Innovating to Zero

Cleaner Buildings

Chinook helicopter assembly factory in Philadelphia

Over the past five years, Boeing saved enough energy to power 44,000 U.S. homes for a year and reduced enough greenhouse gas emissions to equal removing 87,000 cars from the road for a year.

We also diverted enough solid waste from landfills to fill 13,000 dump trucks. The reductions are the results of aggressive efforts across the company to meet ambitious five-year goals set in 2007 to reduce the environmental footprint of Boeing operations. The targets were set during a time of unprecedented growth, when production increased by 50 percent. (Specific targets and outcomes are outlined in the Results section.)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized our progress by naming Boeing an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year for 2013 -- the third consecutive year we earned the recognition. By receiving the honor three years in a row, Boeing moves into the award’s Sustained Excellence category.

During the next five years -- while aircraft production continues to increase -- Boeing is committed to zero absolute growth in green­house gas emissions, solid waste to landfill and water intake, and zero intensity growth in hazardous-waste generation.

The improvements in Boeing’s environmental performance are due in large measure to innovative projects -- often led by employee teams -- at facilities across the enterprise.


The renovation of the Chinook helicopter assembly factory -- housed in a building originally constructed in 1929 -- generated substantial environmental improvements and related cost savings to our Philadelphia site. New windows and skylights throughout the factory let in natural light, reducing energy use.

The site replaced two 1920s-era boilers and one 1970s-era boiler that ran on fuel oil with new, natural gas-fired boilers, which are over 30 percent more energy efficient. The switch will cut the site’s carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 4,200 metric tons annually, a 14 percent reduction. That’s equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by a 1 square mile (260 hectares) of pine forest containing more than 100,000 mature trees.

The new boilers also save the site $1 million a year in lower energy bills. The improvements won the site the 2013 Pennsylvania Environmental Council Governor’s award for environmental excellence.

Long Beach, Calif.

An aggressive conservation strategy is reducing waste and earning special recognition for facilities across Boeing’s Long Beach, Calif., site.  

Over the past five years, the Long Beach Douglas Center has cut its electricity use by more than 48 percent, natural gas by 72 percent, and water intake by 25 percent. In 2012, the Douglas Center again earned the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry award, making Boeing the first company to win the honor three times for a single facility. The award is given each time a facility reduces energy intensity by 10 percent over a five-year period.  

The Long Beach C-17 Globemaster III final assembly facility also achieved the EPA’s Energy Star Challenge for Industry award -- one of the first heavy manufacturing sites in Boeing to earn the recognition.

The City of Long Beach recognized the C-17 program with a sustainability award for efforts to reduce energy and water use as well as to increase recycling rates.

Thanks to efforts at each facility, Long Beach joins Boeing sites in Charleston, S.C., Huntsville, Ala., Philadelphia and Salt Lake City in sending no solid waste to landfills. Boeing defines “zero waste to landfill” to include, at a minimum, all solid waste generated by operations. It does not include hazardous waste, which is handled in accordance with applicable regulations.

Everett, Wash.

Direct employee involvement in conservation and waste-reduction efforts played a big role in helping our largest manufacturing facility in Everett, Wash., make big gains in reducing its environmental footprint over the past five years. The site:

  1. Eliminated 97.2 million pounds or 4,860 truckloads of solid waste from going to landfills.
  2. Increased recycling rate by 17 percent from 42 percent to 59 percent for paper, metal, cardboard, wood, Styrofoam and other materials.
  3. Implemented energy conservation projects that saved nearly 33 million kilowatt-hours of energy, enough to power 2,540 homes for one year.

Site employees also eliminated 500 million commuter miles through alternative commuting programs, which reduced vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by 410 million pounds.

St. Louis

By finding creative ways to substantially increase the amount of water it reuses on-site instead of discharging into local storm sewers, the St. Louis site cut its water use by 20 percent since 2007. The main water saving strategy has been to switch from “single-pass” to “closed-loop” cooling systems, which continually reuse and recirculate water through the site’s cooling towers.

Charleston PV panels

One of the largest thin-film solar installations in the United States, as measured by production capacity, can be found on the roof of Boeing’s newest final assembly building at the North Charleston, S.C., facility. (Boeing photo)


Energy Use

Boeing relies on carbon-free hydroelectric and renewable energy sources for nearly half of our total electricity consumption. Hydropower provides more than 80 percent of electricity to our facilities in the Seattle area.

One of the largest thin-film solar installations in the United States, as measured by production capacity, can be found on the roof of Boeing’s newest final assembly building at the North Charleston, S.C., facility. The system covers 10 acres (4 hectares) and generates 2.6 megawatts at peak production from 18,000 solar panels, or enough electricity to power approximately 250 residential homes.


Boeing designs all new construction and major renovation projects to meet a LEED Silver rating or higher. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, provides a rating system based on multiple factors including the energy and water efficiency of a building, improved indoor environmental quality, and the use of sustainable sources during construction.

Boeing has LEED-certified buildings completed or in-work in California, Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Washington, D.C., in addition to our joint venture composite manufacturing building in Tianjin, China.

ISO 14001

Certification to the internationally recognized ISO 14001 environmental management standard has strengthened our companywide focus on continuous improvement and enabled a common way of managing environmental processes across the company.

All major manufacturing facilities are certified to ISO 14001 standards, including the following locations:

U.S. Locations:
Alabama: Huntsville
Arizona: Mesa
California: El Segundo, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Palmdale, Seal Beach, Sylmar, San Diego, Taft and Torrance
Georgia: Macon
Illinois: St. Clair
Kansas: Wichita
Missouri: St. Charles and St. Louis
Oregon: Portland
Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
South Carolina: Charleston
Texas: El Paso, Houston and San Antonio
Utah: Salt Lake City
Washington: Auburn, Bellevue, Everett, Frederickson, Kent, Renton, Seattle and Tukwila

International Locations:
Australia: Amberley, Bankstown, Fishermans Bend, Oakey and Williamtown
Canada: Winnipeg
China: Tianjin
Malaysia: Asian Composite Manufacturing, in Bukit Kayu Hitam
United Kingdom: Bristol, Knaresborough and Welwyn Garden City