Chicago Department of Aviation
CDA Announces Solar Panels, Multi-Fuel Station at O'Hare

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino in announcing new sustainability initiatives that will make Chicago's airports greener than ever during the kickoff of the 2011 Airports Going Green conference in Chicago.


The CDA announced it will pursue the development of a massive solar panel installation, as well as an alternative fueling station for private and commercial vehicles at O'Hare International Airport. The CDA also revealed it will launch a composting program for some restaurants operating at Midway International Airport.


"The CDA is proud to host the fourth annual Airports Going Green conference and to continue to lead by example by implementing the most innovative and progressive sustainability initiatives at O'Hare and MidwayInternationalAirports," said Andolino. "The solar panels will provide a substantial renewable energy source to help power O'Hare and the alternative fueling station will promote the use of clean fuels and electricity to power vehicles."


Both the Mayor and the Commissioner joined Karen Weigert, Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Chicago, in providing welcome remarks at the conference.


In the next few weeks, the CDA will issue Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the following two initiatives.


-          The CDA will issue a request to the renewable energy development community to install and operate up to 60 acres of ground-mounted solar panels around O'Hare on vacant properties that are suitable for such development. The O'Hare solar panel systems will supply clean, renewable energy to the airport while helping grow the region's renewable energy market.


-          The CDA is also inviting developers to construct and operate a fueling station that will supply multiple alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas, biodiesel, ethanol, and electric vehicle charging to commercial and private vehicles at and around O'Hare. This proposed development will leverage the City's new electric vehicle charging infrastructure and provide alternatives to conventionally fueled vehicles to the millions of drivers that travel to the airport each year.


"These initiatives are two examples of how the CDA is working to provide new, innovative opportunities for public-private partnership to grow the green economy in Chicago and beyond," said Andolino.


The CDA's new composting program, in partnership with Midway Airport Concessionaires (MAC One), will include 13 restaurants operating at Midway International Airport. Composting is the natural process of recycling organic waste into a rich soil called compost. Composting provides a cost-effective, sustainable waste disposal solution that yields many benefits including diversion of organic materials from landfills; use as natural, chemical-free fertilizer for food crops; and promotion of higher agricultural yields.


"The Midway composting program will help keep waste out of landfills and also provide a substantial source of food waste to be used as compost," Andolino said.


Under the program, all of MAC One's restaurants at Midway including Harry Caray's, Sprigs, Taylor Street Market and Tuscany will collect pre-consumer food waste. Pre-consumer food waste is the material that is discarded before reaching the consumer, such as what is generated from food preparation. Waste Management will collect compostable materials from the airport and deliver them to an off-site, certified composting facility in the Chicago area.


The Midway composting program complements the pilot program that the CDA launched earlier this month at O'Hare in partnership with HMSHost. Restaurants including Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless, Stefani's Tuscany Café and Blackhawks Restaurant, are now collecting pre-consumer food waste for composting. In addition, all the Starbucks Coffee locations at O'Hare are now collecting coffee grounds for composting.


These major sustainability initiatives announced today, as well as many other current and future green initiatives in the aviation industry, are among the topics of discussion at the Airports Going Green conference hosted by the CDA and the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). Now in its fourth year, Airports Going Green is the industry's premier event for the development, communication, and active discussion of aviation sustainability initiatives.The three-day conference begins today and will culminate with a tour of the sustainability initiatives on the airfield and in the terminals at O'Hare International Airport on Wednesday.


The event features airport guest speakers from across the U.S. including Juneau - Alaska, Seattle Tacoma, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas Fort-Worth, Denver and Atlanta-Hartsfield. Representatives from international airports including Abu Dhabi Airports Company, Toronto, and Amsterdam as well as officials from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, will also lead discussions on aviation sustainability at the conference.


Leaders from the restaurant, freight, design, construction, engineering, media, and transportation industries are also participating in Airports Going Green.


Sessions at the 2011 Airports Going Green include:

-          Sustainable Concessions;

-          Eliminating Waste;

-          Green Transport and Inter-modal Connections;

-          Sustainable Use and Reuse of Airport Facilities;

-          the Future of Sustainability;

-          Airlines "Going Green"; and

-          Social Responsibility.


The conference concludes on Wednesday, November 2.