[Avionics Today 09-12-2014] The FAA has awarded a $2 million grant to South Bend International Airport to install a geothermal heating and cooling system, which will reduce emissions and improve air quality at the airport.
The grant is available through the FAA’s Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) program, which was implemented in 2005 and aims to reduce sources of airport ground emissions in areas of marginal air quality and help them meet air quality responsibilities under the Clean Air Act. Through the program, funds are available to help airports improve air quality by acquiring low-emission vehicles, refueling and recharging stations, and gate electrification.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems take advantage of the relatively constant temperature below the earth’s surface by directing water through pipes that pass below the surface level and then heat or cool the building above through an energy-exchange process.
The Indiana airport projects the new system will reduce the airport’s natural gas operating needs by nearly 4 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.