YVR is committed to sustainability. We work hard to lead the aviation industry with our innovative environmental, social and economic programs.
YVR's environmental standards not only meet but exceed federal regulations. Our Environmental Management Plan has four strategic priorities with corresponding goals, targets and baselines that influence the sustainable growth and development of YVR. These strategic priorities aim to:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Reduce waste
- Reduce potable water consumption
- Improve ecosystem health
There are inherent safety, security and environmental risks involved in operating an international airport. To effectively manage and mitigate these risks, YVR maintains robust policies, procedures and management systems aligned with our regulatory obligations. We also monitor, record and report on our environmental performance in many ways. We measure particulate matter in our air, record the content of YVR’s recycling and use the data to make sure we're hitting our sustainability goals. We are accountable through our community involvement, our Aeronautical Noise Management Committee and our Environmental Advisory Committee.
Core Environmental Program Areas
Our environmental programs are focused on: aeronautical noise, air quality and climate change, water quality, natural habitat, hazardous materials, contaminated sites, environmental assessment and sustainable building design, energy and resources, waste and recycling.
Solar-powered hot water
We installed solar hot water heating systems in the Domestic and International buildings in 2003. These systems help heat more than 800 gallons of hot water every hour, totalling an energy savings of $110,000 each year. These systems, along with night set-backs, CO2 sensors and improved scheduling and system tune-ups, have decreased our natural gas use by 25 per cent in the airport’s Domestic Terminal since 2001.
Taxi incentive program
One hundred hybrid and natural gas-operated taxis are licensed to pick up passengers arriving at YVR. In 2004, YVR launched an incentive rebate program for alternatively-fueled taxis and by 2009 the average taxi fleet fuel economy had improved by 47 per cent. With the thousands of passengers travelling to and from the airport by taxi each year, this program has improved air quality. This program is the equivalent of taking 1,651 cars off the road, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 8,422 tonnes a year.
Energy Reduction Committee
In 1999, YVR created a cross-departmental energy reduction team to identify and implement energy-reducing initiatives. Since the team's creation, YVR has saved more than 24 gigawatt hours of electricity and $5.5 million dollars.
Greening up our walls
YVR was the first Canadian airport to install a green wall. It's one of the largest living walls in North America. The wall stands 18 metres high and 12 metres wide. It is home to 28,249 individual plants on 2,173 panels and houses a built-in irrigation and feeding system.
Next time you are at YVR, be sure to visit the green wall, located at the Canada Line YVR-Airport station. The best views are from the parkade bridge connecting the International Terminal Departures, Level 3, or from Chester Johnson Park, International Terminal Arrivals, Level 2.
YVR has a direct rapid transit link to the downtown core – the Canada Line SkyTrain, which opened in 2009 and now serves around 140,000 riders every day. The Canada Line is a fast, convenient and inexpensive travel option for YVR customers and employees. It carries riders from the airport to downtown Vancouver in under 30 minutes — about half the average time it takes to drive.
YVR recycling containers
Finished with that pre-flight juice? You won’t have to look far to find a recycling container at YVR. We have 450 recycling containers throughout the airport. The containers help our community and passengers recycle over 1,250,000 kg of material each year — the weight of almost seven Boeing 747 jumbo jets.