This past year, India launched the world’s first airport which is entirely operated on solar power. Experts have estimated that the new power system will save 300,000 tons of carbon emissions over the next 25 years. This is also the equivalence of planting three million trees.
The Cochin International Airport (COK) in India is completely powered by 46,000 solar panels. It generates 50,000 to 60,000 units of electricity a day.
Additionally, you’ll see that more and more airports around the world are starting to become efficient in their electricity usage. The Indianapolis International Airport (IND) has one of the largest solar farms. Also, the Galapagos Islands Airport in Ecuador is operated entirely on solar and wind power. Not only that, but 80% of the materials used to build this green airport were recycled from previous infrastructure.
So has Canada jumped on the bandwagon of producing “greener” airports? Below is a list of the green initiatives already implemented.
Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
In the past few years, the Toronto Pearson Airport have replaced all their fuel based vehicles to electric vehicles to run within terminals.
Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
The Vancouver International Airport currently uses solar powered hot water heating systems. This has been implemented since 2003 and heat more than 800 gallons of hot water every hour. Results are yearly savings of approximately $110,000.
Additionally, the Canada Line Station which links the Vancouver International Airport to downtown are currently using energy efficient lighting by high efficiency fluorescent lamps which are designed to take advantage of daylight. The lighting system can power 130 homes for one year, which is 1.4 gigawatt hours of electricity saved annually.
Calgary International Airport (YYC)
Calgary has a 14,000 feet runway which cost the city $600 million dollars to create and complete. The runway is the only airport runway in the entire country which is completely lit with energy efficient LED lighting.
Not only that, Calgary International Airport has also replaced all the lights in their seven level parkade into energy efficient LED lighting which will provide for approximately 60% of energy savings annually.
Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport (YOW)
Crisplant has inputted two CrisBag energy-efficient baggage handling systems which is to provide energy savings of $500,000 CAD annually. The new handling machine requires low energy consumption and low maintenance.
Kingston/Norman Rogers Airport (YGK)
The terminal at the Kingston, Ontario Airport is powered by solar energy.
Thunder Bay International Airport (YQT)
The Thunder Bay Airport has a Solar Park to help power its airport.
The bottom line
There is always the concern of glare for the solar farms that may affect the air traffic controllers and pilots, so there are those who are constantly trying to improve solar operations.
No matter how little or how much, it seems like many airports across the country have been working hard to provide a more sustainable airport environment for its travellers. From solar panelled heating systems to energy efficient lighting, there is always room for innovation and improvement. Corporate social responsibility is not a simple task and requires much effort and support from the city and government. In the future, I would love to see Canada produce more airports completely operated on energy-efficient sources.