GreeningATL: The Most Resilient Airport Globally

GreeningATL reflects our commitment to achieving the triple bottom line — people, planet, and profits — while working to become the world’s most resilient airports. Through innovation and cutting-edge technologies, Hartsfield-Jackson strategically incorporates a common-sense approach to manage our resources to ensure a resilient and sustainable future.

GreeningATL is our journey to becoming the most resilient airport community while respecting the planet’s natural resources. To that end, the Department of Aviation has pledged to plan, build, operate and maintain an integrative approach to achieve measurable results that propel our community, stakeholders and the environment.

ATL is an integral part of the metropolitan Atlanta community. Since 2014, plans are in place for the Atlanta Aerotropolis, a mixed-use development zoned for 6.5 million square feet of office, hotel, and business center amenities. As the first registered aviation EcoDistrict, we value the involvement and feedback from all community members, and we seek new ways to engage and inform our internal and external stakeholders.


In 2011, we published ATL’s Sustainable Management Plan, identifying long-term focus areas, goals and targets to make sure the Airport operates sustainably. That plan also established our 2020 performance goals against a 2008 performance baseline.

Beyond 2020, we will identify new resilience indicators to make sure they align with current Airport options. Our new indicators and reporting metrics will continue to help us track sustainable development performance in keeping with total operational demand.


In the aftermath of recent “shock” events, such as the loss of electrical service at the Airport in December 2017, the Department of Aviation proposed a collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) to develop the nation’s first comprehensive airport-wide Resilience Management Plan (RMP). The plan would focus on improving the resilience of the delivery and distribution of energy, as well as potable water delivery, sanitary and stormwater management, and command, communications, and control.


To prepare for future passenger demand, the Department of Aviation is exploring cutting-edge ways to achieve 20 percent reduction of energy by 2020 through the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar photovoltaics, geothermal heating and cooling, and resilience-based technologies such as cogeneration and microgrids.

Energy efficiency projects have reduced ATL’s energy usage by more than 5 percent. This success was the result of aggressive energy conservation and clean energy measures, such as exploring the use of renewable energy and implementing several airport-wide initiatives.


Hartsfield-Jackson became the first airport to join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Challenge in 2014, pledging to improve their sustainable food management practices and report results. The Department of Aviation is working with more than 100 Airport concessionaires to collect and distribute recoverable edible food to local shelters that serve the homeless, disabled, elderly, veterans, children and the underserved. What makes this program unique is the Airport is the first in aviation history to use blockchain technology for the purposes of tracking food from the Airport to the community recipient. Additionally, geotagging ensures temperature control. On average 1,000-1,200 pounds are diverted from the landfill daily.



With the intent on achieving 90 percent waste reduction and eventually zero waste taking a circular economic approach, the Department of Aviation launched the Green Acres Energy Park concept in 2017 to divert waste and produce energy, while also generating income. This facility will comprise an energy park and an education and entrepreneurial center. The energy park will facilitate municipal solid waste (MSW) diversion operations utilizing state-of-the-art recycling and composting technologies, renewable energy recovery, and alternative fuel production.  The facility is currently in the early phases of design and is expected to receive the first load commodities by 2020.



The Airport’s first Green Infrastructure (GI) Master Plan identifies opportunities to reduce stormwater runoff by implementing innovative stormwater infiltration and control measures, in conjunction with traditional stormwater management methods. GI measures, such as bioswales and bioretention, are being applied to new construction projects and existing buildings, including the Commercial Vehicle Hold Lot, Sullivan Road Parking Lot and the Department of Aviation Technical Campus.



In 2018, the Department of Aviation started a partnership with the Good Traveler Program, which helps travelers make their trips more sustainable by enabling them to buy carbon offsets when purchasing tickets. ATL continued purchasing carbon credits to offset related emissions for the third year in a row, including Airport and city-employee business travel emissions and Airport Fire Training Center emissions. To date, the Department of Aviation has achieved a reduction of more than 17,000 metric tons of CO2e.