Houston Airports moves forward in a voluntary global program that strives to mitigate airport carbon emissions

In a proactive commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility, Bush, Ellington and Hobby airports achieved Level 1 of the ACI Airport Carbon Accreditation program.

October 11, 2023

HOUSTON – Airports Council International (ACI) announced that William P. Hobby Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Ellington Airport, all operated by Houston Airports, achieved Level 1 of the Airport Carbon Accreditation program.

Houston Airports is committed to carbon neutrality by 2030 and has already set the wheels in motion with several sustainable initiatives like solar panel arrays atop parking garages, upgrading terminals, runways, and taxiways with LED lighting, and promoting the use of all-electric ground support vehicles at Bush and Hobby airports.

ACI Airport Carbon Accreditation is the only institutionally endorsed, carbon management certification standard for airports. It is the only voluntary global carbon management standard that helps airports to manage and reduce their carbon footprint. The program is focused primarily on CO2 emissions and offers a common framework for airports to analyze and identify carbon-intensive activities. It is site-specific and can be used by airports to plan daily and long-term sustainability strategies through continuous improvement and stakeholder partnerships. 

In March 2023, Houston Airports formally began the effort with ACI to begin working towards Airport Carbon Accreditation. The first requirement of the ACA process is to make a policy commitment to emissions reduction. With this statement, Houston Airports committed to calculating an annual greenhouse gas inventory for all three airports per ACA guidelines. 

“Achieving ACA Level 1 underscores our commitment to transforming Houston’s airports into more sustainable and energy-efficient facilities for future generations. It’s imperative that we are good stewards of the world we seek to connect,” said Jim Szczesniak, Chief Operating Officer for Houston Airports. “Participating in a global carbon management program underscores the environmentally conscious work we began prioritizing in the last decade and motivates us to continue investing in thoughtful changes that will have a real impact on our community and planet.” 

In 2018, Houston Airports implemented a Sustainable Management Plan for its airports. The plan promotes economic, social and environmental excellence through action. 

LEARN MORE | Houston Airports Sustainable Management Plan

Level 1 is the Mapping phase of the Airport Carbon Accreditation program and establishes the baseline for which future reduction efforts will be measured. Houston Airports has begun work to achieve ACI ACA Level 2, which provides evidence of effective CO2 management and emission reductions. Houston Airports hopes to complete the work by late 2024. 

“We believe in the power of collective action, where every small step towards sustainability adds up to a brighter, greener future,” said Karen Korir, Director- Planning and Development for Houston Airports. "Our team’s dedication to reaching this milestone demonstrates not only our environmental responsibility but the determination of Houston Airports to make our facilities more resilient.”

According to ACI, on average, airports account for roughly 5% of aviation’s carbon footprint. A majority of emissions are from ground operations, including energy use for heating, cooling, lighting and airport vehicles. Houston Airports is among the more than 450 airports worldwide enrolled in the program and certified at different accreditation levels.