Airports Going Green Conference
Since 2007, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) has sponsored the leading aviation industry forum on sustainability – the annual Airports Going Green (AGG) conference. The conference is held in partnership with the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), the world's largest professional organization for airport executives. The AGG movement began with a spotlight on the sustainability achievements of the O'Hare Modernization Program (OMP), at a time when the importance of sustainability was just starting to be recognized elsewhere in the industry. The CDA continues to build on its leadership in sustainability by capitalizing on the AGG format to build essential industry partnerships, to showcase CDA's (and the City's) sustainability accomplishments, and to build industry consensus and acceptance, all while receiving national and international recognition.
The annual AGG Conference has served as a valuable tool for the CDA to educate industry experts, airport and airline professionals, contractors, consultants, environmentalists, and the press on its industry-leading sustainability efforts. Chicago was one of the first in the nation to develop sustainability guidance for airports and the AGG Conference has served as a forum for discussion of the CDA's sustainability guidance. The conference also provides an opportunity to learn about innovative sustainability initiatives taking place at other airports in the U.S. and abroad. The CDA has utilized the AGG format to capitalize on industry expertise to maintain its industry-leading focus.
The CDA has utilized the AGG Conference as a launching pad for the Sustainable Airport Manual (SAM), the CDA's comprehensive guidance manual for incorporating and tracking sustainability initiatives at O'Hare and Midway International Airports. Since the SAM is also used by several other airports around the world, the AGG Conference serves as a vital opportunity for SAM updates, case studies, networking, and brainstorming new goals and innovative initiatives. In conjunction with the AGG Conference, SAM Workshops are held throughout the year to bring sustainability and aviation experts from around the world together to continually improve SAM.
The AGG conferences have covered a diverse field of sustainable initiatives and standards, unique to an airport environment. The conferences have featured the airlines' perspectives on sustainability, nationally and internationally recognized airport leaders, and case studies on topics ranging from the use of emerging technologies, research, and funding; increased attention on green roofs, wind turbines, alternative renewable energy such as photovoltaic and geothermal; use of alternative fuels; waste reduction and recycling initiatives; and the design, construction, and commissioning of LEED-certified terminals. The AGG Conference has even brought in speakers from non-aviation businesses such as Potbelly, Wal-Mart, and Starbucks to discuss their sustainability strategies and how conference participants can learn from their unique efforts. The conferences have also incorporated the media's perspectives on sustainability, current trends and overall impressions, and how airports can better promote the exciting advances being made in sustainability.