We are often asked what exactly we do at YVR with respect to sustainability. Many don’t know we have an entire department of dedicated staff who are monitoring, driving, promoting and coordinating the airport’s green initiatives.
These are our stories:
Solar Powered Hot Water
Green building means constructing and maintaining a building that is efficient and sustainable. One example of YVR's commitment to using green building techniques is our use of solar powered hot water heating systems.
The Airport Authority has had solar hot water heating systems on the Domestic and International buildings since 2003. These systems help heat more than 800-gallons of hot water every hour, resulting in an energy savings of $110,000 each year.
The solar-powered hot water heating system, along with the implementation of night set-backs, CO2 sensors, and improved scheduling and system tune-ups, has led to a decrease of 25 per cent in natural gas use in the airport’s domestic terminal since 2001.
Taxi Incentive Program
Have you ever wondered why we see so many hybrid taxis around town? One hundred hybrid and natural gas-operated taxis have been licensed to pick up passengers arriving at YVR. In 2004, the Airport Authority launched an incentive rebate program for alternative-fueled taxis and by 2009 the average taxi fleet fuel economy had improved by 47 per cent. With the thousands of passengers travelling to and from the airport by taxi each year, this incentive program has had a noteable impact on air quality.
To provide an concrete example, this program has been the equivalent of taking 1,651 cars off the road, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 8,422 tonnes a year.
Energy Reduction Committee
In 1999, the Vancouver Airport Authority created a cross-departmental energy reduction team to identify and implement energy-reducing initiatives. Examples of energy-conscious initiatives include installing an econo-mode setting on baggage conveyor belts to shut down conveyors when no bags are present; installing carbon dioxide sensors to control heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) according to the number of people in area; and patenting a black box to regulate electrical power to the flight information display monitors when no flights are scheduled.
Since the Energy Reduction Team’s creation, the Vancouver Airport Authority has saved more than 24 gigawatt hours of electricity and $5.5 million dollars.
Greening Up Our Walls
YVR is the first Canadian airport to install a green wall – the largest living wall in North America. The green wall stands 18-metres high and 12 -metres wide and is home to 28,249 individual plants on 2,173 panels and houses a built-in irrigation and feeding system.
Next time you are at YVR be sure to visit the green wall which is located at the Canada Line YVR-Airport station. The best views are from the parkade bridge connecting the International Terminal Departures, Level 3, or from Chester Johnson park, International Terminal Arrivals, Level 2.
YVR has a direct rapid transit link to the downtown core – the Canada Line SkyTrain which opened in 2009. By 2010, it is expected the Canada Line SkyTrain will serve approximately 100,000 riders every day.
The Canada Line offers a fast, convenient and inexpensive travel option for YVR customers and employees, carrying riders from the airport or Richmond to downtown Vancouver in 25 minutes – half the average time it takes to drive the same distance.
YVR Recycling Containers
Finished with that pre-flight juice? You won’t have to look far to find a recycling container at YVR. From 2005-2009, the Airport Authority installed 450 recycling containers in every wing of the airport. The new containers were designed specifically for YVR and are made of recycled steel, aluminum, and plastic.
The recycling containers help our community and passengers recycle over 1,250,000 kg of material each year - the weight of almost seven Boeing 747 jumbo jets.