Developing and operating airports that interact responsibly with the environment is one of the key goals at the Sacramento County Department of Airports. Here are some of the ways that Sacramento International Airport is attempting to reduce the airport's ecological impact on the environment.
It’s no secret to the 10-plus million passengers traveling through Sacramento International Airport (SMF) every year that the Airport has made a serious commitment to reducing its dependency on fossil fuels, improving air quality in the region.
It’s hard to miss the 7.9 Megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) facility covering 35 acres of land which is visible from aircraft windows and the long-term parking lot. The single-axis tracking system is located on two sites. The larger, north site is a 20-acre green field project on land formerly held for future aviation development in the secure Airport Operations Area.
The east site is a 15-acre brownfield project on land previously used as a parking lot. The two sites together utilize 35 acres of land and employ some 23,000+ solar panels mounted on racking equipment that tracks the sun’s East-West path over the course of the day, maximizing its efficiency and production. The facility generates nearly 15,500,000 kilowatt-hours per year over the 25-year power purchase agreement.
Approximately 35 percent of the airport’s current demand for electricity is produced by the solar farm. The clean energy generated annually has the carbon reduction equivalent of removing 2,470 cars from the road, not consuming 26,707 barrels of oil, or not burning 12,620,748 pounds of coal.
- 396 high-mast light pole fixtures converted to LEDs save 1,400,000 kilowatt-hours of energy annually.
- 1,820 high-pressure sodium lights in the parking garage were replaced with light emitting diodes (LEDs). Besides improving visibility, the new lights save 1,700,000 kilowatt-hours of energy annually – enough to power almost 200 households.
- SMF currently has five 35-foot zero emission vehicle (ZEV) electric passenger shuttle buses in operation, with another five 40-foot buses to be delivered in 2021. Over the next several years, the entire fleet (35 buses) of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles will be converted to ZEV. A typical CNG bus emits 219,083 lbs. of greenhouse gases annually. The switch to technology without tailpipe emissions presents an unprecedented opportunity to reduce the airport’s carbon footprint and provide an enhanced transit experience for our passengers.
- The airport also leases space to SMUD in the Free Waiting Area for one direct current (DC) fast charger and two Level-2 chargers, which are fee-based, and serve as an EV filling station. Customers can use a credit card to charge most electrical vehicle batteries up to 80 percent in 20 minutes.
- Electrify America, LLC (EA) installed and operates eight electric plug-in vehicle charging stations near the ARCO AM-PM gas station at the entrance to SMF.
Since 2015, SMF has diverted over 925 tons of food waste from landfills, which is processed at a composting facility.
Honors and Acknowledgements
- Terminal B boasts a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver rating.
- 2018 Sacramento Environmental Commission Award for Outstanding Environmental Leadership
- 2018 Breathe California Clean Air Award for Sustainability
- Sacramento Business Environmental Resource Center (SBERC) has certified Sacramento International Airport as a Sustainable Business in all six categories: Water Conservation, Pollution Prevention, Energy Conservation, Solid Waste Reduction, Green Building, and Transportation/Air Quality