The MAC celebrates 2022 sustainability successes; looks toward 2023

The MAC celebrates 2022 sustainability successes; looks toward 2023

January 25, 2023

The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) undertook many initiatives in 2022 toward reaching its 2030 sustainability goals. The MAC’s goals – which are centered on emissions, water, waste, and engagement – strengthen the organization’s emphasis on sustainability as a key component of its operations. The following is an update on several sustainability initiatives that occurred in 2022:

Comfort settings
In June, the Energy Management Center began rolling out “comfort settings” in MSP Airport’s Terminals 1 & 2. The goal is to decrease our carbon footprint and reduce energy use. The MAC’s building automation system is now programmed to promote sustainable and efficient facility management – a move that will contribute about 5 percent of the reductions needed to meet our emissions goal.

Waste diversion
From August to November, the MAC conducted a paper towel waste diversion pilot project in a set of restrooms at Terminal 1 to evaluate compaction technology. Inspired by the results, the MAC’s Waste Working Group believes that expanding the effort across MSP could eliminate 10 percent of all waste at the airport and is exploring opportunities to do so in 2023.

Thanks to ongoing participation from MSP’s food and beverage concessionaires, the MAC’s waste recycling program continues to earn recognition in the airports community while contributing to our waste diversion goals. The MAC’s “Sorting Waste at MSP” video – which provides instruction to MAC vendors in several languages – was unveiled to applause at the March meeting of the MAC Board of Commissioners.

We’re also encouraging everyone to use our liquid diversion stations at MSP to keep heavy liquids out of our waste stream.

Water conservation
In 2022, many MAC departments stepped up to reduce water use. The MAC’s Trades Department installed hundreds of faucet aerators in restrooms across campus, which will reduce the flow of water from 2.2 gallons per minute to 1 gallon.

The department is also upgrading to a sensor-based smart irrigation system that will reduce irrigation by 25 percent or more. The Airport Fire Department also evaluated its non-emergency water use and is working toward ways to conserve.

The MAC's Water Working Group water inventory work in 2022 revealed that car wash water accounts for about 10 percent of MSP water use and emphasized the importance of the water reuse systems operating efficiently. To help the MAC meet that water goal and taking into consideration the age and state of the current systems, Hertz, Avis/Budget, and Enterprise overhauled their car wash systems at MSP. The new and improved systems should save 50 percent of the water used in car wash operations.

ACA certification
MSP was one of 41 airports recognized in September by the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) organization for its ongoing commitment to managing and reducing its carbon dioxide emissions. Since 2017, MSP has been certified at "Level 2" by the ACA, meaning that the airport has provided evidence of effective carbon management procedures and that reduction targets have been achieved.

LED replacements
In 2022, the MAC increased its upcoming investments in LED lighting. Since 2014, the MAC has been replacing lighting on roadways and other exterior areas with LED bulbs, saving an average of 40 percent of the energy for these light fixtures. With increased investment in 2023, the MAC will begin to replace interior lighting in terminals. LED lighting not only performs better, but the better quality of light also enhances the spaces and the experience at the airport.

Climate resilience planning
The MAC’s Executive Sustainability Committee recently completed a climate resiliency planning process to ensure that MSP is prepared for and responding to climate changes, especially changes in temperatures and precipitation patterns. The MAC Intends to integrate the learnings into planning and design processes moving forward. In 2023, the MAC will complete climate resiliency planning processes for its reliever airports.