides toward making aviation more sustainable, most have been implemented on a project-by-project basis. Ithaca is the first airport to integrate sustainability into an airport master plan, helping the airport operators make more sustainable decisions in a systematic and organized manner.

A traditional master plan requires consideration of environmental impacts of proposed projects, but a "sustainable master plan" takes environmental considerations beyond just impact analysis, making sustainability a core objective in all aspects of the final master plan. So while a traditional master plan would narrowly focus on environmental impacts related to a runway extension or obstruction removal, the sustainable master plan applies sustainable principles and practices to everything from airport operations to maintenance practices to selection of materials for capital improvements. Ithaca's sustainable master plan will achieve all of the FAA-required elements of a master plan, but with an improved and greater focus on making the airport a healthier place for people and the planet.

An overall project goal is for this master plan to serve as a learning tool and template for the FAA and other airports to learn best practices and develop guidelines to apply sustainability principles to other projects. As environmental regulations become stricter, strategies and technologies for being greener will become more common, and may even become mandated. With Ithaca's experience to build on, the learning curve for other facilities will be reduced.

  • Delta Airlines
  • USAirways
  • United Airlines
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