As GMR Hyderabad International Airport moves towards a carbon neutral status, its journey could be a lesson for many more airports waiting in the wings to turn green.
It started with a silver rating in ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ (LEED) certification in 2008 for itspassenger terminal building that hosts more than a million passengers every month. This was earned by ensuring energy and water efficiency, natural lighting and naturally cooled ambient air and special features to reduce fresh water usage and recycle thewaste water generated.
Next, the airport replaced the halogen lightings with LEDs at the terminal building, apron lighting, street lights and offices. It ensured that its fuel efficient vehicle operating practices limit the fuel consumption in transportation, with drivers and operators trained to practice the same.
During the operational phase, the management of GHIAL defined and documented an environmental policy committed to continually improve the energy efficiency of the airport.
SGK Kishore, CEO, GHIAL says, “We are continuing the best environment practices and amplifying them for better results. There is a plan to expand the existing 5MW solar power plant with an additional 8 MW for airport’s captive energy requirement. We are also exploring and working towards sustainable alternative fuels and the introduction of hybrid vehicles to further reduce the carbon footprint.”
The 5MW solar power plant generates around 25000 kWh /day which meets about 15 per cent of the airport’s electricity demand. With this, there is a saving of over 7100 metric tons of GHG emissions annually.
In 2012, the airport was accredited by Airports Council International under the Airport Carbon Accreditation Programme for Level 1–Mapping and Level 2-Reduction. Thereafter it widened its GHG emission inventory scope and extended it to its stakeholders – airlines, ground handling agencies, flight kitchens, cargo activities and radio cabs to account and manage their GHG emissions.
The airport has a vast landscaped green cover over 675 acres in addition to the extensive natural greenery. The green cover acts as a natural sink of the carbon emissions and absorbs about 240 tonnes of CO2 per annum from the environment. In 2016 it earned Level 3+ Neutrality status.
In spite of 100 per cent increase in the passenger traffic from 2009 to 2015, GHIAL has managed to reduce 30 per cent of carbon emissions. Not surprisingly, it has been chosen amongst one of the first airports in Asia Pacific region to have its GHG emissions verified by an external agency.
There will be no fullstops in the journey towards sustainability, says the management.