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Nantucket AirportMassDOT's Aeronautics Division and Volpe National Transportation Systems Center have announced a pilot program to create the first ever airport with “carbon neutral” ground operations in the United States.

Nantucket Memorial Airport has been chosen to take all steps necessary to implement that designation.

“This truly revolutionary partnership to develop an airport with entirely carbon neutral operations is a shining example of our 'GreenDOT' plan to build a transportation system that is environmentally sustainable, and we look forward to working with the Nantucket Airport on this groundbreaking effort,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard Davey.

“Nantucket has a storied tradition as a community of seafarers, and its whaling fleet was once at the heart of the world’s energy and transportation economies,” said Nantucket Airport Manager Thomas Rafter. “The concept of sustainable transportation is something that makes sense on Nantucket, and is something I feel the community can really get behind and be proud to showcase.”

The Carbon Neutral Airport Pilot Program will assist the Nantucket Airport to implement measures that dramatically reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The program will identify lessons and practices learned to assist other general aviation and large commercial service airports.

MassDOT and Volpe, with the support of a Planning Advisory Group, chose the Nantucket Airport from among five Commonwealth general aviation airports that were eligible to receive Federal Aviation Administration sustainability/low emission funding to support the project.

The program to achieve “carbon neutrality” will move forward in 2013 with data collection and inventory in Phase One, followed by implementation in Phase Two.

MassDOT and the Nantucket Airport plan to rigorously pursue energy efficiency in airport buildings, on the airfield and among fleet vehicles. Efficiency will likely involve major upgrades to retrofit mechanical equipment, lighting systems and other facilities. New automation systems and operational changes will achieve additional energy savings. On-site renewable energy will be generated with the goal of equaling or exceeding energy consumption that cannot be eliminated.

The Carbon Neutral project includes $805,000 in MassDOT Aeronautics funding along with other expected local and federal funding sources.

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