Investing for Sustainability

One of DEN's strategic priorities is to invest for sustainability through the airport's operations. Environmental, financial and social sustainability are all top of mind in the airport's decision-making process.

  • In 2004, DEN was the first commercial airport in the United States to design and implement an Environmental Management System encompassing the entire airport that was successfully certified to meet the requirements of the EMS international standard known as ISO 14001. The EMS includes detailed environmental procedures and policies that guide all of the activities conducted on DEN’s 53-square-mile facility.

DEN’s environmental management has established many firsts in the United States and internationally:

  • First airport in the United States to be accepted into the EPA’s National Environmental Performance Track Program (2006)
  • Received FAA Environmental Stewardship Award (2007)
  • Accepted into Colorado’s environmental leadership program as a Gold level member (2004)
  • DEN currently recycles or reuses 21 different types of materials, including approximately 75 percent of collected aircraft deicing fluids. (2014)

Some of DEN's sustainability practices and accomplishments include:

  • A comprehensive community food donation program that partners with airport concessions to donate fresh, healthy food to Metro Cares, a community-based nonprofit that distributes food to families in need
  • Alternatively fueled, hybrid, and electric vehicles in the airport fleet (DEN maintains 293 alternatively fueled vehicles, including 172 buses, sweepers, and other vehicles using compressed natural gas, and 121 electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Alternative vehicles make up 51 percent of the airport’s light duty fleet.
  • Reduced access fees charged for hybrid taxis and vans
  • A greenhouse gas emissions inventory for DEN in 2010
  • Employee carpool and bus pass programs
  • “No-Idling” signs and education program
  • Maintaining an aircraft deicing fluid applied-to-collected ratio of at least 68 percent (among the best in the world)
  • Low-flush toilets and waterless urinals
  • Stormwater and erosion management programs
  • Composting food and other organic wastes
  • Recycling or reusing 21 different types of materials
  • 250 recycling containers in the public areas
  • A food donation program in which airport concessions donate excess food to Metro Caring
  • Five solar power installations, including one solar array used as covered parking at 61st and Pena
  • Fleet vehicle retrofits and replacements provide energy savings
  • EcoStart motor controllers installed on escalators and moving walkways, which reduce the power draw of the motors 24 hours a day (total savings of about 1.7 million kWh per year)