Two projects at San Diego International Airport (SAN) that advance water conservation and reuse efforts have received the Industrial Environmental Association’s (IEA) 2017 Environmental Excellence Award.
SAN’s Terminal 2 parking plaza, which is currently under construction, was recognized for its revolutionary rainwater capture system. Expected to open next summer, the plaza will capture 100% of the rain that falls on the airport, routing it into a below-ground storage system with a capacity of nearly 100,000 gallons. The collected rainwater will be used by the adjacent Central Utility Plant to help heat and cool the terminals.
The airport’s air conditioning condensate collection system was also celebrated. The airport’s air conditioning condensate capture and reuse program has been growing in scope since 2014. It started with an employee noticing a puddle under a passenger boarding bridge and realizing that a significant amount of water (condensate) was dripping from the air conditioning unit attached to the underside of the bridge.
In 2016, the airport collected an estimated 103,000 gallons of water from 14 passenger boarding bridges. The water was reused in various processes including power-washing sidewalks and the airfield, cleaning vehicles and equipment, scrubbing floors, and construction site dust control.
Kim Becker, SAN’s president and CEO, said, “We live in a region that depends on imported supplies for more than 80% of its drinking water. Therefore, water stewardship is a key part of the airport’s sustainability efforts.”