DENVER (KDVR) — Even as one of the busiest airports in the world, Denver International Airport ranked third out of the 50 top fleets in the country for sustainability, according to the National Association of Fleet Administrators 2023 Green Fleet Awards.

In the last year, almost 70 million people passed through DIA. In June alone, almost 7 million passengers went through the airport. To accommodate a large amount of traffic, DIA uses over a thousand different vehicles, from large snow removal vehicles to forklifts to smaller equipment such as concrete saws.

Out of the vehicle fleet in the DIA, 26% of the fleet is powered by alternative fuels like natural gas. Its fleet management division provides natural gas testing services to about 300 vehicles operated by tenant airlines.

“DEN’s fleet has a long history of prioritizing sustainability, dating back to the airport’s opening in 1995,” Denver International Airport CEO Phil Washington said in a press release. “Our entire team is dedicated to doing our part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while balancing operational capability.”

Denver ranked just below the city of Phoenix and Alameda County. DIA wasn’t far off from last year, as it ranked fourth in sustainability.

What makes an airport fleet sustainable?

When looking into sustainability, NAFA ranked the fleets by these primary criteria:

  • Fleet composition and alternative fuel use
  • Environmental benefits of airport’s actions
  • Long range planning
  • Inter-municipal/inter-organizational cooperation
  • Cooperative activities with trade schools, high schools, colleges, professional organizations, and the Clean Cities coalitions
  • Technology applications
  • What policies or procedures have been implemented (and enforced) to reduce fleet size, vehicle usage and fuel consumption?
  • Green driving programs
  • Green procurement initiatives
  • Facilities improvements
  • Ability to research and plan for new federal and state grant opportunities for green fleet initiatives

Since 2008, DIA has moved up from within the top 10 to the top three, but there’s still progress to be made.

“This award is a recognition and acknowledgment of specifically our maintenance team’s passion, efforts, and dedication towards our goal of becoming one of the greenest airports in the world,” said Washington.