Net Zero In The Fox Valley

Outagamie County Regional Airport embarks on a net-zero environmental impact mission, incorporating 'smart' building systems and setting a green standard for general aviation support facilities


Lenss relates the airport started working on the proposal some four and a half years ago. The parcel of land owned by the airport was a $5,000 per year agriculture lease; now it will bring in some $150,000 of non-aeronautical revenue.

The lease was negotiated for a total term of 50 years; a 20-year initial term with three ten year options. The goal is to break ground March 1, 2013 with a construction time of some two years; a $34 million development.

“We have had preliminary discussions with the technical college to do some of the continuous commissioning of our HVAC systems, and make sure they are always in that 95 percent efficiency rating,” says Lenss.

“So, as a public building, in partnership with the tech college, it would become a living lab … the only net-zero energy use building that I am aware of, on an airport.

“That furthers that community-airport partnership, which drives a positive perception by the public at large of what we are doing out here. The relationship just really gives us some neat opportunities to explore possible synergies that may exist, and work together for a common benefit.

“That’s the type of thing we want to do. Collaborate with local businesses and organizations in ways we haven’t done before … in my opinion, that is what airports need to do in the new economy.

“In 2008, aeronautical revenue was at 59 percent. In our 2013 budget, airline revenue is now at 43 percent. So in a couple years, we should be below 40 percent of our revenue being derived from airlines.

“The need to grow non-aeronautical revenue at the airport is critical in this new economy.”

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