Press Release Article


Date: Apr 22, 2014
Press Release Number: 81-2014

From roofs to trash cans to cars, agency makes daily operations greener

Celebrating the nation's 45th Earth Day, the Port Authority today announced a range of actions large and small to continue the bistate agency's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint throughout its facilities and operations.

Seeking to address global warming concerns throughout the port district, these initiatives span a range of projects and programs that will help the Port Authority reduce emissions, protect water resources, save energy, while fostering environmental sustainability in agency operations, maintenance and planning in the coming years and decades.

Specific projects include the start of installation of the agency's first "Green Roof" atop the Holland Tunnel Administrative Building, development of expansive solar energy installations at Newark Liberty International and Stewart International airports, implementation of LEED certified projects, upgraded public trash and mixed recycling containers at facilities and procurement of green cleaning products.

The Port Authority, for example, has spent approximately $33 million on energy projects in recent years, which are expected to save $45 million over the useful life of the project improvements. Along with the financial savings, these projects will eliminate more than 1,300 metric tons of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions annually.

Additionally, the agency long has committed to reducing pollution throughout the agency as part of its overall environmental stewardship. Efforts have included the popular Hudson-Raritan Estuary program to preserve wetlands and other open space throughout the port district for more than a decade, sustainable designs in new building projects and significant use of green vehicles for the agency's fleet.

"The Port Authority strives to be a leader in transportation sustainability and we seek to integrate green practices into our facilities and operations," said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. "Through continual implementation of these projects, we hope to become a pacesetter for the industry and encourage our partners to adopt similar practices."

"Environmental protection and fostering regional growth through transportation initiatives are not mutually exclusive, and the Port Authority is proving that year by year," said Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Deb Gramiccioni. "Earth Day is the fitting time to take stock of our environmental initiatives and look forward to implementing new ones to help safeguard the region."

At the Holland Tunnel Administration Building, a pilot project recently began to replace an aging roof with the agency's first modular green roof system, featuring various species of Sedum plants. Green roofs benefit the environment by improving air quality and reducing storm water runoff, lessening noise pollution and providing cooling and heating in different seasons. This saves money by providing thermal insulation and increasing the longevity of the roof. When completed this fall, the green roof will cover approximately more than a third of the 3,400-square-foot new roof area, with an outside perimeter for observation.

At Newark Liberty International Airport, a 750-kilowatt rooftop solar system on several buildings is underway, providing green power directly to the airport. Travelers will be able to learn more about solar energy and view real-time production data at interactive kiosks in Terminal B. At Stewart Airport, the Port Authority recently signed an agreement for energy produced by a 1.2-megawatt solar-covered carport to be located in the main parking lot of the passenger terminal. This project is expected to be among the largest public solar installations in New York and will be operational by the end of 2014.

Further incorporating green waste-management initiatives into its program, the Port Authority refitted public trash and recycling containers in airport terminals with Recycle Across America's standardized recycling signs. The agency joined with Recycle Across America to make recycling at its airports easier and more convenient for passengers by using a national standard for labels. Recycle Across America will be recognizing LaGuardia Airport's efforts through a billboard campaign in conjunction with Earth Week, calling on American businesses to "Recycle Right."

Additionally, the Port Authority will now apply standards set in New Jersey and New York for use of "green-certified" cleaning products. Procurement procedures will be implemented to rely on third-party certifying organizations, Green Seal, EcoLogo and Design for the Environment to identify products as "green" through a leaf symbol, making it easier for Port Authority staff to differentiate between green-certified cleaning products and conventional cleaning products.

Understanding that the costs of certification might limit the participation of smaller firms that manufacture green products, the Port Authority adopted a New York State practice that allows companies to self-attest to their products' conformity. By signing an affidavit and providing supporting documentation, manufacturers can warrant that their products meet or exceed the prescriptions set forth by the third-party certification standards.

As part of the Port Authority's previously announced programs, the agency is pursuing sustainable designs for several capital projects, including the LaGuardia Airport redevelopment program, which will achieve at least a Silver rating under the LEED 2009 rating system, with a target rating of Gold. The Harrison PATH station replacement project is to meet the target of LEED Silver. In addition, the World Trade Center complex was designed to achieve LEED Gold for the commercial towers and retail space, while achieving the WTC sustainable design guidelines for many of the non-tower elements, such as the Transportation Hub.

The Port Authority continues to scale-up its energy efficiency programs, with projects in development at John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports, as well as at its tunnels and bridges. Most recently, the Port Authority completed a $2.1 million lighting upgrade in the Lincoln Tunnel – one of the first passenger tunnels in the nation to upgrade to high-efficiency Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lights – which is projected to bring $283,000 in energy savings annually.

The agency also anticipates approximately $2 million in guaranteed savings annually over 15 years from energy conservation measures being implemented at the Port Authority Bus Terminal/Lincoln Tunnel, Newark Liberty and Stewart airports, as well as at the PATH Journal Square Transportation Center and Harrison PATH car maintenance facility.

Earlier this year, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of more than 200 "green" vehicles, bringing the number of alternative-fuel, environmentally friendly cars and trucks to approximately 85 percent of the agency's entire fleet – leading it to be named third-greenest in a survey among federal, state and local agencies across the country.

The Port Authority also is committed to developing the infrastructure needed to support the public's use of alternative-fuel vehicles, having installed ten electric-vehicle charging stations at public parking lots at JFK and LaGuardia airports. Additional charging stations at the Port Authority Bus Terminal are currently in design.

Visit to learn more about the Port Authority's environmental and sustainability initiatives and programs.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency's network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where construction crews are building the iconic One World Trade Center, which is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit

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