PHL Levels-Up in Airport Carbon Accreditation Program

ACA Level 2
ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin Burke (left) and ACI-NA Chairman Sam Samaddar (right) recently recognized  Division of Aviation City Planner Elena Fisher (second from left), Deputy Director of Aviation- Capital Development Api Appulingam (center) and Airport Sustainability Manager Jessica Noon for the ACA Level 2 accreditation. (Photo by Kari Jo Skogquist)

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) has moved up to Level 2 in the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) program (PHL was ACA Level 1 in 2021). PHL was the first airport in Pennsylvania to enter the ACA program. Northeast Philadelphia Airport (PNE) has also joined the program at Level 1, making it the second airport in the state to receive ACA accreditation.

The ACA program is a voluntary, worldwide carbon management standard. Each level of accreditation presents a set of criteria to fulfill, as well as a path to carbon neutrality and continued reduction. The program is site-specific, allowing flexibility to consider national or local legal requirements while ensuring that the methodology used is always robust. Level 1 requires three years of tracking emissions-- PHL tracked years 2018, 2019 and 2021, and maintained that monitoring standard. To reach other ACA levels, the airport must also continue to fulfill the criteria of prior levels. 

To reach Level 2, PHL tracked emissions from Scopes 1 (airport-controlled sources) and 2 (purchased electricity) for 2018, 2019 and 2021 and has shown annual emissions reductions from 2018-21. In 2018, PHL converted all airport shuttles to compressed natural gas (CNG). As of this year, the airport converted 22 percent of Ground Support Equipment (GSE) to electric vehicles. The airport is also conducting various energy efficiency projects, including LED lighting conversions and new high-efficiency HVAC systems. Another noteworthy project that highlight the airport's commitment to sustainability is the PHL Remain Overnight (RON) Apron, which used consumer recycled glass and was recently recognized for diverting 85 million glass bottles from landfills.

"It’s very exciting to be recognized as leaders in airport sustainability not only in our state, but also at the national and international level," said Airport Sustainability Manager Jessica Noon. "I want to thank my team for the hard work they invested in achieving these accreditations. This is another important step on our path towards carbon neutrality."

Achieving success within the practice of sustainability is of utmost importance for the City of Philadelphia Division of Aviation. To move the airport to ACA Level 3, the Division of Aviation is researching and investing in renewable energy like solar panels and farms and is committed to working cross-jurisdictionally to reach significant economic development, workforce development, and sustainability milestones. The City’s first solar farm will be constructed at PNE. The project, which will be a collaboration with the Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) and the School District of Philadelphia, will be enhanced by a vocational program designed to ensure students graduate with the necessary job skills for solar employment. 

“I am incredibly proud of the airport's team for their hard work and commitment towards sustainable improvements and innovations to reduce our carbon footprint, and I look forward to further advancing our accreditation,” said Deputy Director of Aviation- Capital Development Api Appulingam.

For more information on the ACA program, click here.


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