Wilmington International Airport becomes first Green Plus Certified airport in the country

The Wilmington International Airport (ILM) based out of Wilmington, North Carolina, is the latest organization to receive Green Plus Certification.  ILM is the first business in Wilmington and the first airport in the country to achieve Green Plus Certification.

Being Green Plus Certified means that the airport has shown a commitment to sustainability in its operations, and is continuously improving its initiatives over time. 

“The airport industry is really into sustainability,” says Julie Wilsey, Deputy Director for the airport.  “We were already doing the things that would be considered sustainable just because it was good business practices.”

As Julie indicated, ILM had already implemented several sustainability practices prior to joining Green Plus, such as a complete lighting overhaul to LED bulbs on airport airfields, using excess asphalt from runway paving to pave security and access roads, an airport-wide recycling effort, and received a grant from the FAA to replace all lights on the airfield to LED bulbs.  Julie projects the return of investment from this grant will be only three months.

The addition of ILM to the Green Plus program comes about from a  new partnership between Green Plus and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, a collaboration two years in the making.  In the summer of 2012, the Institute for Sustainable Development launched the Green Plus pilot program in Wilmington, North Carolina, and with the help of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, ILM was the first Wilmington business to sign up. 

As the 4th largest airport in North Carolina, ILM has set ambitious goals for its future sustainability efforts, including producing 20 percent of its own energy through either solar panels or geothermal power.

“Everybody is trying to save money, so as long as you can participate in a program, but you’re able to recoup small investments and save money down the road, I think that’s one way businesses will latch onto sustainability.”

She later adds, “When you can show that you’re saving money, why wouldn’t you?”

Piedmont Natural Gas, whose service area includes a majority of counties in North Carolina, is also joining in on the partnership to help support Wilmington businesses through the program.

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