Chicago Department of Aviation Releases Sustainability Report

CHICAGO - The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) has released its 2012 Sustainability Report, A Sustainable Path, which documents the CDA’s green accomplishments at O’Hare and Midway International Airports last year. It also sets forth goals for Chicago to maintain its position as a global leader in airport sustainability.


The CDA implemented numerous airport industry-leading initiatives last year to improve natural resource conservation, operational efficiency, social responsibility, and economic viability at O’Hare and Midway International Airports. The CDA is seeking creative ways to further reduce emissions and energy use, conserve water and natural resources, salvage and recycle materials, reduce waste, and educate passengers and the local community. 


“Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the CDA continues to fully embrace sustainability with a strong commitment to incorporating the best environmental, social and economic practices at Chicago’s airports,” said CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino. “2012 marked a year of great progress for the CDA and the beginning of 2013 sets the stage for a new year of even higher expectations and challenges as we continue to showcase our leadership in airport sustainability.” 


A Sustainable Path describes the CDA’s five key sustainability goals and the underlying targets to achieve each by 2015:

  • Energy – Reduce energy consumption by 15 percent
  • Natural Resources – Reduce potable water consumption by 10 percent
  • Waste – Divert a minimum of 50 percent of waste from landfills
  • Ground Transport – Maintain a fleet of at least 20 percent low emissions vehicles
  • Community – Reach the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) program’s Top Ten ranking as a means to measure and evaluate passenger experience


The CDA plays a crucial role in the City’s objective to advance environmental and economic prosperity for Chicago and the region, and has aligned its vision to mutually benefit Chicago’s airports and the city as a whole. A Sustainable Path complements and promotes the City of Chicago’s Sustainable Chicago 2015 Action Agenda.  For example, to achieve its targets, the CDA plans to:

  • Implement additional airfield, parking, and facility lighting retrofit projects
  • Retro-commission the Heating and Refrigeration Plant at O’Hare and the terminal and concourses at Midway
  • Explore rainwater collection systems
  • Adopt more rigorous packaging and disposable item policies for concessions to reduce non-recyclable waste, encouraging and rewarding them using the SAM Green Airplane rating system
  • Develop a multi-alternative fueling station at O’Hare that offers compressed natural gas, electric vehicle charging, biodiesel, and/or other alternative fuels
  • Install up to 52 acres of solar panels
  • Expand the Chicago Green Taxi Program
  • Pursue development of consolidated rental car facilities at O’Hare and Midway

 A Sustainable Path also details the CDA’s recent accomplishments, which include:

  • Diverting 98% of O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) construction waste from landfills
  • Saving the equivalent water usage of 1,750 Chicago households by upgrading water fixtures
  • Releasing an RFP for up to 52 acres of solar development at O’Hare
  • “Retro-commissioning” O’Hare Terminal 5 and the Aviation Administration building
  • Maintaining a total of 8 acres of vegetated green roofs
  • Enhancing and restoring wetlands at 8 separate locations
  • Producing over one thousand pounds of produce at the O’Hare Aeroponic Garden to provide healthy, local food for O’Hare passengers
  • Issuing a SAM Green Airplane rating to seven restaurants at O’Hare and Midway under the Concessions and Tenants rating system and the O’Hare Airport Maintenance Complex under the Operations and Maintenance rating system.

Visit the CDA’s website to download a copy of A Sustainable Path. The website also contains additional information on the department’s sustainability goals and accomplishments, including the 2011 Sustainability Report, the most recent version of the CDA Sustainable Airport Manual, and information on the annual Airports Going Green Conference. 


The City of Chicago’s Sustainable Chicago 2015 Action Agenda is available to view/download here.


The Chicago Department of Aviation ( CDA) is self-supporting, using no local or state tax dollars for operations or capital improvements at O’Hare and Midway International airports.


Together, Chicago’s airports generate more than $45 billion in annual economic activity and create 540,000 jobs for the region. Please visit to learn more about the Chicago Department of Aviation.