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ENVIRONMENT Last modified on December 10, 2013

Going green

Airport World rounds up the latest environmental news from across the globe.

ACI-NA enviro awards honours four gateways

ACI-NA has announced the winners of its 2013 Environmental Achievement Awards – San Francisco International Airport, Vancouver Airport Authority, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and Victoria Airport Authority.

The awards recognise outstanding achievement in the categories of Environmental Management; Mitigation; Outreach, Education and Community Involvement; and Innovative/Special Projects.

The winning airports must demonstrate the environmental benefit of their project and its innovative approach, effective implementation, applicability and cost-effectiveness.

“We were extremely impressed with the quality of all the airports’ submissions this year, and the strong competition once again highlighted airports’ commitment to reducing our industry’s environmental footprint,” stated Deborah McElroy, ACI-NA’s interim president.

San Francisco International Airport’s Climate Action Plan secured it the Environmental Management Award.

The airport developed a Climate Action Plan in 2008 and has updated it every year since. This year’s updates reflect on the success of SFO’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to airport operations. It lowered its GHG emissions from airport-controlled operations in 2012 to 34% below 1990 emissions level of 50,000 tonnes.

This was achieved by supplying conditioned air and electric power to all parked aircraft and incentives for low-emissions car rentals, recycling more than 77% of solid waste, and constructing the AirTrain system to eliminate the need for rental car shuttle buses.

Vancouver Airport Authority’s Green Commuter program earned the Outreach, Education and Community Involvement Award.

Vancouver Airport Authority’s studies show that the airport growth rate within 20 years will put a heavy burden on current infrastructure through increased vehicle trips. To mitigate this, the airport launched a programme in 2005, the Green Commuter Program to encourage employees to use forms of transportation other than single-occupancy vehicles.

The programme includes planning, infrastructure, education and promotion of biking to work though ‘Bike to Work Week’. In 2009, the Canada Line rapid transit line was opened, and by 2012, approximately 16% of the authority’s 21,000 employees used this line to reach the airport.

The airport also offers electric charging stations with no fee in premium locations. Bicycle lanes and connecting paths have been added to the transportation network, and the terminal building has bicycle racks and secure storage areas for employees. By 2012, 24 kilometres of bicycle infrastructure connected the airport to surrounding areas, with an additional one kilometre to be added in 2013.

The airport provides a comprehensive incentive programme to all employees who commute by means other than single-occupancy vehicles. Other incentives are offered, such as National Commuter Challenge and Bike to Work Week to raise awareness of the Green Commuter Program.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport’s Force-Main Deicing Discharge System won it the Special/Innovative Projects Award.

Completed in 2012, the Force-Main project provides crucial supplemental sanitary capacity to the airport’s spent aircraft de-icing fluid runoff (SADR) management system.

Since 1984, Detroit Metro has faced a significant challenge of managing glycol-contaminated stormwater with ageing infrastructure while ensuring safe flight operations.

Remote de-icing pads and an extensive spent aircraft de-icing fluid recycling system was not enough due to insufficient sanitary sewage treatment capacity, which led to regulatory compliance issues.

The Force Main project presented many engineering challenges, yet the result proved to be a very successful project within a comprehensive stormwater management programme.

The project was completed over the course of seven years and was first used for the 2012-2013 de-icing season and provided an additional one million gallons per day outlet capacity, which improved the airport’s ability to handle small volumes of spent fluid with higher concentration.

And finally, Victoria Airport Authority’s Reay Creek Restoration project won it the Mitigation Award.

Although the airport is not the cause of the pollution in Reay Creek – an important spawning habitat for coho and chum salmon in British Columbia – it implemented a comprehensive stormwater management programme and developed a long-term restoration plan to reduce concentrations of pollutants in the water.

Since construction of a 200 meter-long diversion channel to divert stormwater around the original creek channel, water samples indicate contaminant loads have been reduced and that no heavy metal pollutants are present.

This example of a comprehensive integrated stream rehabilitation plan has been successful thus far and is expected to improve over time as the wetland matures, says ACI-NA.

Hong Kong aims to become world’s greenest airport

Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) has outlined its sustainability performance in a report entitled: Sustaining Our Capacity – Our Blueprint for Shared Growth.

The report outlines how AAHK’s core sustainability values and recent initiatives have influenced the management of Hong Kong International Airport.

It provides a review of the authority’s performance and initiatives in three key areas: safety and security; economy; and quality of life. It covers the period from April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013 – the same period as AAHK’s 2012/13 financial report.

Future steps are outlined in the document, including the intention to improve safety of airport operations by reducing injuries to passengers and airport staff, and installing additional screening facilities.

While work on the Midfield and Western aprons will continue, the authority plans to complete its Environmental Impact Assessment for the airport’s potential three-runway system within the next year.

The report also states AAHK’s target to work towards “becoming the world’s greenest airport” by initiating a benchmarking study.

Dr Marvin Cheung Kin-tung, chairman of AAHK, said: “AAHK has long incorporated sustainability considerations into its everyday operations and in planning for future development.

“This report will enable us to explain to our staff, business partners and other stakeholders our long-standing environmental and social commitments, as well as our progress this year on a range of initiatives. It is also the first step in developing a more structured sustainability strategy for AAHK.”

The report was prepared with reference to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines and the Environmental, Social and Governance Reporting Guide issued by The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited.


Sound of silence

British Airways (BA) has taken charge of two ground run enclosures (GREs) at London Heathrow that will allow it to test its A380 engines without causing noise disturbance for nearby communities.

The GREs are designed for post-maintenance engine testing, including take-off power for aircraft including the double-decker A380, the world’s largest passenger plane.

Duncan Hislop, BA property development manager at Heathrow, said the carrier is committed to “reducing the impact of noise levels on neighbouring communities as far as possible”.

Through consultation with local authorities, the GREs have been sited to protect neighbouring communities from noise during testing.

IAC Acoustics, which built the GREs for BA, said its modular design also offers an improved aerodynamic performance to meet the demands of the ultra-high bypass turbofan.

The next-generation GREs cut the effect of engine noise, vortices and re-ingestion, which could make engines stall, added the firm.

A combination of Jetshield rear walls with Aerowall side walls and IAC Powerflow silencers will enable the GREs to be used more often in previously impossible conditions, said IAC Acoustics.

Green machine

ACI Europe has rewarded the environmental efforts of Aéroports de Paris (ADP) by renewing the Airport Carbon Accreditation status of its Paris gateways.

It has ratified the Level 3 Airport Carbon Accreditation of CDG and Orly and the level 2 certification of Paris-Le Bourget.

“These certificates are testament to our ongoing efforts to reduce the emissions related to our own power consumption and also the fruition of the work we have been doing with our partners,” enthuses Didier Hamon, ADP’s group secretary general, with responsibility for the environment.

“We are fully in line with our commitments to reduce our CO2 emissions by 25% between 2009 and 2015.”

According to Hamon, the award ensures that CDG and Orly airports – part of this certification programme since 2010 – are now at the front of the pack of European airports in the battle against climate change.

Several large scale projects, particularly involving renewable energy sources, have recently contributed to ADP’s fight to reduce emissions:

The commissioning in the fourth quarter of 2012 of a biomass plant that will ultimately generate 25% of the heating requirements at Paris-CDG

The arrival of the first electric vehicles in October 2012 [ADP plans to acquire 200 electric vehicles between now and 2015]

The commissioning in 2013 of a photovoltaic plant or solar farm at Paris CDG.

The latter development resulted in the installation of more than 4,000sqm of ground based solar panels capable of generating 157MWh of electricity per year that will be fed directly into ADP’s network.

This facility alone will mean savings of seven tonnes of CO2 per year.

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