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How Air Travel Is Adjusting for More Sustainability

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As the world becomes more aware of the environmental impacts of everyday activities such as travel, work and entertainment, industries have looked at how they can adjust for more sustainability. The airline industry has looked at ways to have less of an environmental impact through airports, planes and airline practices including using renewable energy sources, carbon offsetting and alternative fuels. Not only does this make air travel more appealing to the environmentally conscious, but it can also reduce overhead for airlines and make flying more affordable for the average consumer.

Renewably Powered Airports
One of the biggest changes airports are making all over the world is putting in a solar power system to power the building as well as act as a solar farm for the surrounding area. This can help reduce energy costs for airports as well as reduce their carbon footprint. As solar panels are becoming more effective and less expensive, airports of all sizes can start with a small system and upgrade it over time. This solar energy is used to power everything from the lights and security features to the baggage carousels and transportation carts, keeping fuel use to a minimum and keeping a healthier bottom line for the airport.

Engine Efficiency
Not only are airlines improving the efficiency of aircraft engines with every new model, but they are also improving the ways in which fuel is used before take off and after landing by lightening the loads, using electric haulers and much more. This can further reduce the impact that air travel has on the environment and on the bottom line as less fuel use means lower costs. While modern power storage technology is dangerous to include in aircraft, plugging airplanes into electrical systems on the ground for maintenance and taxiing can help increase fuel efficiency as well.

Alternative Fuels
Alternative fuels such as biofuels are gaining traction in the airline industry with many companies making a full transition. These fuels work with increased energy efficiency of aircraft engines to further reduce the carbon footprint of national and international travel. Electric powered airplanes are still far into the future, but with increased battery safety and efficiency, you can find solar terminal busses, baggage carts and other transportation to and around your local airport.

Resource Friendly Building
Recent and ongoing innovations in building design and construction are making newer airports and upgrades more resource friendly than ever before. Much of the asphalt, concrete and metal used in construction contain some percentage of recycled materials and building crews are sourcing as locally as possible to reserve transportation resources and reduce carbon footprints. One recent development is that of self-healing concrete, which uses bacteria and water to flow into microcracks in small constructions to avoid the need to completely remove and replace barricades, retaining walls and other features. There are even national and international consulting firms dedicated to making new buildings as resource friendly as possible, including airports, parking garages and office complexes.

Carbon Offsetting
Offsetting your carbon footprint means doing things which will take carbon out of the atmosphere equal to the amount put into it through burning fossil fuels. Airlines are doing this by participating in initiatives designed to be carbon neutral or even by investing in the development of carbon negative practices and technologies. Many local airports are finding ways to give back to the environment by planting trees, reinvigorating natural habitats and even researching the ways in which noise pollution affects wildlife and carbon offsetting is becoming one of the fastest growing initiatives around the world.

Environmentally conscious companies are on the rise and many surprising industries are starting to lead the way toward sustainability. The airline industry has had one of the biggest carbon footprints in almost every country and is starting to invest in technology, practices and policies to reduce emissions while increasing efficiency and reducing costs. Some of the ways airports can curb emissions include investing in solar power, increasing fuel efficiency and carbon offsetting.

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Tags: eco, economy, energy