Environment: New York/New Jersey, Seattle
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is integrating "green" practices into daily operations at its ports, airports, tunnels and bridges and PATH passenger rail system, to preserve and protect the environment while serving the transportation needs of the region.
The port authority is seeking to minimize operational impact on the environment by focusing on reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, improved energy and water management and the use of "clean" technology and services. These practices are designed to conserve natural resources, drive sustainable planning and development and establish key performance indicators and measures.
"The port authority is committed to celebrating Earth Day 365 days a year by integrating sustainable design and practices into our facilities and operations," said Christine Weydig, director of the port authority's office of environmental and energy programs. "Our ongoing sustainability efforts not only improve our environmental performance, but result in significant operational and maintenance savings."
The agency estimates its energy efficiency efforts, which include equipment upgrades at the George Washington and Goethals bridges, Outerbridge Crossing and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, each year save approximately $6 million and cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 25,000 tons (the equivalent of taking 5,300 cars off the road). Many of these improvements enhance public spaces, such as AirTrain stations, parking lots, terminals and even the Lincoln Tunnel, with approximately 2,300 new, highly efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lights.
Working with its partners, the port authority created a Clean Air Strategy for the Port of NY and NJ that lays out practical, voluntary actions to reduce port-related diesel and greenhouse gas emissions. Actions under the strategy, according to the port authority, have resulted in average reductions of 41.5-percent in air pollutants and 37.3 percent in all pollutants since 2006, despite a 13-percent increase in cargo volume. Additionally, ExpressRail, the port's on-dock rail service, in 2015 handled a record 522,244 containers, effectively eliminating nearly 800,000 truck trips.
"Through our annual greenhouse gas inventory and other metrics, OEEP actively tracks the agency's progress toward reducing its carbon footprint," said Ms. Weydig. "Responsible, efficient utility usage and energy security and diversity are integral to the port authority's commitments to enhancing regional economic growth and resiliency while delivering and maintaining efficient and modern facilities.'
To better measure energy and water usage, the agency recently launched a utility management platform that provides robust reporting capabilities and real-time feeds from smart meters. The port authority is investing in a $54-million advanced metering infrastructure program featuring nearly 2,000 new electric, water and natural gas meters installed across port authority facilities.
Seattle: Port Unveils Plan to Cut Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Half
The Port of Seattle has embarked on a five-year plan to protect and enhance the region’s natural environment. Several of the strategies set forth in the plan are focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions which trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.
The port’s goal is to meet all increased energy demands through conservation and renewable energy sources. It intends to cut carbon emissions from port operations by 50 percent from 2005 levels.
While the port’s own airport operations currently contribute about 20,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases per year, aircraft-related emissions total about 20 times that amount. Another goal in the environmental plan is introduce strategies during the next five years to reduce aircraft-related carbon emissions at the airport by 25 percent.
The port has installed electric charging stations for ground-support vehicles at the airport and is working to help airlines change over to electric ground-support equipment. Recently, Port staff worked with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a $100,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology to help airlines cover the cost of the new equipment.
The port is also partnering with Boeing and Alaska Airlines to investigate what it would take to power every flight at Sea-Tac Airport with aviation biofuel.
In addition, the port is requiring app-based rideshare companies at the airport to meet the port’s high environmental standards, which already apply to the fleet of taxis and other ride services at the airport. To do this, the port developed an approach to measuring carbon emissions an environmental key performance Indicator, or e-KPI.
The port aims to be the greenest and most energy-efficient port in North America.