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Planning Month: Juneau International Airport

October 29, 2019 – News

As we all know, there are only two ways to access Juneau – by air or by water – so the importance of the local airport, owned and operated by CBJ, is not lost on us. In 2018, the airport completed its Sustainability Master Plan, which reaffirmed the airport’s commitment to completing the renovation and reconstruction of the airport terminal building. You may remember work done in 2012 to the east wing of the terminal for large air carriers – that was Phase 1 – and what a huge difference that made in bringing the terminal up to modern standards.

What you might have not noticed about that work is that it included energy saving features, like LED lighting, and a ground source heat pump (GSHP) system coupled with advanced heating and cooling systems. The airport has been a community leader in reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and is on its way to having three buildings free of fossil fuel usage. It was the first airport terminal in the United States and the first public infrastructure facility in Alaska to use a GSHP system. It allowed the airport to, cost-effectively, install pipes in the concrete that melt snow and ice on the sidewalk and the crossing in front of the terminal, reducing use of snowmelt chemicals and labor.

Once the terminal reconstruction is complete, it will join two other airport buildings that are free of fossil fuel usage. The new Snow Removal Equipment Facilities, including the recently completed sand/chemical building, also use GSHP systems and are a tremendous asset to the airport’s mission of maintaining year-round access to and from the capital city. This sort of movement away from fossil fuel usage ties into CBJ’s 2013 Comprehensive Plan and the 2011 Climate Action and Implementation Plan.

A significant amount of the funding for capital projects at the airport comes from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). When the Airport applies for grant funding, it uses the Airport Sustainability Master Plan as the basic planning document. Reviewing CBJ construction projects against adopted plans also helps the Planning Commission and Assembly ensure that all projects are delivering the community’s values.