Solar power comes to major New York metropolitan area airport

In recognition of Earth Week 2014, ConEdison Solutions and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey in the US unveiled one of four new solar installations that will reduce emissions and produce clean energy at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Solar power comes to major New York metropolitan area airport

At an overall size of 633 kilowatts, the multi-site solar initiative represents the first solar power installations at any airport buildings operated by The Port Authority throughout the region. 

By utilizing solar power as an energy source, Newark Liberty International Airport anticipates an electricity savings of approximately $60,000 per year. 

“The Port Authority is committed to implementing environmental programs we view as vital to our airports and other facilities,” said Port Authority Director of Environment & Energy Programs Christopher Zeppie.  “Solar panels atop the roofs of buildings at Newark Liberty are an innovative way to make use of little used space to help reduce the agency’s carbon footprint while also saving money and increasing resiliency.”

“Earth Week is the ideal occasion to recognize Newark Liberty International Airport for its outstanding commitment to sustainability,” said Michael W. Gibson, Vice President of ConEdison Solutions. “The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is setting an excellent example for airports nationwide and around the world.”

Officials visited a 152-solar panel installation on the roof of Building 121, an AirTrain Newark electrical substation.  The other three solar sites include a 312-panel project on an AirTrain Newark maintenance building (Building 60), a 585-panel installation on a Port Authority maintenance building (Building 79), and a 2,145-panel site on a multi-tenant cargo building (Building 157).

To educate travelers and other guests about the benefits of the multi-site solar initiative, the airport will soon introduce colorful, interactive informational kiosks at Terminal B that will provide information about solar power and this initiative at Newark Liberty.  Kiosks also will update visitors on the amount of power that has been generated during a particular day and during the current month and year.

Based in Valhalla, New York, ConEdison Solutions is one of America’s largest energy services companies and a significant developer of solar installations. Through a power purchase agreement with ConEdison Solutions, the Port Authority is purchasing 100-percent of the electrical energy produced by the solar installations.  The system was designed and installed by Borrego Solar.  

But the solar panels aren't the only manifestation of the Port Authority observing Earth Day. Indeed, the organization's efforts, large and small, continue the bistate agency's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint throughout its facilities and operations.

Specific projects include the start of installation of the agency's first "Green Roof" atop the Holland Tunnel Administrative Building, development of expansive solar energy installations at Newark Liberty International and Stewart International airports, implementation of LEED certified projects, upgraded public trash and mixed recycling containers at facilities and procurement of green cleaning products.

The Port Authority, for example, has spent approximately $33 million on energy projects in recent years, which are expected to save $45 million over the useful life of the project improvements. Along with the financial savings, these projects will eliminate more than 1,300 metric tons of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions annually.

Additionally, the agency long has committed to reducing pollution throughout the agency as part of its overall environmental stewardship. Efforts have included the popular Hudson-Raritan Estuary program to preserve wetlands and other open space throughout the port district for more than a decade, sustainable designs in new building projects and significant use of green vehicles for the agency's fleet.

"The Port Authority strives to be a leader in transportation sustainability and we seek to integrate green practices into our facilities and operations," said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. "Through continual implementation of these projects, we hope to become a pacesetter for the industry and encourage our partners to adopt similar practices."

"Environmental protection and fostering regional growth through transportation initiatives are not mutually exclusive, and the Port Authority is proving that year by year," said Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Deb Gramiccioni. "Earth Day is the fitting time to take stock of our environmental initiatives and look forward to implementing new ones to help safeguard the region."

At the Holland Tunnel Administration Building, a pilot project recently began to replace an aging roof with the agency's first modular green roof system, featuring various species of Sedum plants. Green roofs benefit the environment by improving air quality and reducing storm water runoff, lessening noise pollution and providing cooling and heating in different seasons. This saves money by providing thermal insulation and increasing the longevity of the roof. When completed this fall, the green roof will cover approximately more than a third of the 3,400-square-foot new roof area, with an outside perimeter for observation.

Further incorporating green waste-management initiatives into its program, the Port Authority refitted public trash and recycling containers in airport terminals with Recycle Across America's standardized recycling signs. The agency joined with Recycle Across America to make recycling at its airports easier and more convenient for passengers by using a national standard for labels. Recycle Across America will be recognizing LaGuardia Airport's efforts through a billboard campaign in conjunction with Earth Week, calling on American businesses to "Recycle Right."

Additionally, the Port Authority will now apply standards set in New Jersey and New York for use of "green-certified" cleaning products. Procurement procedures will be implemented to rely on third-party certifying organizations, Green Seal, EcoLogo and Design for the Environment to identify products as "green" through a leaf symbol, making it easier for Port Authority staff to differentiate between green-certified cleaning products and conventional cleaning products.

As part of the Port Authority's previously announced programs, the agency is pursuing sustainable designs for several capital projects, including the LaGuardia Airport redevelopment program, which will achieve at least a Silver rating under the LEED 2009 rating system, with a target rating of Gold. The Harrison PATH station replacement project is to meet the target of LEED Silver. In addition, the World Trade Center complex was designed to achieve LEED Gold for the commercial towers and retail space, while achieving the WTC sustainable design guidelines for many of the non-tower elements, such as the Transportation Hub.

The Port Authority continues to scale-up its energy efficiency programs, with projects in development at John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports, as well as at its tunnels and bridges. Most recently, the Port Authority completed a $2.1 million lighting upgrade in the Lincoln Tunnel – one of the first passenger tunnels in the nation to upgrade to high-efficiency Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lights – which is projected to bring $283,000 in energy savings annually.

The agency also anticipates approximately $2 million in guaranteed savings annually over 15 years from energy conservation measures being implemented at the Port Authority Bus Terminal/Lincoln Tunnel, Newark Liberty and Stewart airports, as well as at the PATH Journal Square Transportation Center and Harrison PATH car maintenance facility.

For additional information:

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

ConEdison Solutions

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