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Bush Airport Wins International Award for Green Efforts
June 14, 2014
The Houston Airport System (HAS) is receiving international acclaim for its ecopark parking operation, located at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). The environmentally sensitive parking system recently secured an Award of Excellence from the International Parking Institute (IPI).
The recognition from IPI is the result of a restructuring and rebranding effort involving the airport system’s previous parking operation. The change involved switching the operation’s fleet of 30 shuttle buses to a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling system utilizing and changing the name from “Parking Cents” to “ecopark.”
“We had one clear goal throughout this process and that was to improve the environmental impact of our parking operation,” says Houston Airport System Parking Director, Liliana Rambo, CAPP. “That was the compass that kept us moving in the right direction and the new name and the switch to CNG simply stemmed from that commitment."
Voting members of the IPI 2013 Awards of Excellence competition were impressed by the efforts enough to recognize the Houston Airport System in the category of “Innovation in a Parking Operation or Program and Excellence in Sustainability Relating to Existing Facilities.” The ecopark parking operation was one of only seven submissions to garner recognition from the IPI judging panel, joining other recipients from as far away as Portugal.
“These facilities are not simply efficient and sustainable, but are literally transforming neighborhoods, workplaces and entire communities,” says IPI Executive Director, Shawn Conrad, CAE. "They prove that parking is much more than just car storage. Parking can be the nucleus for creating more walkable, livable cities.”
The ecopark parking operation has certainly had an impact in improving Houston’s environmental footprint. The switch to CNG fueling brings about a 90 percent reduction in particulate matter and an 85 percent reduction in Nitrogen Oxide. Compressed natural gas is also cheaper than traditional fueling sources, a fact which allows HAS to reinvest in additional green efforts such as the electrical vehicle charging stations. A total of 64 charging stations will be located throughout the airport system’s parking facilities.
The ecopark shuttles transport an estimated 739,500 people annually at IAH, travelling approximately 1.7 million miles in the process.