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Air Quality

Consolidated Rental Auto Center (ConRAC)

The 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.

Electric Vehicles

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.

Roadway Efficiency

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.

Voluntary Airport Low Emissions Grant Program

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.

Public Transportation

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 #60), connects riders to the San Jose Metro Light Rail, Santa Clara Caltrain Station and Milpitas Transit Center.

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, Caltrain System and Milpitas Transit Center travel.

Alternative Fuels

SJC has a comprehensive Alternative Fuels Program (AFP) that provides incentives to encourage tenants to convert their vehicles to CNG or other alternative, cleaner burning vehicles. In an effort to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, the Airport converted the entire fleet of airport shuttle buses from diesel to CNG.

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is one of the cleanest burning alternative fuels available. In 2002 the Airport installed a CNG fueling station to provide an alternative fuel option for Airport shuttle buses, and taxis. The station also sells fuel for public consumption and pumps the equivalent of over 600,000 gallons per year.

CNG is a much cleaner fuel source than diesel, reducing our emissions by 100 tons of CO2 annually. We will further reduce our impact on local air quality in 2011-2012 with the intention of reducing our fleet of 24 shuttle buses to 11 buses. The combination of the fleet reduction, CNG conversion, and centralization of facilities will ultimately reduce emissions and improve air quality at the Airport.

Through policy we require one quarter of all taxi trips to use alternative fuels including CNG and hybrid vehicles. CNG fueled vehicles emit 70% less carbon monoxide than gasoline powered vehicles. The airport taxi fleet has 91 CNG vehicles and twenty hybrid cars.

According to the United States Department of Energy, using CNG vehicles have the following benefits to the environment:

  • Reduces carbon monoxide emissions 90%-97%
  • Reduces carbon dioxide emissions 25%
  • Reduces nitrogen oxide emissions 35%-60%
  • Potentially reduces non-methane hydrocarbon emissions 50%-75%
  • Emits fewer toxic and carcinogenic pollutants
  • Emits little or no particulate matter
  • Eliminates evaporative emissions


Out of 300 taxis permitted to operate at the Airport, currently 119 are now CNG taxis. Since 2000, the Airport has only purchased alternate-fuel vehicles. Approximately 25% of the Airport fleet of vehicles is now CNG vehicles.