Noise Compatibility/Environmental Programs
The RTAA is committed to building and operating sustainable aviation facilities that protect the natural environment to the maximum extent feasible. The RTAA's environmental programs seek to continually improve environmental practices, by encouraging environmental stewardship at all levels within the organization.
The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority has established an in-house environmental committee with participation from all departments to help encourage environmental awareness, increase recycling efforts, and promote pollution, waste and energy reductions at Reno-Tahoe International and Reno-Stead Airports.
Environmental Management System
The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority believes that a healthy natural environment plays a crucial role in the strength of our economy and our quality of life, and is essential for the sustainability of the aviation industry. The RTAA Board of Trustees has passed a resolution highlighting the airport's commitment to the environment and since 2008, an Environmental Management System (EMS) has been incorporated into the RTAA's daily practices. Some of the successful components of the EMS include a terminal wide recycling program at Reno-Tahoe International Airport which annually diverts approximately 81 tons of recyclables from the local landfills, equating to more than 10 percent of the airport waste stream and an asphalt/concrete deconstruction and re-use program for construction projects, resulting in a 100 percent re-use of demolished pavement. An office supply reduction and green purchasing policy reduces overall paper usage by 10 percent and ensures the purchase of products containing higher recycled content.
Energy Conservation in Action
The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority (RTAA) is committed to improving and investing in more energy efficient facilities to reduce overall energy consumption.
Using the EMS approach, the RTAA has also implemented projects that have resulted in substantial energy savings. This includes energy efficient lighting retrofits, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades and installation of alternative energy generation. Energy efficient lighting airfield and passenger facility projects involving replacement of existing lighting fixtures to light-emitting diode (LED) have resulted in an annual energy cost savings of approximately $252,000. HVAC projects have also resulted in considerable energy cost savings as well as operating and maintenance reductions of approximately $200,000 annually. Lastly, a 135kW solar photovoltaic system at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport’s Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Facility (ARFF) reduces the annual purchased electricity usage by approximately 260,000 kWh and reduces the annual electrical utility cost by approximately $30,000.
In an effort to continually improve, the RTAA is currently investigating the viability of more energy efficient upgrades to the lighting and mechanical systems in the passenger terminal building. In addition, the RTAA is working on a number of different ways to generate and utilize renewable (geothermal and additional solar) sources of energy to offset existing supply needs.
Stead Solvent Site
Another great example of the RTAA's proactive environmental initiatives is how the RTAA is dealing with what is known as the Stead Solvent Site. In cooperation with the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP), the remediation activities and environmental clean up of the Stead Solvent Site utilizes state-of-the-art equipment to remove contamination from the groundwater and soil. RTAA is leading this multi-party effort which includes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lear Entities, and the City of Reno. Groundwater pumping is also used to control and prevent migration of the contamination. The process will take time but progress is being made. The treatment system has been operating since March 2005 and approximately $5.1 million is committed to the clean up effort.
In addition to the pump system, the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority is also employing a natural remediation technique by planting numerous trees in the affected area. These trees act as a natural filtration system, drawing out contaminated groundwater.
The RTAA received national attention for its remediation efforts on this project as the recipient of the 2009 Airports Council International - North America (ACI-NA) Environmental Achievement - Mitigation award.
For more information, go to NDEP’s website at ndep.nv.gov/bca/stead05.htm.