nzero 2024
Net zero has a new standard
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Success story

Reaching New Heights in Climate Action

Nzero staff
By NZero Staff

It’s Monday morning, and between the sounds of airplanes arriving and departing, things are noticeably quieter at Atlantic Aviation’s facility in Aspen, Colorado. Electric airplane tugs and fuel trucks whir away on the Atlantic ramp, virtually silent. Diesel generators have been swapped out with quieter, emission-free, battery-powered ground power units (GPUs). It’s all part of a new standard for sustainability that Atlantic Aviation is ushering in with accurate, real-time emissions data. 

Atlantic Aviation is a leading provider of facilities and services for general, commercial, cargo, military and emergency services aviation customers in North America. The company runs more than 100 fixed-base operations (FBOs) that work in close partnership with local airports large and small to provide aircraft fueling, hangar, private terminal, and ground operations services for their clients. Each FBO is a complex operation. Imagine bustling arrays of pilots, service technicians, caterers, customer service professionals, and specialized fleets of aircraft tugs and refuelers. 

Brian Corbett, Atlantic Aviation’s Chief Commercial & Sustainability Officer, is keenly aware of the aviation sector’s responsibility to combat climate change. Since 2022, Corbett’s team has committed Atlantic Aviation to building a robust sustainability strategy focused on commercially viable solutions aimed at reducing operating emissions and enabling its customers to meet their sustainability goals. They’ve made Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) available across the network, through Atlantic Aviation’s SAF Marketplace. They expect to sell 150 times more SAF in 2023 compared to 2022.

And to track their decarbonization progress, Atlantic Aviation uses NZero to aggregate their emissions data at over 100 FBO locations across the country.

The need for scale

Prior to partnering with NZero, Corbett’s team managed to compile Atlantic Aviation’s 2022 carbon emissions using legacy bill payment tools and spreadsheets. It was a big challenge. It also wasn’t working: when the team tried to validate their data, it was impossible to tell where any inaccuracies might be hiding.

“Our biggest challenge was developing a reliable full-year emissions baseline across all 100+ locations, and confidently tracking tangible progress over time,” said Corbett.

To truly gain a perspective on addressing their emissions, they needed to figure out how to get accurate emissions data – at scale – and do it in less than 3 months.

“The sheer scale was probably the most daunting part,” said Eric Newman, Atlantic Aviation’s VP of Commercial Strategy & Sustainability. “When you lay out the math of how many sites we operate, and the number of utilities and meters we have for each site, it’s a lot of work. We didn’t have someone to manually gather all that data.”

Atlantic Aviation needed a data solution that allowed them to integrate their emissions data streams in a “one-and-done” kind of way. They also needed data to be accessible to every team member across their FBO sites to support teams in enacting commercially viable emissions reduction solutions.

Image of FBO, atlantic aviation

Early sustainability success in Aspen

Atlantic Aviation began using NZero in 2021, at a single FBO in Aspen, Colorado. The company had long viewed its Aspen location as a test bed for sustainability solutions, and was the first location to offer SAF to clients. With ambitious emissions reduction goals, Atlantic continued to push for sustainable enhancements, starting with a foundational understanding of its emissions footprint for the site. 

Atlantic Aviation leveraged NZero’s data and professional services to help them build a net-zero roadmap for their site. Atlantic Aviation worked hand-in-hand with NZero and other partners to create a plan that incorporated LEED Zero certification, onsite solar, geothermal heating, fleet electrification, green snowmelt technologies, and a goal of achieving the Living Building Challenge certification. 

"Sustainability is of utmost importance to the Aspen community and it was critical that we defined a viable path towards impactful emissions reduction. NZero modeled our emissions and helped us build a roadmap of interventions to reach net zero by 2030 for our Scope 1 + 2 GHGs."

Eric Newman headshot

Eric Newman

VP Commercial Strategy & Sustainability, Atlantic Aviation

"The work to define a net zero plan was such a collaborative team effort. That was key to its success. It was a real pleasure working with Eric, Evan, Atlantic Aviation's construction team and other partners like Tectonic Management Group and Group 14 Engineering, to develop a sustainability roadmap backed by real and accurate data."

Headshot of valerie mitan

Valérie Mitan

VP Environmental Science & Sustainability, NZero

After its collaboration in Aspen, a lightbulb went off for Corbett’s team: NZero was a trusted solution, not just for measuring emissions, but also as a source of expertise in developing an actionable climate plan. Evan Campell, Commercial Strategy & Sustainability Associate at Atlantic Aviation, noted, “The lessons gleaned from our collaboration with NZero in Aspen provided a playbook to be used elsewhere across our network.”

“Based on our experience in Aspen, we trusted that the full NZero rollout would be productive and make our lives easier,” Campbell said.

"Having reliable emissions data coupled with NZero’s practical recommendations at our highest emitting locations, enables us to enact impactful solutions that drive improvements month over month. We can make behavioral changes with our teams and customers, and direct ROI-driven investments with confidence."

Brian Corbett headshot

Brian Corbett

Chief Commercial & Sustainability Officer, Atlantic Aviation

“We saw our meter-by-meter and building-by-building emissions and got actionable insights from our data. It wasn’t just data for the sake of data, but for the sake of doing something,” said Newman.

NZero’s science-powered tools made this complex data analysis easy. To understand how a site can best reduce emissions, NZero analyzes each building’s energy use and simulates how it would change in the presence of various interventions like retrofits and renewables. Customers receive site-level recommendations that factor in each building’s size, location, and potential cost and carbon savings.

“The ability to look at emissions data at a facility-level was exciting,” said Campbell. “Having granular data that we have confidence in allows us to make actionable decisions to reduce energy consumption and resulting emissions.”

Newman and Campbell are already acting on those learnings. The company is planning to complete a full rollout of LED lighting across their FBO sites, along with targeted installations of onsite renewables – informed by what the emissions data tells them. 

But Newman knows his team can’t do it alone. That’s why he plans to put NZero in the hands of their FBO site managers. His goal is to democratize the data and empower field teams to make impactful emissions reduction decisions. That’s a key strategy for how Atlantic Aviation will drive down emissions, reduce costs, and prove the results of their work.

Red and blue

Go from compliance to leadership.

Building data for scale

Atlantic Aviation proceeded with onboarding all 100+ of their FBOs onto NZero. Setting up an ongoing automated process was important, as they needed all human hands on deck for deploying the subsequent energy and emissions interventions. 

Onboarding in cohorts, NZero onboarded 18 months of historical energy & emissions data for Atlantic Aviation’s FBOs. Within just one month, NZero delivered site-level energy performance assessments for several of Atlantic Aviation’s top-emitting locations, with recommendations for low- and no-cost interventions that their team could act on.

Atlantic avaition, airplane taking off

Flying high with sustainability

According to Newman, Atlantic Aviation’s top sustainability achievement so far was getting their emissions data automated and aggregated in one place. He observed that data shouldn’t be overlooked as a challenge. “People tend to think that emissions tracking is fairly straightforward and easy to do on your own. It’s not. Especially if you don’t have an automated solution,” said Newman.

“Having the data, making decisions on it, and seeing the impact of those decisions enables us to do everything. Without the data, we can do nothing. It is the foundation to do more,” he added.

According to Corbett, another key to Atlantic Aviation’s early success was getting wins on the board with tangible, locally meaningful sustainability impacts in Aspen. “Aspen proved how emissions data can support impactful commercial initiatives, build momentum, and cultivate the kinds of sustainability champions Atlantic Aviation needs to make future progress possible.”

Finally, Corbett offered some advice to others that are defining their sustainability strategies: “Don’t make outlandish claims or unrealistic commitments. Consumers and markets are well informed on material sustainability topics and view unachievable goals as greenwashing.” Instead, Corbett recommends approaching sustainability with the right partners, and focusing on measurable improvements that are good for both business and the environment. “That will create a more achievable path to real, meaningful emissions reductions.” 

For sustainability leaders, by sustainability leaders.