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Nicole Hall
Senior Communications Specialist

T: 619.400.2859
M: 858.531.2863

After hours and weekends please email or call the Airport Communications Center at 858.531.2863

Airport Authority named ‘Sustainability Champion of the Year’ by North San Diego Business Chamber

Friday, June 19, 2015

SAN DIEGO – June 19, 2015 – In recognition of its comprehensive efforts in the areas of energy efficiency, water conservation, environmental protection and waste management, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has been named “Sustainability Champion of the Year” by the North San Diego Business Chamber.

The Airport Authority received the honor at a ceremony on June 13.

“We deeply appreciate this recognition from the North San Diego Business Chamber,” said Thella F. Bowens, the Airport Authority’s President and CEO. “At the Airport Authority, our goal is to plan, design and operate San Diego International Airport in a manner that shows the utmost respect for our planet’s scarce natural resources.”

The award honors “an individual or business that has shown a commitment to sustainable, green living in one of the following areas: promoting education and training; advocating green lawmaking and policies at the legislative level; engaging in green practices within their own organization; creating, sustaining, or promoting programs in response to environmental issues; developing, implementing or sponsoring green events to get the community involved,” according to the chamber.

Here are some examples of the Airport Authority’s sustainability efforts at San Diego International Airport (SAN):


Minimizing SAN’s energy use is a challenge, given that the airport is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Some of the Airport Authority’s efforts and programs in this area include:

·        Airside Lighting – SAN is one of the first airports to use long-lasting, energy-saving LED lighting for all of its airfield guidance signs, taxiway edge lights and runway guard lights.

·        Landside Lighting – Energy-efficient lighting has been installed in all operational areas of the airport, resulting in annual energy savings in excess of 2.3 million KWh, enough to power 300 homes for one year.

·        Photovoltaics – Installation of a 3.3-megawatt photovoltaic (PV) solar system on the rooftop of Terminal 2 West and in a section of the Terminal 2 parking lot, due to be completed by the end of the year, will provide the airport with 5.3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity – enough power to offset a projected 10-13% of the energy needs for Terminals 1 and 2.


SAN is taking California’s historic drought extremely seriously.  Steps being taken to reduce the airport’s water usage include:

·        AC condensate collection Collection of condensate – water created by condensation – from air conditioning units installed under passenger boarding bridges began in 2014.  The new collection system recovered and reused more than 5,225 gallons of AC condensate last year. In 2015, the first full year of the program, SAN hopes to collect approximately 57,000 gallons of condensate.

·        Satellite water-tracking system – This state-of-the-art system collects and analyzes data from more than 18,000 weather stations to determine the airport’s watering needs. This saves approximately nine million gallons of water in unnecessary irrigation each year.

·        Xeriscaping – Environmentally friendly landscaping is incorporated at the airport, including a variety of indigenous and drought-tolerant plants, shrubs and ground cover, minimizing watering needs.


The Airport Authority strives to protect the wide variety of natural resources that exist at the airport. Here are three examples:

·        Endangered species – SAN is home to the California least tern, a federally listed endangered seabird species. The airport provides the least tern with protected nesting habitat, which has become one of the most productive nesting colonies in the San Diego Bay area. 

·        Stormwater management – The airport’s Stormwater Management Plan helps to prevent and reduce the discharge of polluted stormwater into San Diego Bay. SAN monitors the quality of its stormwater runoff and prepares annual reports for the State of California.

·        NTC landfill remediation – The Airport Authority performed an innovative clean closure of a former military landfill. The $45 million remediation project removed 42 tons of waste from the site and surpassed all federal environmental standards, providing the additional acreage to build a much-needed aircraft parking area.


Reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfill is a top focus. The airport is a leader in recycling, winning the City of San Diego’s “Recycler of the Year” Award 11 times in the past 13 years.

·        Single-stream recycling program – Following the implementation of this program, recycled waste product increased from 107 tons in 2002 to about 1,243 tons in 2014.

·        Electronic waste collection events – Hosted by the Airport Authority, these events have helped recycle more than 1 tons of e-waste (computers, monitors, etc.) in 2014.


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