7 Ways Denver International Is One Of The Most Environmentally Sustainable Airports In The World

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From 2007 to 2012, natural gas production in Colorado rose by 38 percent, and DIA is benefiting from the state’s natural gas boom. The airport powers a portion of its vehicle and bus fleet with natural gas, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 40 percent.

DIA is tapping the abundant supply of natural gas—produced in Colorado and in 30 other states across the nation to generate nearly 100 percent of the airport’s heat with minimal emissions. Natural gas heats more than 5 million square feet of space within the airport, including three concourses, the main terminal and underground baggage make-up areas.

America generated 32 million tons of plastic waste in 2012. To try to reduce the plastic thrown away in its facilities, DIA installed water bottle filling stations last year, saving the equivalent of 600,000 plastic bottles from going to landfills.

In addition to reducing emissions, compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles also outperform other fuels with better efficiency and lower operating costs. DIA uses natural gas in more than 200 of its vehicles used to shuttle employees, passengers and luggage between terminals. In total, alternative vehicles, which also include hybrid and electric cars, make up 50 percent of DIA’s light-duty fleet. CNG vehicles help the airport reduce emissions by 39 percent.

All gates at DIA provide plug-in power and pre-conditioned air so that aircraft auxiliary power units don't have to run as frequently, lowering emissions.

DIA is host to one of the largest solar energy plants at any airport in North America, which generates 16.1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year—enough electricity to power about 2,595 typical Denver-area homes each year.

Recycling waste reduces greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to recycling paper, plastic bottles and aluminum, DIA recycles over 20 types of materials including restaurant grease and aircraft deicing fluid.