Orlando International Airport Implementing Wide-Ranging Sustainability Initiatives

ORLANDO, FL. — From its original design concept to its 2013 Strategic Plan, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) has consistently recognized sustainability as an essential component in the future health and success of Orlando International Airport (MCO). The GOAA Board has identified goals to reduce the airport’s dependency on fossil fuels; lower demand on potable water; preserve natural lands; divert landfill waste; build more eco-friendly facilities; and support alternative transportation.

Key areas of concentration in MCO’s approach to airport sustainability are economic viability, operational efficiency, natural resource conservation and social responsibility. With an eye on a greener future, airport goals outline reductions in energy usage, solid waste and water consumption:

  • Reduce Energy Use Intensity (EUI) by 10%
    • 9.9% EUI reduction in 2017
    • Total Energy Saved: 15 million kilowatt hours (kwh)
    • Energy use per passenger: 2.73 kwh (down from 3.76 kwh in 2010)
  • Increase waste diversion from landfill by 50%
    • 23% of solid waste diverted in 2017
    • 2,614 tons of general solid waste
    • 6,000 tons of construction waste
  • Reduce Potable Water Use per Passenger by 10%
    • 23% water use reduction in 2017
    • Water use per passenger: 5.69 gal (down from 7.34 gal in 2010)

Since 2010, passenger traffic at Orlando International Airport has increased by 30%.

MCO Recognized for Achieving LEED® Building Program certifications

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement. LEED® Certified buildings are lowering carbon emissions, creating a healthier environment and reducing operating costs while prioritizing sustainable practices.

The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority was awarded the prestigious LEED® certification for an existing building, another for a new facility and is pursuing certification criteria for current new construction and existing building renovation projects.

The Westfield ARFF Station is a certified LEED® v4 Silver Existing Building and the South Airport Automated People Mover (APM) Complex/Intermodal Terminal Facility (ITF) is LEED® v4 Certified New Construction Complex. Individual accomplishments include:

  • Westfield Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) Station
    • 32% Reduced Energy Cost
    • First Public Order and Safety building in the World to certify LEED v4 O+M
  • South Airport APM/ITF
    • 22% Reduced Energy Cost
    • 36% Reduced Potable Water Use
    • First LEED® v4 New Construction certification in the State of Florida
    • First LEED® v4 New Construction Certified Intermodal Terminal in the World

“In keeping with our Sustainability Management Plan, GOAA is increasing the number of green buildings at MCO, while being environmentally and socially responsible, improving the quality of life for generations to come,” said Phil Brown, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Chief Executive Officer.

Beehives Offer Multiple Advantages to Airport Ecosystem

The airport apiary consists of more than 200 hives, each containing 20,000 to 90,000 bees.

The airport apiary consists of more than 200 hives, each containing 20,000 to 90,000 bees.

The airport apiary consists of more than 200 hives, each containing 20,000 to 90,000 bees. The colonies are located away from public access at three separate sites in wooded areas among the airport’s more than 13,000 acres. Under a land-use agreement between the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and an independent beekeeper, portions of Orlando International Airport have become home to approximately 15 million European Honey Bees.

“Bees are vital to creating and maintaining habitats and ecosystems,” says Judith-Ann Jarrette, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Assistant Director of Operations. “Bees are keeping agriculture locally viable, which is critical for ensuring a safe and accessible food supply and a diverse, more stable economy.”

Bees pollinate many Florida crops, increasing fruit and vegetable quality and yields. European Honey Bees also greatly reduce the potential for feral African Honey Bee colonies. Africanized bees are less desirable for agricultural purposes and are much more aggressive. By providing access to MCO’s wide variety of flowering plants, plant diversity is preserved and other pollinators are allowed to thrive.

Orange County’s Adopt-A-Highway Program Engages Community Members to Volunteer and Clean Up County-Maintained Roads

Since 1989, Orange County Government has managed a fun and educational program designed to allow citizens to make a positive impact by enhancing the cleanliness of Orange County roads. The Adopt-A-Highway program was conceived in response to roadside littering that was creating an eyesore for residents and visitors to Central Florida.


“It gives residents of Orange County a chance to rid their community of litter,” said Princess Poke-Clarke, citizen services coordinator for Orange County Public Works Department Roads & Drainage Division. “The program is designed to provide businesses, neighborhood organizations and individuals a way to volunteer with the goal of cleaning and beautifying a roadway, while also saving taxpayer dollars. It also promotes fellowship among the sponsoring organization and the community.”  


Adopt-A-Highway is managed by the Orange County Public Works Department, Roads & Drainage Division. Public Works is responsible for processing all documentation and coordinating with the various participants, as well as scheduling cleanups, conducting safety meetings and providing the safety vests and trash bags for volunteers to use during the cleanups. The County also picks up the collected litter at specified locations and posts Adopt-A-Highway signs acknowledging the sponsor at the beginning and end of their section of the road.


“Potential sponsors typically call Orange County’s 3-1-1 call center, which helps gather initial information about becoming involved,” explained Poke-Clarke. “There’s a confirmation and approval process, which usually takes 1-2 days to complete upon receipt of a signed agreement from the participant.”

For the Good of the Community

Sponsors are committed to removing litter six times a year for two years on a minimum of half-mile segment of county road right-of-way. They also need to attend a safety meeting given by the highway foreman of the participating maintenance unit. Once the safety meeting is completed, participants arrange and schedule an appropriate litter removal cleanup date with the maintenance unit foreman every eight weeks.


“We have high expectations of what our roads are supposed to look like,” Denise Sedon, assistant general manager of the Hunter’s Creek Community Association said. “Being a part of the program shows our residents we care, and it also keeps up our great relationship with the County.”


The southwest Orlando community has adopted more than one road over the years and considers its involvement beneficial to the growing region. 


“With an ever-increasing population and the heavier traffic that comes with that, especially on John Young Parkway, there’s unfortunately more garbage strewn about,” acknowledged Sedon.  “Therefore, we need to take responsibility and do our part to keep our roadways clean.”


The Trinity Christian School Junior Beta Club first became an Adopt-A- Highway sponsor in 1991, cleaning a section of Roger Williams Road between 436 and 441. Since then, it has remained active in the program. According to Edith Bentley, band director and Junior Beta Club sponsor, it’s a great way for students to better appreciate the environment in which they live.


“They’re constantly disappointed at how trashy our road is after only a weekend goes by, but they understand that although they can’t force people to be respectful and not litter, they’re still serving the community at large by their efforts,” asserted Bentley. “It’s an opportunity for them to make a difference and teaches them to be civically responsible.”


Over the years, the Adopt-a-Highway program has been successful with cleaning up miles of roadway throughout Orange County, all thanks to caring residents who participate by volunteering their time.


“The time they invest in keeping our roadways clear of debris helps build a better community for all of us,” said Poke-Clarke. “It’s about people caring enough to make a difference.”


If you or your organization are interested in participating in the Adopt-A-Highway Program, contact the Orange County Public Works Department, Roads & Drainage Division at 407-836-7900 or 407-836-3111.