Over the past 40 years, Chattanooga has transformed itself from one of the most polluted cities in the nation to one of the cleanest. As a cornerstone of the community, the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority (CMAA) shares the city's vision for sustainability. Five years ago, the airport pledged to reduce its environmental footprint and started small by initiating sustainable practices both on the airfield and within the commercial terminal. Over time, the airport has incorporated this green philosophy into larger projects including a solar farm and LEED designed facilities.
Following is a comprehensive overview of our sustainability efforts to date.
Lighting was one of the first initiatives that the airport tackled. Old, incandescent lights on the airfield were systematically replaced with more energy efficient LEDs as part of each taxiway construction project. Lighting on the exterior of the terminal building was upgraded from metal-halide to compact florescent lights. On the interior of the terminal, lighting was changed to compact florescent lights, and time, motion and light detectors were installed to ensure that lights were only used when needed. With these simple changes, the Chattanooga Airport reduced its electric consumption by one full megawatt each year over the past five years, and we continue to replace less efficient lights and equipment with more sustainable products.
Sometimes the smallest changes can have big impacts in our efforts to conserve the earth's resources. The CMAA has evaluated day-to-day operations and made conscious decisions to focus on sustainability in areas like green cleaning products, green pest control, green landscaping practices and recycling programs. All of these efforts minimize the pollution of our air and water and leave a cleaner community for our neighbors to enjoy.
The airport maintains many acres of asphalt on the airfield to support our aviation partners. All asphalt that is removed during reconstruction projects is recycled and reused to produce aggregate for new asphalt at the airport. Last year, the airport began restoring the pavement with an environmentally safe product instead of traditional coal tar. The new product significantly extends the life of our pavement while protecting our water and environment.
When the airport began the West Airfield Corporate Aviation Campus, a hill stood on the property and had to be removed before construction could start. Instead of trucking the dirt from the hill off the airport, the airport used the dirt as filler in an area of the airfield that was low and unusable. This one decision eliminated the pollution created by trucking the dirt off airport property and it served as the foundation, literally, of the airport's solar farm. That low lying area that was once unusable is now the site of the first phase of a three megawatt solar farm.