The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) is a leader in proactively addressing environmental concerns across a wide spectrum, ranging from a standard-setting noise mitigation program to the preservation of Minnesota’s natural resources. These ongoing efforts have grown from the organization’s commitment to the community and the environment through responsiveness to stakeholder concerns, leadership in environmental management and the promotion of open and honest communication. The focus is on meeting current needs while ensuring that future generations will be able to meet theirs.

Toward that end, in July 2016 the MAC published its first sustainability report for MSP Airport.

Noise and Mitigation Programs

The MAC has an industry standard-setting noise abatement program. Learn more about our airport noise mitigation programs at


The MAC has implemented a number of programs and projects that have lowered greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and provided air quality enhancements directly related to operations at MSP. These efforts have focused largely on evaluating existing emission trends and implementing programs to reduce emission impacts. 

Greenhouse Gas Reporting

The MAC publishes a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report that examines the annual CO2e emissions from MAC-owned and controlled sources at MSP. The analysis determines the GHG emissions footprint for MSP as a whole, including emissions from non-MAC sources. These other emissions sources are not directly under MAC control but might be influenced by MAC projects and jurisdictional responsibilities. The 2016 report found that:

  • 2016 MSP emissions were down 15.7% from the 2005 baseline
  • MAC-controlled sources contribute 3% to the total MSP emissions footprint
  • Aircraft emissions at MSP accounted for 96% of the total MSP CO2e emissions 

In 2016, MSP joined the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) Program at Level 1 certification (mapping). Through this process the MAC developed a third-party verified carbon footprint analysis for MSP. In 2017 the MAC plans to pursue Level 2 certification (reduction) at MSP developing a carbon management plan and reporting carbon reductions.

View MSP's Carbon Policy Statement

Reducing Vehicle, GSE and Aircraft Emissions

The MAC continues to pursue emissions reductions through its vehicle procurement and management programs, aircraft-servicing
infrastructure strategies, and cooperation with new Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) aircraft procedure advancements. The MAC:

  • Conducted a vehicle fleet assessment and is integrating efficiency and environmental performance into a long-term vehicle fleet strategy.
  • Partnered with the FAA and airlines to implement PBN arrival procedures at MSP. In March 2015, the FAA implemented Area Navigation (RNAV)/Required Navigation Performance (RNP) arrivals, which support more efficient use of the airspace and provide for the integration of optimized profile descents, or OPD. Using OPD, pilots continue flying at cruise altitude longer, and once they start their descent, they continue it until they land. Sustaining near-idle power settings for longer periods during flight reduces fuel burn and associated greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Worked with the FAA and MSP airlines to develop a first-of-its-kind tool to measure the benefits of PBN procedures at MSP. The results show that aircraft arrivals burn close to 2.9 million fewer gallons of fuel per year using OPD procedures. As a result, 28,465 fewer metric tons of CO2e emissions are emitted into the atmosphere annually. Implementing PBN arrival procedures at MSP represents the biggest known carbon emissions reduction of any single action in MSP history. For its work, the MAC was awarded the 2017 ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Award in the Special / Innovative Project Category. FAA Regional Administrator, Barry Cooper, called the efforts by MAC a monumental environmental accomplishment.
  • Owns 104 flex-fuel and three electric vehicles. The MAC’s on-road vehicle fleet consumption of unleaded fuel was reduced by 46% in 2016 compared to 2005. The MAC continues to purchase alternative fuel vehicles.
  • Installed four more charging stations in 2016 (providing eight ports each) for electric Ground Support Equipment (GSE). This fast, energy-efficient station allows for simultaneous charging, adjustable charging rates, and automatic shut-off when the GSE are fully charged or when overheating occurs. The additional charging stations were installed for use by Delta and all Concourse E airlines. This project furthers the proposed long-term goal of converting all Delta GSE to electric power, thereby reducing air emissions from fossil fuel-burning GSE.
  • Installed 14 electric vehicle charging stations in the parking ramps (five on Level 8 of both the Blue and Red Ramps at Terminal 1 and four on level 7 of the Orange Ramp at Terminal 2.) The 3MW solar facility project at Terminal 1 in 2015 included the addition of four electric vehicle charging stations, increasing the total number of electric vehicle charging stations in the MSP parking ramps to 18.
  • Installed 400 Hz ground power to all gates at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 and offered pre-conditioned air at all 114 Terminal 1 gates. Every gate at MSP is equipped with a ground power unit. As a result, airlines can connect aircraft to terminal power and air supply systems and shut down all aircraft engines or auxiliary power units (APU) while aircraft are at the gate. Airlines at MSP estimate using these systems, instead of APUs, saves millions of gallons of jet fuel.
  • Installed an underground hydrant system that delivers fuel to the gates and virtually eliminates the need for tanker fuel trucks in the ramp area. Motorless fueling carts at each gate transfer fuel from the underground system to aircraft fuel tanks. 

Transportation Infrastructure Efficiencies

The MAC has maintained efficient access to air transportation services while considering environmental impacts through creative design and construction of supporting infrastructure. The following provides some examples of the associated accomplishments.

  • To more efficiently transport passengers and airport employees between MSP’s terminal buildings, the MAC teamed with the Metropolitan Council to construct a light rail line that replaces conventional buses previously used for such transportation. The free-of-charge rail between the terminal complexes runs on electricity.
  • The MAC reconstructed inbound and outbound roadways at MSP to ease traffic flow.
  • Over the last 14 years, the MAC added over 23,000 new parking spaces at MSP, helping eliminate vehicular traffic congestion at the airport and reducing the need for curbside drop-offs and pick-ups. When local passengers park at the airport, COemissions are cut in half because the vehicle they arrive in isn’t making a round-trip to and from the airport. This is a significant overall reduction in the off-airport CO2e footprint associated with MSP operations. In 2015 the MAC repurposed a former Delta Air Lines employee parking ramp to provide an additional 1,300 vehicle parking spaces for travelers at MSP. The new Quick Ride Ramp also provides 15 motorcycle/scooter/moped parking spaces.
  • The MAC implemented ePark®, an electronic payment method that helps speed customers through the parking exit plaza, virtually eliminating vehicle idling time caused by waiting for attendants to process each vehicle’s parking fee. This has reduced exit plaza processing time by more than 80 percent.
  • To reduce vehicle traffic crossing runways and taxiways, and to improve traffic efficiency, the MAC constructed several vehicle tunnels at MSP. This project shortened distances traveled and reduced idling time at runways and taxiways.
  • Runway 17/35 opened for service on October 27, 2005, increasing MSP’s airfield capacity by as much as 25 percent. This increased capacity reduced CO2 emissions at MSP by lessening the potential for aircraft needing to enter into airborne holding patterns or ground holds while congestion clears, and by reducing aircraft taxiing time. Reducing the number of aircraft delays also cut idling time for ground transportation vehicles waiting to pick up arriving passengers. 

Green Buildings, Facilities & Infrastructure

The MAC is committed to developing green buildings and to operating its facilities in ways that conserve energy, water and other natural resources. Following are examples of associated accomplishments.

  • In 2016 the MAC began the development of a Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) plan and strategy to minimize water runoff and quality impacts at MAC Airports.   
  • In 2014, the MAC completed design for the Terminal 2 gate expansion, incorporating a green roof. Project construction began in 2015. Following completion, the green roof’s performance will be tracked in consideration of future green roof applications at the airport. Green roofs reduce stormwater runoff/surge and improve water quality by storing rainwater in the plants and growing media and supporting water evaporation into the atmosphere.
  • In 2011, the MAC began a multi-year restroom remodeling project. Materials and fixtures were chosen based on durability, safety, energy and water conservation, ease of cleaning and maintenance, ergonomics, and accessibility – criteria that add up to a sustainable, long-lasting design and superior customer experience.
  • Sunlight is an inexpensive and environmentally friendly source of indoor lighting. Generally, day-lighting minimizes the amount of artificial light needed in a space and thus reduces electricity costs. It can also lower heating and cooling costs by reducing the amount of heat generated by electrical lighting. Both Terminal 2 and newer portions of Terminal 1 already benefit from incorporating day-lighting.

Energy Conservation/Renewable Energy

The MAC has a long history of innovative energy conservation and renewable energy development. Since the initiation of the MAC Energy Conservation Program (MECP) in 2000, cumulative energy cost reductions have far surpassed expenditures. Annual utility bill cost reductions from the MECP is now $4.8 million per year as of December 2016.  In addition, the program has collected over $4.7 million in utility company project rebates. 

  • Along with MECP oriented projects that are ongoing, the MECP project will continue energy conservation efforts with future projects as approved by the Commission. 
  • Specific 2016 energy conservation activities included enhanced mechanical systems, electrical retrofits of variable speed drives and motors, LED lighting upgrades and control system integration, and continued conversion of outdated pneumatic control systems to more energy efficient electronic controls connected to the MAC IMACS.
  • The 2016 MECP oriented projects are anticipated to reduce electrical consumption by 8,498 MWh/yr. which results in a projected utility cost reduction of $644,996 per year at today’s rates.  In addition, the MAC is estimated to receive utility company rebates of approximately $1,116,181.

In January 2016, in partnership with Ameresco, the MAC activated the 3 MWh solar energy facility atop the Blue and Red parking ramps at Terminal 1. The project included the replacement of 7,700 metal halide light fixtures in the parking ramps with energy-saving LED light fixtures and the addition of four electric vehicle charging stations, increasing the total number of electric vehicle charging stations in the MSP parking ramps to 18. In January 2017, with Ameresco, MAC activated the 1.3 MWh solar energy installation on the Purple parking ramp at Terminal 2.  All light fixtures in the Terminal 2 ramp complex were also switched out to LED.

Waste Management and Recycling at MSP

 The MAC is committed to reducing and recycling waste whenever possible. Following are examples of associated accomplishments.

  • The MAC recycles materials such as paper, cardboard, metal, glass and plastic bottles, batteries, food/organic waste, wood pallets, tires, construction materials, tree/yard waste, paint, automotive oil, antifreeze, solvents, deicing fluid, light-bulbs, and printer cartridges.
  • In 2016 the MAC recycled or diverted 1,520 tons of materials, avoiding more than $160,597 in disposal costs.
  • Since 2001 the MAC has saved over $1.6 million dollars in waste disposal costs by recycling these products.

Travelers at MSP can recycle their glass, paper, plastic, and aluminum products. Co-mingled receptacles are available both inside and outside the secure area.

Customers enjoy a wide range of dining options at MSP and in 2009, the MAC recognized a unique opportunity to reduce the amount of food/organic waste entering the solid waste stream by designing and implementing programs for diverting these wastes. The following provides some examples of the associated accomplishments.

  • In 2010, the MAC implemented a pilot program for back-of-house organic waste composting.
  • Since January 2015 all concessionaires at Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 participate in the program.
  • In 2016, 91.4 tons of used cooking oil was recycled. The used cooking oil is sent offsite and converted into biodiesel.
  • Partnering with our concessionaires and janitorial company, in 2016 the MAC was able to divert and compost 354 tons of food waste, keeping it out of the local waste stream.
  • The MAC will launch a comprehensive waste assessment project in 2017 to establish a baseline of current practices and performance, identify obstacles and opportunities for improvement, set future goals and map strategies to reach goals. 

Watch this video about the organics waste recycling program at MSP.

To advance waste reduction efforts, the MAC installed even more bottle fill stations at Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. This brings the total water bottle filling stations on the MSP campus from 12 in 2015 to 38 in 2017.

These stations deliver a clean, quick water bottle fill while helping to minimizing dependency on disposable plastic bottles.

Water Protection and Conservation

Water is a precious natural resource. This is especially true in Minnesota, a state known for an abundance of lakes and rivers. The MAC has a long history of programs to ensure that airport operations do not negatively impact this precious natural resource and continues to evaluate and implement water saving projects at its airports. Following are examples of associated accomplishments.     

  • In 2016 the MAC conducted nonstructural Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce Total Suspended Solids (TSS) to an airport outfall called Mother Lake. While successful, the MAC also voluntarily decided to upgrade this drainage system with a stormwater solids removal technology to further reduce TSS discharges from this area.
  • The MAC is conducting an EPA WaterSense audit of its irrigation systems and practices to develop a strategy for reducing campus-wide water usage.
  • The MAC has developed one of the most sophisticated and extensive airport stormwater monitoring and management programs in the country at MSP. Through investing more than $150 million in infrastructure (much of which targets the management of aircraft deicing fluid), and the development of extensive management and measurement programs to comply with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements, the MAC minimizes possible impacts from stormwater discharges and significantly reduces the risk of water pollution in the event of fuel spills, etc.
  • In 2014 the MAC invested over $2 million in the purchase of new parking ramp cleaning equipment and developed new procedures that allowed for better management of contaminated wash water and the ability to recycle the water for continued use during the cleaning process. In addition to a number of efficiency and financial benefits, water is conserved. The previous cleaning process used 24,500 gallons per ramp quadrant totaling 612,500 gallons a year. Using the new system, MAC Field Maintenance staff uses approximately 1,300 gallons of water per ramp quadrant equaling 32,500 gallons per year – a savings of 580,000 gallons of water per year.

In 2014 the MAC opened a new Rental Auto Companies (RAC) Quick Turn-Around (QTA) Facility at Terminal 2-Humphrey that incorporated an extensive water reclamation system in the car wash component of the facility. Approximately 85% of the water from the car wash facilities is recycled in the washing process.

Environmental Management Information System (EMIS)

In 2016, the MAC Environment Department continued the development and implementation of an environmental management system framework to enhance environmental compliance programs. This project was initiated in 2013 with the goal of reducing risk, increasing efficiency, and providing business continuity with a scalable management system and model. The result was the development of the MAC’s Environmental Management Information System (EMIS).

The MAC EMIS is a compliance-focused Environmental Management System (EMS), assisting in day-to-day environmental compliance functions, effective management through efficient and thorough oversight, and providing a structure for continual improvement.
The EMIS consists of two components: (1) the Knowledge Base application and (2) a vendor-provided, MAC-customizable, process/program management solution.
The web-based Knowledge Base application provides secure user access to relevant compliance activity documents, fact sheets, reference material, and regulatory submittals. The Knowledge Base provides 30 process fact sheets covering 10 environmental compliance aspect areas including water, soil, air quality, tanks, waste, fuel, environmental compliance programs, emergency response, and EMIS management.
This EMIS component provides significant business continuity through extensive process documentation and a structure that facilitates a plan-do-check-act (PDCA) review and improvement loop to be performed annually on the MAC’s compliance activities.
The data and process/program management component of the EMIS provides access to the Knowledge Base, centralized data storage, flexible data entry (including remote entry), real-time data analysis, automated custom report generation, task completion tracking, emailed task reminders with links to relevant documents and input forms, event logging, and dashboards.
In 2016 additional integration activities resulted in:

  • Fully deployed online spill reporting with MSP Fire, which provides faster notification to MAC Environment, automated reporting and reduced data entry.
  • Developed automated Recycling data input that provides centralized data and automated dashboard reporting.
  • Updated automated MPCA DMR reporting to conform to new State requirements.
  • Migrated additional functionality to the EMIS End User Portal, including a consolidated automated reporting interface.