The Port of Seattle has introduced a new air conditioning service at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Airlines are expected to save more than $15m in annual fuel costs as a result, while greenhouse gas emissions at the airport could reduce by 40,000 metric tons – the equivalent of taking 8,000 cars off the road.
Elizabeth Leavitt, Director of Planning & Environmental Management at Sea-Tac, commented: “Pre-conditioned air is truly a win-win for the airport, airlines and the surrounding community. This long-range investment by the airport will save money for the airlines, reduce our carbon footprint, clean the air of emissions and reduce noise for our neighbours.”
The recently implemented Pre-Conditioned Air (PC Air) service heats or cools the aircraft during boarding and deplaning. The port built a centralised plant to deliver pre-conditioned air through 15 miles (24.1km) of pipes to each of the airport’s 73 jet gates. This system allows aircraft to shut down their auxiliary power units, which emit CO2 gases and other emissions, and add to airline fuel costs. In one year, airlines operating at Sea-Tac are expected to save an estimated five million gallons of fuel.
PC Air provides both environmental and financial benefits in keeping with the port’s Century Agenda goal to reduce the airport’s carbon footprint and increase energy needs through conservation and renewable sources. Each year, PC Air aims to save: an estimated 5 million gallons in fuel; $15 million in fuel costs by the airlines; 40,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide); 73 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx); greenhouse gas equivalent to removing 8,000 cars off the road; and noise pollution from aircraft parked at the gates.
Sea-Tac took advantage of the largest federal grant of its kind to offset the costs of the $43 million project. Nearly $22 million is covered by Voluntary Airport Low Emissions Grants from the Federal Aviation Administration. Airport Development Funds, which come directly from fees charged to airlines, will pay the remainder. These fees will be offset by decreasing operating costs for a projected payback for the project in less than three years.
Startup of the project began at gates on the A and B concourses along with the south satellite. The remaining concourses and north satellite are expected to come on line by the end of 2013.