Pilot testing of the system is currently taking place at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, and Milan’s Malpensa Airport.
The new system, called Cascade, is said, will save these Italian airports at least 6000 megawatts per hour, which equates to 42,000 tonnes of CO2 and €840,000 a year.
Partners in Germany, Italy, Ireland and Serbia are jointly working on the new system, supported by €2.6 million of EU funding.
ACI Europe, which represents more than 450 airports in Europe, has committed its support to the project, and it is expected the system will see wider use in European gateways from 2015.
Nicolas Réhault, co-ordinator of the Cascade project at the Fraunhofer Institute in Freiburg, Germany, explains: “Sensors and meters are placed on the infrastructure and communicate information to a central database.
“It can then suggest corrective actions to the energy management and maintenance teams, like resetting controls or replacing faulty detectors. With the knowledge we gain, we want to replicate the solution at other airports."
Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, responsible for the digital agenda, adds he believes 100% that European airports need to become "smarter and greener", and says: "The Cascade system shows us that being sustainable doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and that actually it can save us money.”