MAC Facts: 2030 Sustainability Goals

Happy Earth Day! The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) is committed to sustainability and enhancing our economic viability, operational effectiveness, environment, and social responsibility. We recognize the interconnection of these elements and strive to make decisions that will result in the greatest benefits today and for centuries to come.

Sustainability has been an integral part of the MAC since its inception. In addition to a long history of initiatives that have supported the MAC’s commitment to sustainability, in February 2020, the MAC Board approved the following sustainability goals to achieve by 2030:

Sustainability Goals

Emissions

Since 1998, the MAC’s multi-phase Energy Conservation Program has saved more than 40,000 megawatt hours of electrical usage and reduced energy consumption at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP) by 30 percent. The program has included installing energy-efficient charging stations for ground support equipment on the airfield, creating an Intelligent Monitoring and Control System that integrates and automates HVAC equipment, specifying plumbing and lighting systems for improved efficiency, and swapping close to 8,000 metal halide light fixtures to energy-saving LED.

In 2016, the MAC joined the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) program, a multi-level certification program that encourages and supports airports in developing management plans to reduce their carbon footprint. To date, the MAC has achieved Level 1 certification by mapping emissions from sources at the MSP that it owns and controls, and Level 2 by showing evidence of effective carbon management procedures.

Solar Array T1

Additionally, the MAC began installing electric vehicle charging stations in 2013 and there are now 70 stations online at MSP.

In 2016, the MAC installed and activated a solar energy array on the parking ramps at Terminal 1. In 2017, another solar array was added to the parking ramps at Terminal 2. In 2020, these two solar arrays generated 4,105 megawatt hours of solar energy and 2,902 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions were avoided as a result of the energy generated. Since installation of the arrays, a total of 18,095 megawatt hours of solar energy has been generated and a total of 12,794 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions have been avoided.

Although not included in the calculation for the 2030 emission reduction goal, the MAC collaborated with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and airlines to develop and implement optimized decent profiles for arriving aircraft to MSP. Use of these procedures reduces airline fuel usage by almost three million gallons annually and avoids 28,465 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from being emitted every year. 

Water

At the MAC, we recognize that water is an important resource that means a lot to us as Minnesotans. The MAC has invested in water-saving fixtures throughout our MSP facility to reduce water consumption.

Investments in parking ramp cleaning equipment that recycles water for continued use during the cleaning process is another way the MAC has reduced water consumption at MSP. Efficiencies realized from using the new equipment mean that approximately 580,000 gallons of water are saved every year.

Substantial water savings are also found at the Quick Turn-Around facility at Terminal 2. Used by rental car companies to service their vehicles, this facility incorporates an extensive water reclamation system allowing for approximately 85 percent of water from the car wash component of the facility to be recycled.

Waste 

The MAC has long been committed to reducing waste at MSP, from launching in-terminal recycling in 1997 to collecting organic material for composting beginning in 2009. In 2020, over 2,000 tons of material were diverted from the waste stream through recycling or reuse, including 157 tons of organics that were sent to a local composting facility.

Recycling Bins

To reduce food waste, MSP concessionaires have partnered with Loaves and Fishes, a Minneapolis-based non-profit that serves free meals across seven Minnesota counties. Ready-to-eat items that are about to expire are picked up from MSP and either re-purposed and served in meal programs to benefit people in need, or distributed as-is at urban locations in the Twin Cities through Loaves and Fishes’ street outreach. Since it began at MSP, concessionaires have  provided 130,566 pounds of food to the program.

By installing water bottle filling stations throughout both terminals, the MAC is helping to reduce the amount of plastic bottle waste generated at MSP. To help travelers at MSP recycle right, the MAC installed easy-to-understand standardized labels designed by Recycle Across America, a Twin Cities-based non-profit whose mission is to avoid confusion at the recycling bin.

Employee Engagement

MAC employees understand and value the importance of sustainability. As the organization continues its sustainability journey, we will continue to survey employees for their awareness of  efforts around sustainability, knowledge of sustainable behaviors they can engage in to make a difference and areas they believe the organization should focus its efforts on. 

More information and updates on the MAC’s sustainability initiatives is available here: https://sustainability.metroairports.org/