With recent studies putting aviation emissions at 500million tonnes, the aviation sector is certainly not left out of the global green energy agenda as the numbers are expected to triple by 2050.
As aviation operations are highly regulated, my focus today will be on the airport terminals.
For most airports in the EU, energy performance is governed by Directive 2010/31/EU (energy performance of buildings). A review of the directive shows that its principal objectives are the convergence of building standards as well as improvement of building energy performance within the EU through cost-effective measures.
Against this backdrop, many airports within and outside the EU have successfully identified their significant energy usage, and have made plans to reduce/offset via solar energy systems.
Snapshot of key hubs:
A recent announcement stated that solar systems made up of 15000 PV panels have been installed at the Dubai Airports to produce 7,483,500 kilowatt hours of energy per year, helping to cut carbon dioxide emissions by almost 3,500 metric tonnes.
Etihad Energy Services Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, was involved in the project’s installation.
“A number of initiatives had been undertaken to limit our carbon footprint. These include the use of energy efficient fittings, the optimization of cooling systems, the installation of energy efficient LED bulbs and many others,”
Michael Ibbitson, EVP (Infrastructure and Business Technology), Dubai Airports
Hawaii’s Department of Transportation recently announced that 2,980 photovoltaic panels had been installed on the fifth floor of the Terminal 2 garage at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu.
Solar business Solar century said it had signed a contract with the International Civil Aviation Organization to install a ground-mounted, 500-kilowatt solar system at Moi International Airport, in Mombasa, Kenya.
Simple measures to improve energy efficiency in airports
1. Insulation – medium cost measure aimed at reducing heat loss.
2. Maintenance – effective and planned preventative maintenance help energy systems operate efficiently.
3. Choice of equipment – right-sizing and demand-based design are critical to equipment selection as this has a major impact on energy consumption.
4. Controls (BEMS) – Building energy management systems can significantly reduce the energy used to provide heating or cooling.
5. Choice of fuel – LPG and electric are seen as cleaner sources of power to offset huge tons of carbon from petrol and diesel engines.
6. Training and supervision – any energy management initiative is likely to fail if staff who use the building or equipment are not provided with the right information, instruction, training and supervision.
7. Building design – considering energy efficiency at the design stage is key in making buildings more efficient. Natural ventilation as a passive energy initiative can lead to considerable energy savings.
More and more airports are signing onto the global green aviation agenda while also implementing ISO 50001 Energy Management System. This results in reduction in CO2 emissions, savings in energy bills, improved indoor air quality as well as thermal comfort.
Individuals should also desire to minimise emissions and environmental impact as much as they desire (or need) to travel. Clearly, if we do not use as much energy, then less needs to be generated and therefore the environmental impact is reduced.