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NEWS Last modified on September 12, 2014

FAA awards environmental grant to South Bend Airport

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded a $2 million grant to South Bend International Airport in Indiana to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the news yesterday, and the money will be used to install a geothermal heating and cooling system at the airport through the FAA’s Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) programme.

Through VALE, airport sponsors can use Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds and passenger facility charges to help acquire low-emission vehicles, refueling and recharging stations, and gate electrification, and achieve other airport-related air-quality improvements.

Geothermal heating and cooling systems take advantage of the relatively constant temperature below the earth’s surface and systems direct water through pipes that pass below the surface level and then heat or cool the building above through an energy-exchange process.

Geothermal wells, distribution pumps, distribution piping, temperature controls and ductwork channel the water and provide the conditioned air to the gateway's terminal.

Secretary Foxx, explains: “The VALE programme supports President Obama’s efforts to combat pollution and reduce emissions, improving the quality of life for all South Bend residents.

“I am pleased that the FAA can help our nation’s airports continue to improve the environment through grants like this one.”

The new geothermal system replaces an aging heat pump system that has served the airport’s east and west terminal areas for nearly 20 years.

The new system will reduce the airport’s natural gas operating needs by nearly four million cubic feet per year, resulting in estimated emission reductions of more than 140 tons of ozone over the 20-year lifespan of the system.

Through VALE, US airports have reduced carbon emissions by approximately 466 tonnes per year through funding 68 projects at 34 airports.

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