Governor Deval Patrick today launched the next phase of work to make Nantucket Memorial Airport (ACK) the first and only airport in the country to entirely eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from its airport-controlled operations. The implementation phase announced today includes execution of energy conservation measures and renewable energy installations that will reduce ACK's reliance on external energy sources and eliminate nearly 1,000 metric tons of carbon emissions each year at the airport.
"Massachusetts is a leader in clean energy, clean technology and clean air," said Governor Patrick. "This airport project is not only a win for the island of Nantucket, but for the Commonwealth as a whole as we continue the progress we've made to protect our environment and leave it better for the next generation."
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Aeronautics Division and Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe) began a pilot program in October 2012 to create the first ever airport with "carbon neutral" ground operations in the United States. The Carbon Neutral Airport Pilot Program will assist the Nantucket Airport in implementing measures that dramatically reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The program will identify lessons learned and best practices to assist other general aviation and large commercial service airports in Massachusetts and across the country attain carbon-neutral status.
"I am proud that Nantucket Memorial Airport is set to advance with the next stage toward becoming our nation's first carbon-neutral airport," said Congressman William Keating. "This project demonstrates the success that can be found when the public and private sectors come together to promote energy efficiency and reduce our carbon output, and there is no better place to achieve this important goal than Massachusetts, which has already seen so many advancements in this field. Further, as one of the most heavily traveled airports in the Northeast, I cannot think of a more applicable use of resources and energy to continue to the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions."
"At MassDOT we are committed to innovation in transportation," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard Davey. "As one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, we have a moral responsibility to think creatively about how we reduce our impact. This project is a shining example of that thinking and will set the bar for airports across the country."
Phase One of the project, completed this past spring, included data collection, inventory and the selection of Honeywell Building Solutions of Canton, an Energy Service Company (ESCO), which conducted a comprehensive energy audit that allowed the airport to identify improvements to save energy.
Phase Two, launched today, will implement over 25 Energy Conservation Measures to achieve carbon neutrality and include elements such as arrays of solar photovoltaic panels between 1.5 megawatts (MW) and 2.1 MW, as well as a suite of new building equipment including both indoor and outdoor LED lighting, retro commissioning of major mechanical systems including energy recovery ventilators, building envelope improvements, solar thermal development to provide a renewable source of hot water heating, an integrated building management platform, highly efficient infrared garage heating and boiler burner replacements.
The Carbon Neutral project includes $805,000 in MassDOT Aeronautics funding along with other expected local and federal funding sources.
"I am pleased to see Massachusetts continue to stride towards the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets we set in our Global Warming Solutions Act through this carbon-neutral airport program," said State Senator Marc R. Pacheco. "This first-in-the-nation program is yet another example of Massachusetts' leadership on initiatives that promote public health, protect the environment, and produce cost savings through energy efficiency."
"We on Nantucket are very proud of our airport and its decision to pursue the goal of becoming carbon neutral," said Representative Timothy Madden. "The airport plays a vital role in the community, not just as an economic engine for tourism, but at times, our only access to the mainland. I know we are all excited to see phase two of the project roll out today and look forward to the airport getting its official designation, becoming the first airport in the country to do so."
The project supports the MassDOT "GreenDOT" sustainability implementation plan and the 2010 Massachusetts Statewide Airport System Plan, which includes six statewide system goals and more than 50 performance measures designed to help the Aeronautics Division monitor airport performance. Among the six goals the Carbon Neutral project supports is Environmental Compliance and Stewardship, requiring airports to pursue sustainability practices to protect the natural environment and quality of life for airport employees and neighbors, and promote the economic development potential of the airport.
"The transportation sector accounts for about one-third of the greenhouse gases emitted in Massachusetts, so this project is an important step toward helping the Commonwealth achieve our ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett.
The Clean Energy and Climate Plan, created under the Global Warming Solutions Act, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. Emissions have dropped by 16 percent since 1990. The Patrick Administration's initiatives have made Massachusetts a leader in energy efficiency. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has named Massachusetts number one for three years running. The clean energy revolution is yielding economic benefits for the Commonwealth as well, with 11.8 percent job growth in the last year and 24 percent growth in the last two years; nearly 80,000 people are employed at 5,500 clean tech firms across Massachusetts.