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How to Achieve Triple Bottom Line Sustainability Benefits on Airport Runway Projects

Parul Dubey on February 3, 2017 - in News, Projects

From planning through plowing, CH2M is leading the development of the most sustainable runway projects in the U.S. Through our life-cycle approach, airport clients have experienced significant benefits such as reducing energy demand, repurposing materials to preserve millions of dollars in capital funding and harnessing innovation to enhance the natural environment.

As a company, we have a long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship and problem solving. While sustainable practices often improve the traditional bottom line, greater benefits can be realized by considering all three facets of the sustainability triad – environmental, social and economic –commonly referred to as the “Triple Bottom Line.”

CH2M delivers best-in-class sustainable approaches for airport clients worldwide by constantly seeking opportunities to apply sustainable development and design concepts, like the ones implemented at John Glenn Columbus International Airport’s (CMH) Runway 10R-28L project.

In early 2009, we began the design for the construction of a new 10,113-foot-long by 150-foot wide runway complex at CMH. The overall program included the establishment of a replacement runway located approximately 702 feet south of the current runway, a new parallel taxiway located to the south of the relocated runway and associated entrance, and exit and high-speed exit taxiways to connect the new facility to the existing airfield. The program also included converting the existing runway to a parallel taxiway and the replacement of associated navigational aids (NAVAIDs) and visual aids to achieve special authorization Category II instrument landing system capability.

Focusing on the triple bottom line guided our team’s entire sustainable design effort. Specifically, we focused on ensuring compatibility of all used materials with the natural environment, reducing pollution during construction and after commissioning, reusing existing resources, optimizing operations thereby reducing emissions and improving safety and delays, supporting economic needs and securing the most cost-efficient options.

It’s through this focus that we helped CHM’s Runway 10R-28L become the first runway in the U.S. to employ high-intensity light emitting diode (LED) runway edge lights – achieving an expected 60 percent power usage reduction. This solution also reduced the runway’s light maintenance costs—incandescent lights have an annual lamp replacement, while LED lights have a ten-year life expectancy.

Additionally, we reclaimed construction waste and suitable bituminous pavements for embankments and aggregate base courses, diverting about 185,000 cubic yards of demolition waste from disposal in landfills and incinerators, resulting in greatly reduced project costs during the wettest year in Columbus history.

At the end of the program, we removed more than 15 acres of impervious area from the existing site, reducing the quantity of stormwater runoff on the airport and increasing water quality. To alleviate flooding problems located at points downstream of airport property, our team diverted more than 100 contributory acres from the problematic watershed to the watershed containing the newly constructed stormwater management basin.

Our drainage design also reduced the peak flow rates post-development to below the pre-development conditions. By utilizing above and below ground storage, we eliminated the need for construction of a $4.5 million stormwater detention basin.

The preliminary design documents projected construction of the new runway complex and stormwater management basin would generate over 400,000 cubic yards of earthen waste material. During design, we developed detailed vertical alignment and grading alternatives to optimize the material within the project site and avoid disturbance of other sites.

With the implementation of the multitude of sustainable solutions, the Runway 10-R 28L project became the first ever airfield project to win the Airports Council International North America Environmental Achievement Award, which recognizes airports that strive to protect and preserve the environment through dedicated programs, initiatives and projects. In addition to this first-of-its-kind award, the project received the 2013 Quality Award for Asphalt Paving from Flexible Pavements of Ohio and the Best Project acknowledgement by the 2014 Illuminating Engineering Society Aviation Lighting Committee.

A full description of the sustainable design solutions used on the Runway 10R-28L project at CMH is available here.

Interested in learning more about how CH2M’s top-flight sustainable design and aviation capabilities can take airport runway projects to new heights? Connect with us on CH2M’s aviation site.

Bill Peduzzi is CH2M’s Global Aviation Practice Director. With more than 20 years of experience working on large airport capacity enhancement and modernization programs, Bill oversees a practice team of subject matters experts with specialized domain knowledge in airfield civil and electrical design, NAVAIDs and airspace, airport planning and simulation, airport landside access, airport asset management and sustainability master planning.

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