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Denver International Airport Celebrates Earth Day, Announces New Solar Array

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DENVER — April 22, 2014 — Denver International Airport (DIA) is celebrating Earth Day today with passenger events that celebrate the airport’s major environmental achievements, including the announcement of a fourth solar array coming online this summer.

The airport’s annual Earth Day celebration includes an educational and interactive booth located in the center of the Jeppesen Terminal. Passengers may stop by the booth from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to enter contests and receive free gifts in celebration of DIA’s commitment to the environment. Passengers can also pledge to make “Just One Change” for the environment this year, and will be asked to write their pledges on biodegradable paper airlines that grow wildflowers when planted.

“Denver International Airport has made a commitment to invest in sustainability,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “The airport supports energy conservation and green technologies – such as solar arrays, alternative-fuel vehicles and systems that collect and recycle aircraft deicing fluid – because of the associated cost savings, and because it’s the right thing to do for DIA and for future generations.”

DIA is on track to open its fourth solar array this summer. Solar IV is a being installed on the north side of DIA’s property, and will be capable of generating up to 2 megawatts, or 3 million kilowatt-hours of solar electricity annually. The project will have the capacity to offset an estimated 4.9 million pounds of greenhouse-gas emissions each year, and generate enough electricity to power more than 750 typical Denver residences. When it’s completed this summer, the array will bring DIA’s total solar-generating capacity to 10 megawatts, or 16 million kilowatt-hours – among the most of any U.S. airport.

“Colorado continues to be recognized as a leader in wind, solar and geothermal energy,” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said. “DIA is also recognized as a leader among U.S. airports for its commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. The development of its fourth solar array will continue to enhance the reputation of DIA and Colorado alike.”

The developer for the Solar IV project is Oak Leaf Energy Partners. The project cost of about $6 million will be paid for by the owners, Denver Solar IV, LLC. DIA will buy the electricity generated by the array over a 20-year period at a cost per kilowatt-hour that is less than the average cost DIA pays to Xcel Energy for electricity.

Some of the electricity generated by Solar IV will be used directly at DIA, while excess electricity will be sold to Xcel Energy’s grid. The electricity that is used at the airport will power the Denver Fire Department’s Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Training Academy. Constructed in 2001, this state-of-the-art facility includes a 75-foot aircraft live-fire training simulator and two actual regional aircraft for training in numerous types of emergency scenarios. The array will provide 100 percent of the facility’s electricity needs.

Other recent highlights of DIA’s environmental program include:

  • New water bottle filling stations along the concourses have saved the equivalent of 600,000 plastic half-liter plastic bottles from going to the landfill since they were installed last year.
  • DIA collected 68 percent of all deicing fluid applied to aircraft during the 2012-13 winter season, an industry-leading percentage that prevented more than 710,000 gallons of propylene glycol from being released into the environmental or processed as wastewater
  • DIA’s deicing fluid collection and recycling system saved the airport $2 million in 2012-13 compared to the costs of treating the fluid as wastewater
  • In 2013, the airport increased the percentage of waste diverted from landfills to 13.5 percent
  • All of Denver’s 103 passenger gates included 400 Hz electricity and pre-conditioned air to improve air quality and reduce noise on the airfield, while saving money by allowing aircraft to shut down their auxiliary power units
  • DIA recycles more than 20 separate materials – from paper to plastic bottles to restaurant grease and construction debris
  • DIA joined 30 other local governments and private-sector organizations in signing a memorandum of understanding to accelerate the deployment of clean-burning natural gas vehicles and natural gas fueling infrastructure in Colorado
  • In 2013, DIA became the first commercial airport in the U.S. to design a truly comprehensive plan of Area Navigation (RNAV) that fully utilizes NextGen technology and procedures that allow aircraft to have smoother approaches and fly more efficient routes. The new procedures save 200-800 pounds of fuel per flight, resulting in fewer emissions and less wasted fuel.

Photo caption: Solar IV is currently under construction at Denver International Airport.

About DIA’s Environmental Programs

Denver International Airport is one of the most environmentally responsible airports in the world. DIA was built with sustainability in mind 19 years ago. The airport uses natural day-lighting, dedicated deicing pads, a comprehensive deicing fluid collection and recycling system, 400-Hz power and pre-conditioned air supplied to aircraft parked at gates to reduce emissions, and a hydrant system for fuel deliveries to reduce the potential for spills and excessive fuel truck traffic. Other energy conservation measures included high-efficiency motors for fans and other equipment, low-E insulating glass in most windows, LED lighting and a flexible modular HVAC system design. The airport also supports comprehensive composting and recycling programs, and uses compressed natural gas vehicles.

http://business.flydenver.com/community/enviro/


Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. For more information visit www.FlyDenver.com, check us out on YouTube and Instagram, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for DEN’s monthly newsletter Nonstop News.


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Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. Follow us on socials!