GreeningATL reflects our commitment to achieve the triple bottom line — people, planet and profits –while working to become the world’s “greenest” airport. Through innovation and cutting-edge technologies, Hartsfield-Jackson strategically incorporates a common-sense approach to manage our resources to ensure a sustainable future.

To that end, the Department of Aviation has pledged to plan, build, operate and maintain an integrative approach to achieve measurable results that propel our community, stakeholders and the environment. GreeningATL is where thinking “green” becomes routine.

2015 Sustainability Report
GreeningATL Excellence Awards April 21, 2017

GreeningATL Excellence Awards 2017

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport continues to establish itself as a leader in sustainability in the aviation industry. ATL recognizes the pivotal role that “eco-leadership” plays in its overall sustainability mission and the daunting challenge that stakeholders have in satisfying customers and generating revenue while simultaneously minimizing the environmental impact.

The annual GreeningATL Excellence Awards were created to recognize Aerotropolis community members and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding leadership by promoting and implementing measures to advance sustainability, specifically through environmentally based achievements.

Nominations are open →

Business Awards

We invite you to nominate sustainable businesses and vendors by sharing their success stories in the following categories:

Energy Conservation and Efficiency

This award recognizes a company that is making a real energy conservation impact by reducing greenhouse gases, increasing energy efficiency and/or producing its own energy.

Materials and Resources

This award recognizes a company that is reducing its environmental impact through its purchasing process. Has the company instituted a green procurement policy? Is it looking for ways to reduce the use of natural resources by buying recycled materials or finding ways to decrease consumption?

Footprint and Community Impact

This award acknowledges the social side of sustainability by recognizing a company that has worked in its local community to pursue environmental improvements.

Sustainability Innovation

This award recognizes a company that uses groundbreaking technologies to find solutions to environmental issues and implements sustainable policies to reduce its environmental impact.

Waste Management

This award recognizes a business that works toward zero waste and finds opportunities to repurpose materials that would otherwise occupy a landfill.

Sustainable Packaging

This award recognizes excellence in packaging design and development. This covers alternative, sustainable packaging materials, packaging minimization, lightweighting and closed-loop systems.

Supply Chain

This award recognizes a company that has looked beyond its own operations and engaged with its supply chains to drive down environmental and social impacts. From carbon reduction and waste minimization to responsible procurement and ethical initiatives, these environmental impacts are measured, managed, and where possible, mitigated.

Product Innovation

This award recognizes excellence in both sustainability products and sustainably designed products as well as improvements to existing offers and innovative partnerships between suppliers and other stakeholders that provide holistic solutions.

Individual Awards

We invite you to nominate outstanding individuals who demonstrate innovative corporate and community leadership.

Community Leader

This award recognizes two leaders who deliver projects that enhance the long-term sustainability of ATL’s built or natural environment as well as forge partnerships among local residents, community groups and/or businesses resulting in a reduced ecological footprint. Projects may range from new transportation enhancements to community-based food initiatives.

GreeningATL Eco-Employee Award

This award recognizes the efforts of two Airport employees who best embody the spirit of sustainability by incorporating such practices into their daily activities. These employees have initiated or contributed to projects that increase recycling, boost energy efficiency, reduce purchasing or educate other team members about sustainability and the environment.

Pavement Recycling

The Department of Aviation is a national leader in airfield pavement recycling. Pavement recycling began in 1999 with the reconstruction of Runway 9R-27L. Aviation contractors neatly cut the pavement into large slabs and placed them at a storage site proximate to the airfield. When future projects require the use of a large quantity of fill, the slabs will be demolished into smaller pieces for subsequent incorporation into the deepest areas of fill. Historically, the Department has recycled more than 675,000 tons of concrete and used recycled pavement in fill sections that were required for the Runway 10-28 and South Complex site preparation projects.

Paper Products in Restrooms

Given the high levels of passenger and aircraft activity at Hartsfield-Jackson, as well as the size of our Central Passenger Terminal Complex (CPTC), we recognize that opportunities exist to minimize waste. We have made tremendous progress in source reduction by using some innovative techniques associated with paper products in terminal restrooms. By switching to automatic dispense paper towels from folded ones, approximately 240,000 pounds of paper are saved annually. Another innovation is through changing types of toilet paper used to coreless rolls. By using coreless rolls, approximately 140,000 pounds of paper are saved annually.


Composting is performed at the landscape shop at the former Northwest Airlines hangar. The process combines nitrogen from green materials (flowers and grass clippings) and carbon from brown materials (dried leaves and straw). These materials are turned regularly and eventually break down into decomposed organic matter known as compost. All of the materials are derived from routine work at the airport (i.e. cutting grass, raking leaves, recycling flowers). The materials are added to the compost pile throughout the year. The compost is used as a soil amendment in the various seasonal color beds and containers throughout the Airport property.

Preconditioned Air and 400 Hertz Power

When aircraft are parked at the gate, they need a source to power instruments and interior lighting and provide conditioned air in the cabin. The most efficient and environmentally friendly way to do this is by providing preconditioned air and 400 Hertz (Hz) power connections at each aircraft parking position. Without these connections, aircraft are required to either run their auxiliary power units (a small jet fuel engine located under the aircraft tail) or use a diesel-powered ground power unit. There are 199 aircraft parking positions in the Central Passenger Terminal Complex. Of the 199 positions, approximately 90 percent are equipped with preconditioned air and 400 Hz power.

Clean Construction Equipment

The Department of Aviation became one of the first airport sponsors in the United States to require contractors working on large projects, especially those moving large quantities of fill, to use “clean” construction equipment. Such equipment features low emissions production and uses the EPA’s nonroad diesel emissions standards. Besides specifying the use of clean equipment, ATL became the first airport in the country to use an overland conveyor to transport large quantities of fill material. The conveyor transported approximately 20 million cubic yards of fill material during the construction of Runway 10-28. Without the conveyor, approximately 2.5 million dump truck round trips would have been required to transport the material.

Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) System

The Ground Transportation Center (GTC) is served by taxis and shuttle buses from hotels and other facilities. In an effort to eliminate excessive engine dwell times from these vehicles, the Airport implemented an Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) system. As part of the AVI system, all service vehicles entering the Airport GTC are equipped with transponders. Consequently, vehicle operators can be billed based on the number of times they access and the amount of time they spend at the GTC. This billing system creates a disincentive to dwell excessively at the GTC, thereby reducing emissions.

Calendar year 2009 marked the first full year of AVI system availability. Since it became operational, the system has recorded approximately 1.5 million vehicle entries into the GTC.

End-around Taxiway

In the spring of 2007, the Department of Aviation commissioned the nation’s first end-around taxiway, Taxiway “V.” Instead of arriving aircraft landing on Runway 26R and taxiing into the Central Passenger Terminal Complex after crossing Runway 26L, these aircraft now taxi around the end of Runway 26L. Due to a special design of the taxiway, aircraft can now depart on Runway 26L without incurring delays created by the Runway 26R arrivals crossing the runway. This special design and use of the taxiway has boosted Runway 26L’s departure rate, and an increased departure rate leads to reduced delays and emissions.

Rental Car Center and SkyTrain

The Rental Car Center (RCC) is a one-stop facility that houses 13 rental car brands and vehicles for ATL passengers and guests. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the RCC is just a few minutes away from ATL via the SkyTrain, an electric-powered automated people mover system that connects the Rental Car Center to additional parking and the Airport.

The SkyTrain also serves the Georgia International Convention Center, the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway, SpringHill Suites Atlanta Airport Gateway, and opening in May 2017, the Renaissance Atlanta Airport Gateway Hotel.

In 2009, the SkyTrain replaced diesel-powered shuttle buses, resulting in reduced traffic on area roadways, reduced vehicle emissions and convenient transportation.

Low Flow Rest Room Fixtures in the Central Passenger Terminal Complex

In response to record drought conditions in 2007, the Department began a major water conservation initiative. Specifically, 630 toilets with a 1.6-gallon-per-flush rating were replaced with 1.28-gallon-per flush models. In addition, 1,200 one-gallon-per-flush urinals were replaced with 0.5-gallon-per-flush units.

From April 2007 to March 2008, the Airport used 324.9 million gallons of water. The following year, water usage dropped by nearly 8 percent. Water consumption dropped by an additional 61.2 million gallons – 20.4 percent – between April 2009 and March 2010.

The conversion to low-flow restroom fixtures throughout the Airport is one reason for the savings.

Xeriscape Landscaping

Xeriscape landscaping is designed specifically to cope with dry conditions and for water conservation. Xeriscape plant material is installed in 4,500 square feet of seasonal color beds throughout the Airport property. The number of active sites varies throughout the year based on the season. Xeriscape planting material at the Airport is a good choice because of Atlanta’s climate; the plantings are well adapted to heat and survive on little rainfall once established.

Water Cisterns

Department of Aviation maintenance crews installed three, 2,500-gallon water cisterns, which capture water runoff from a roof. The water collected from the cisterns is used to irrigate the xeriscaped areas, as well as other areas. From May to August, the maintenance unit uses approximately 8,000 gallons per month of harvested rainwater. During the cooler months and depending on rainfall events, not as much water is needed or used from the cisterns.

Sams Lake

The Sams Lake wetlands restoration area opened to the public in 2008 as a wildlife sanctuary. The Department of Aviation partnered with the Southern Conservation Trust and opened the 56.6-acre wetlands restoration area at a cost of $5 million. It features a reconstructed stream, bat houses, observation decks and a walking trail. Several small dams create three ponds, where bass and nesting birds flourish. The wetlands also are home to turkeys, hawks, blue herons, crows, toads, egrets and deer. To ensure that Sams Lake is viable long term, the Airport monitors wetland success criteria to anchor the site’s ecosystem. Sams Lake is in Fayette County, south of the Airport.

Jesters Creek

The Department of Aviation has partnered with the Clayton County Water Authority in the restoration of Jesters Creek. Because of the stream restoration project monitoring and maintenance activities, a strong and viable habitat has taken hold. Jesters Creek is in Clayton County, south of the Airport.

LEED Facilities

Building owners committed to the environment and sustainability look to design buildings or renovation projects that achieve Leadership in Energy and Sustainability Design (LEED) certification as published by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Four levels of LEED certification exist:  Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The LEED certification process is a rigorous one, requiring engineers and architects to incorporate specific, sustainability-enhancing elements into a design. The USGBC then evaluates designs using a scoring system to determine the level of LEED certification the design earns.

In July 2007, the Department of Aviation was awarded its first LEED certification for Fire Station 33, which is adjacent to Runway 10-28. It was certified at the Silver level.

A second fire station, Fire Station 24, is also LEED certified. This fire station, located in the northeast corner of the airfield, underwent a major remodeling completed in 2010.

The Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal, completed in 2012, achieved a LEED Gold certification.

CPTC Chiller Replacement Project

The Terminal Central Utilities Plant (T-CUP), which was built in 1978 as part of the original Central Passenger Terminal Complex (CPTC) construction, contains upgraded high-efficiency equipment. Before the upgrade, the T-CUP had two 30-year-old steam-driven chillers. Two natural gas-fired boilers generated the steam used to drive the chillers. The steam-driven chillers were replaced by two electric chillers, thus eliminating the need to use natural gas-fired boilers to generate steam. The sustainability paybacks of the project are now apparent. During the ozone season of 2007 (May through September), approximately 112.8 million cubic feet (MMCF) of natural gas was used within the T-CUP, mainly to generate steam for the old chillers. During the ozone season of 2008, 30.8 MMCF of natural gas was used within the T-CUP, a 73 percent reduction in natural gas usage. In 2009, only 1 MMCF of natural gas was used, realizing a 99 percent reduction from 2007 usage numbers.

Light-Emitting Diode Airfield Lights

Numerous taxiways incorporate light-emitting diode (LED) edge lights to reduce electricity consumption. More than 3,000 LED edge and guard lights have been installed. The Department of Aviation now requires LED lighting on all new or reconstructed taxiways. An LED airfield light fixture uses approximately 50 percent less electricity than a similar incandescent fixture. The Department is working with a prominent lighting provider to develop edge lighting that is even more efficient than currently available.