San Francisco airport facility energy use: ZERO!

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“As an industry leader in sustainability, we are proud to be the first airport in the world to achieve a certified Zero Net Energy facility,” said San Francisco International Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. “This represents a major milestone in our environmental efforts, and we are honored to be recognized by Airports Council International – North America for this achievement.”

The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has been honored as the world’s first Zero Net Energy (ZNE) facility at an airport. Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), which represents governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports across the United States and Canada, recognized SFO with its Environmental Achievement Award at the Airports @ Work conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. SFO received the award in the Environmental Management Category for its Airfield Operations Facility, which was recently certified as a Zero Net Energy facility by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).

Completed in 2015, SFO’s Airfield Operations Facility is the first airport facility in the world to operate using zero net energy. Over the past year, the facility generated more electricity than it consumed, thanks to a rooftop solar array which generates 136 kilowatts of energy. As a result, the Airfield Operations Facility was actually a net power producer, sending unneeded energy back into the grid. It runs off 100% carbon-free electricity and uses zero fossil fuels for the operation of the building. Future SFO facilities are designed to meet strict energy efficiency targets, and to include solar where feasible, to further advance the campus wide Zero Net Energy goal.

In 2017, SFO set an ambitious goal to achieve zero waste going to landfill, carbon neutrality, and Zero Net Energy across its entire airport campus. Since then, SFO has reduced its use of electricity by over 4 million kilowatt hours, saving enough energy to power over 600 homes, and added over 1 megawatt of solar energy across the airport.

This is the third ACI-NA award that SFO has received for its environmental leadership, and its second award in the environmental management category. In 2013 ACI-NA recognized SFO for its Climate Action Plan, which outlines a variety of efforts intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to airport operations. The following year, ACI-NA honored SFO for its Recovery Action Plan, which ensures the protection of two endangered species on a 180-acre undeveloped area of the Airport. In 2016, SFO was awarded Level 3 Airport Carbon Accreditation by ACI-NA, at the time becoming the first airport in California and only the second in North America certified at this level.

For more information on environmental initiatives at SFO, click here.

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