India’s Green Airports: Sustainable Design and Green Technologies

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By Juzer S Kothari, MD- Conserve Consultants

In India, the aviation industry is growing rapidly and airports are creating a positive impact on the social and economic well-being of the community they are located in. But it is also causing a negative impact on the environment and nature with critical issues such as energy, pollution (air, water, and sound) and the exploitation of natural resources. Airport mega-structures have a bigger responsibility on them. Being a giant resources guzzling system, airports can no longer afford not to go green and be sustainable. In future, all the Airports would go for the stringent ‘Sustainable Guidelines’ ensuring consumption of minimum natural resources viz. energy and water, highly efficient waste management and overall less carbon footprint. We could also say that Green Airports a.k.a. Sustainable Airports will be in seamless harmony with nature provide a better and healthy environment.

The concept of Green Airports was first inducted in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSIA) in Mumbai, in their Terminal 2 block. GVK, who are the developers of CSIA, aware of the benefits of sustainability in the airport, were keen to certify the building with the highest sustainability rating at the time. An ambitious task, indeed.

The prestigious Mumbai International Airport Terminal-2 project (MIAL T2) from the design stage, we initiated off with a feasibility study of the project to evaluate if an airport of this size and scale could comply with sustainable building norms and requirements. On completion of the study, it was observed that the project was on the borderline to meet mandatory norms as prescribed by the LEED India governing body. Even if we were able to overcome the mandatory requirement challenge, the study indicated that the project would only be able to achieve just a basic or silver rating.

Then proceeded with the analysis of simulation results, performance gaps and bottlenecks in the project, and after numerous iterations, the areas of improvements were zeroed in to meet the norms. The project team reworked upon the design and specification and after simulating the redesigned specification the mandatory ASHRAE baseline was met with a savings of Rs 60 million. Despite numerous challenges, all the stakeholders viz. GVK, SOM, Ch2MHill and L& T team were motivated to achieve a higher level of sustainability rating.

Satisfied with the sustainable project management, GVK and Ch2M Hill set a new aspiration, to attempt a Gold rating. After multiple retrofitting’s and design changes, finally, in the year 2014, LEED India Gold Certification was awarded to the

To list some of the green features and facilities:

  • The “Performance Delivered” was an energy savings of INR 310 million, which was lower than the stipulated ASHRAE baseline energy cost, which at the beginning was an insurmountable challenge.
  • Overall annual water savings was 34% above the requirement of LEED India baseline.
  • The indoor air quality and thermal comfort parameters exceed conventional airport requirements. This difference can be felt and noticed while walking through the T2 terminal.
  • The substantial reduction in the usage of natural resources has been made possible by strategic green sourcing, thereby reducing cost.
  • Some ingenious methods such as signage for empty parking space have been able to reduce the fuel consumption of vehicles as well as the time of the visitors and passengers.
  • All the sustainable features incorporated in the project have finally resulted in Mumbai International Airport T2 Passenger Terminal is one of the Greenest Airport Complexes in the World.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author is his own. AT takes no responsibility for the same.)

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