Environment

The Airport is committed to being a good neighbor and has implemented programs to address the concerns and interests of the community and the environment.

As an environmental leader, the San Jose Airport supports the Guadalupe River Trail which runs adjacent to the airfield and the Guadalupe Gardens. These trails are a part of the San Jose Green Vision Goal of creating 100 miles of interconnected trails which supply commuters with easy access routes and recreation space. The Guadalupe River Trail runs 11 miles through the San Jose area. This trail and garden foster awareness with the local environment.

There are 20 storage spaces for bikes that are available near the Airport terminals for customers, travelers and workers which are easily accessible from the Guadalupe River Park trail.

At SJC we have secured 84 acres of infield areas which are a home to a resident population of Western Burrowing Owls, a California Species of Special Concern.

The Burrowing Owl is one of the smallest and unique species of owls, growing to a height of approximately 9 inches, weighing about 4 oz., and living in underground burrows. We have a wildlife management program that actively manages the Western Burrowing Owls within the infield areas to ensure the ongoing safety of both the burrowing owls and aviation operations. The owls are banded at a young age, with a specific code that allows biologists to observe owls into adulthood.

For more information on Burrowing Owls, please visit the
City of San Jose website.

As part of the City’s Green Vision, San Jose Airport has a goal for Zero Waste by 2022. By implementing composting and recycling programs we are currently diverting 85% of our waste from landfill trash.

Airport environmental staff works closely with food concessions, tenants and janitorial staff to improve waste management at the facility. When the new terminal opened, receptacles were purchased and installed which improve the convenience and accessibility of recycling for passengers.

After researching the benefits of composting and conducting a waste audit of concession kitchens we found that we can compost over 70% of what enters the waste stream. Environmental staff worked closely with concessions, training them to sort food and compostable waste from trash and recyclables. Compostable materials are taken to Z-Best, a nearby Industrial Composting facility, where they are transformed into nutrient rich compost and fertilizer.

By implementing waste reduction measures, the Airport has reduced disposal costs and trash going to the landfill striving for zero waste by 2022.

At the Airport buildings are major users of potable water. As a result, the San Jose Airport is aiming for more efficient use of this limited resource.

The San Jose Airport uses recycled water for toilet flushing and landscaping, which consist of primarily native and drought tolerant plants to reduce water use.

Recycled water is treated and provided by South Bay Water Recycling (SBWR). A City agency with a network of over 100 miles of purple pipes throughout Santa Clara County.

Storm water is created when rain falls on hard surfaces and drains off of buildings, road surfaces, or other industrial materials. Storm water can carry pollutants like pesticides, paint, and oil through the storm drain system directly into local creeks and other bodies of water without filtration. By using preventative measures we reduce our impact upon local water sources.

Bordering the Guadalupe River it is important to act as environmental stewards. The Airport implements preventative measures to protect storm water by mimicing natural systems using native vegetation and surfaces that allow rainwater to be absorbed and recharge local groundwater.

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)
Spill Prevention and Countermeasure Plan (SPCC)

The new Consolidated Rental Auto Center (ConRAC) is located across the street from the new Terminal B. The location reduced the need for bus trips to rental car offices, and decreased the size of the Airport’s bus fleet, helping to protect air quality. The ConRAC is a state of the art facility with the newest technology that allows the Airport’s rental car companies to operate fueling, maintenance and indoor carwash racks with greater efficiency and more environmental controls. The ConRAC is topped by a 1MW solar array that supplies 20% of its power.

In 2010 Facilities Division of the Airport made a shift to using Electric Vehicles for their daily operations on the airfield. Since these vehicles do not need to travel on commercial roadways, the Airport can reduce their impact on air quality and reduce the carbon footprint of their operations. One convenience of these vehicles is their charging compatibility. These electric vehicles require Level 1 charging which is a simple 110V, 3-prong outlet are available in offices, home walls, and garages.

With the advent of more electric vehicles (EV) hitting the market, SJC has installed EV 8 chargers in the hourly parking south of Terminal B to serve customer vehicles while parked at the Airport. The chargers were provided through an air quality settlement by California Air Resources Board along with a grant to Southwest Airlines to install Ground Support Equipment (GSE) chargers. Southwest is in the process of converting their GSE fleet to electric to reduce their air quality impact.

As a part of the new Terminal Area Improvement Program, SJC eliminated the need for traffic signals by building direct on/off ramps and grade separations at several locations on Airport roadways. The one-way Airport Boulevard/Terminal Drive loop and the I-880/Coleman Avenue onramp minimize vehicle stopping and idling. The cell phone waiting area on Airport Parkway reduces unnecessary congestion and emissions from arrival pick-up traffic. Overall, the New Airport’s roadway component has focused on improving circulation, reducing delay, and unnecessary trips through the Airport campus to reduce emissions and improve air quality for the community.

SJC was the first airport in the western U.S. to be awarded a Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) grant by the FAA in 2009. As a result of the $4.6 million VALE grant and the Airport’s modernization program, all 28 aircraft gates are now equipped with “preconditioned air” and ground power that enable airlines to reduce their use of jet and diesel fuel while parked at the gate. The VALE Grant also enabled the Airport to purchase 11 off road electric vehicles for use at the Airport. This enables us to reduce emissions at the Airport and improve air quality in the community.

SJC is committed to ensuring access to our terminals through all forms of transit. In order to provide convenient public transportation to staff and travelers SJC works with VTA to subsidize a shuttle bus, The Airport Flyer (VTA #10), connects riders to the San Jose Metro Light Rail and the Santa Clara Caltrain Station.

SJC incentivizes the use of public transit for Airport staff and tenants in an effort to reduce green house gas emissions. The airport provides free VTA transit passes to 200 Airport employees and approximately 1,300 tenant and city employees who work at the Airport. Bicycling to work is also encouraged. The new construction included improvements on the bicycle paths on the Guadalupe and 20 bike parking spaces for staff who bike to work or customers who bike to the Airport.

By providing this public service SJC helps to reduce emissions from private transit. The Airport Flyer connection ultimately casts its web throughout the Bay Area where connections of the VTA and Caltrain System travel.

Subscribe to Environment