ROANOKE – Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport’s “Rehabilitate Airfield Signage and Lighting” project was recently selected as the 2022 Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) Environmental Achievement Award winner for the Environmental Improvement with Limited Resources Category.
In February 2022, the airport completed a multi-year endeavor to replace its entire airfield electrical system with new and more sustainable infrastructure. This included replacing more than 900 fixtures, 200,000 feet of airfield electric cable and 14 Constant Current Regulators with an LED-based system to improve the airport’s operational efficiency and reduce its overall energy consumption.
The LED system at the airport was projected to save around $7,500 per year in utility costs at then current electric rates. The reduced maintenance and bulb replacements should save around $22,000 in materials and another $15,000 in labor annually. In addition to operational savings, the airport also realized savings by opting to do the entire system replacement as one project, reducing costs associated with multiple design and construction initiatives.
Since the new system became operational, the airport said it has seen a 40% reduction in the amount of electricity used by the airfield lighting system as well as a 70% reduction in labor hours associated with maintenance. Material waste associated with fixture repair and bulb replacement has all but vanished, eliminating landfill waste from an annual average of 1,000 burned-out bulbs, including packaging and shipping material.
The award was presented Monday, Sept. 19 at the ACI-NA Annual conference in Minneapolis, MN. “Our panel of judges was particularly impressed with the scope of this project, and the commitment to sustainability shown by replacing the entire quartz-halogen electrical system in a single project,” Kevin Burke, CEO and president of ACI-NA, said.
“This project was an innovative step toward boosting sustainability. Many airports only replace portions of the system at a time to reduce cost and operational impact, changing fixtures but leaving existing regulators and cabling in place for instance. ROA took forward-thinking action by making an upfront investment in its future and that of its community,” Mike Stewart, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission, said.
“The Airport’s decision supports the City of Roanoke’s Clean and Green sustainability initiatives and aligns with the Virginia Airports Sustainability Management Plan. These changes will also create a more meaningful and immediate reduction in the Airport’s energy consumption and waste generation,” Stewart continued. “I was proud to accept this great recognition for an outstanding project, but the kudos goes to the team. My thanks goes to Mr. Jay Ball and our Airport team, as well as, Austin Electric, Delta Airport Consultants and Skanska, they were instrumental to getting this done despite the operational challenges it provided!”