Airports addressing their CO2 emissions

Annual Report 2014 - 2015

Case studies


    Aena is the world’s leading airport group by passenger volume, welcoming more than 195 million passengers in 2014. It manages 46 airports and 2 heliports in Spain and is involved in the management of 15 other airports around the world. Last year, its airports hosted 1.8 million aircraft movements and around 685.2 tons of cargo.

    Aena first entered Airport Carbon Accreditation in 2012, with the accreditation of Lanzarote Airport (Level 1: Mapping), Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (Level 2: Reduction) and Barcelona-El Prat Airport (Level 1: Mapping). Both Palma de Mallorca and Málaga-Costa del Sol airports joined the program at Level 1 for the first time in 2013. This means that Aena’s 4 busiest airports and Lanzarote are participating in Airport Carbon Accreditation, meaning that 62.4% of the company’s passenger traffic is managed through carbon accredited airports.


    Since then, Aena has succeeded in renewing each year, through closer coordination between the engineering and maintenance units at each accredited airport, together with direct support for carbon footprint calculations, reporting and CO2 reduction targets.


    Their airports have managed to reduce energy consumption and as a result, carbon emissions. Here is how…

    • Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas has reduced its electricity consumption in the Automated Baggage Handling System (SATE) by 2,369 MWh during 2012-2014, reducing 1,833 tonnes of CO2.
    • Barcelona-El Prat reduced its natural gas consumption by 9.9%.
    • Palma de Mallorca has managed to reduce its fuel consumption from emergency generators by 14%.
    • Málaga-Costa del Sol has reduced power consumption by 12,897 MWh in the last three years following the implementation of energy efficiency measures - equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 3,699 households.
    • Lanzarote has also implemented a set of measures that have saved 826 MWh of electricity on that same period.


    On top of its work at the airports already mentioned, Aena is investing considerably in optimising energy use at its other airports. They are currently implementing include energy management to energy demand at different operational periods (eg. use of natural ventilation, reducing the operating time of information screens and check-in desks and selective use of lighting.

    Read more

    Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited (AOT) manages six international airports in Thailand. In 2014, their airports handled more than 87 million passengers and a million tonnes of freight. Currently, five AOT airports Airport Carbon Accredited. BKK is accredited at Level 2 ‘Reduction’ and is expected to soon be followed by DMK, CNX, CEI, and HDY which are currently accredited at Level 1 ‘Mapping’.


    As part of its commitment to sustainable growth at its airports, AOT set out a ‘Green Airport Master Plan’. Efficient use of resources and low carbon activities are a required part of its plan of the plan. Together with carbon reduction measures, AOT also aims to adopt emerging technologies to improve energy efficiency and to produce renewable energy on-site to meet part of its electricity needs. The company’s current ambition to have all of its airports accredited at Level 2 ‘Reduction’ by 2019.


    • AOT has used systematic data collection procedures and clear division of responsibilities for different sources of emissions, in order to map the CO2 emissions at its airports. This data is instrumental to the implementation of effective CO2 reduction measures, and engagement with stakeholders both internally and externally.
    • Identifying and reducing the unnecessary use of energy, adopting technology to improve energy efficiency, and using renewable energy are all fundamental parts of AOT’s strategy for achieving meaningful carbon reduction. After conducting energy conservation diagnoses at their airports, a set of carbon reduction measures has been identified. Several quick-win measures that have been executed, for example turning off the lights when areas are not in use.
    • When it comes to energy usage, AOT airports is replacing old air conditioning with more energy efficient air-cooled chiller as well as replacing the old light bulbs with LEDs. AOT also expects to further reduce carbon emissions through energy-efficient building design, which will be applied to all new airport construction and/or expansion plans.
    • In addition to electricity, AOT is implementing a policy on the reduction of CO2 emissions from airport vehicles. AOT now actively encourages drivers to turn off vehicle engines when not needed; to control vehicle speed to save fuel; and have a regular maintenance for fuel efficiency. On top of that, the current car fleet of AOT is due to be replaced by hybrid cars, in the near future.
    • Finally, AOT is also currently investigating the feasibility of installing photovoltaic cells to reduce airport’s carbon emissions.
    Read more
  • ICF Airports Antalya

    ICF Airports is the owner and operatör of Antalya Airport in Turkey. It currently serves 125 airlines flying to 286 direct destinations in 63 countries – a network that is continuously growing. Last year, the airport welcoming more than 28 million passengers, making it the 14th busiest airport in Europe.

    Earlier this year, Antalya Airport became fully carbon neutral – one of only 2 airports in Turkey to achieve this.


    ICF Airports first became Airport Carbon Accredited at the ‘Reduction’ level in 2011 and in the intervening years, it has worked its way all the way to up achieving carbon neutrality in the past year.


    In working towards its environmental goals, the airport has significantly reduced energy consumption by means of a high-technology Building Management System (BMS), operated by an Energy Management Team. This team is responsible for energy control and for the development of energy saving projects across the airport, working with all the various airport company departments. As a result, the airport has realised energy savings in the following ways:

    • Reduced energy consumption in IT systems through e.g.;
      • Replacement of CRT monitorsat check-in desks, gate areas and back These monitors change automatically onto stand by and offline modes if there are no flights.
      • Use of “Thin Client PCs” in all terminals for FIDS monitors
    • Replacement of all lights with LED lighting technologies at offices and general areas in the terminals. With this project, 66 % energy saving was achieved.
    • Optical sensitive relays have been generalized all of the terminals
    • The old chiller groups were replaced with new frequency converter units which saved 30% energy when compared to old one.
    • The company staff has begun to use only electric car-vehicle for transportation in/between terminals.

    Through these actions, the company has yielded an emissions reduction, equivalent to approximately 1.000.000 kWh per year. That’s enough to power over 600,000 homes for a year.


    ICF Airports has supported its airline partners in reducing their carbon emissions on the airport site. One successful project - called the ‘Bridge Programme’ - has been introduced to encourage airlines to use fixed Ground Power Units (GPU) (400 Hz) at each bridge position instead APU’s (aircraft auxiliary power units). This action, co-ordinated between the airport, the airline partners and groundhandling staff reduces the carbon emissions on the airport site. The ‘Bridge programme’ has achieved in a reduction of more than 37.002 t CO2 in the last 4 years.

    Finally, on top of these reductions, Antalya Airport has then purchased responsible carbon offsets for the remaining CO2 emissions within its control

    Read more
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

    Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport is one of the fastest-growing large hub airports in the United States of America. In 2014, about 37.5 million passengers flew through the airport, an increase of +7.7% from 2013, breaking the airport’s all-time passenger record for the fourth year in a row.


    Sea-Tac is currently developing a Sustainable Airport Master Plan (SAMP) to accommodate 66 million passengers by 2034. The SAMP integrates carbon reduction goals and climate adaptation planning, along with other environmental, economic, and social goals.

    Sea-Tac was the first airport in North America to become Airport Carbon Accredited, achieving Level 2 Reduction, from the outset.


    In working towards its environmental goals, the airport has significantly reduced energy consumption by means of a high-technology Building Management System (BMS), operated by an Energy Management Team. This team is responsible for energy control and for the development of energy saving projects across the airport, working with all the various airport company departments. As a result, the airport has realised energy savings in the following ways:

    • Sea-Tac Airport has opted to measure its carbon footprint in absolute terms. For a rapidly growing airport, this creates a significant challenge to reduce energy use while facilities expand and passenger numbers grow by 5 to 10% per year. Sea-Tac’s goal is to “meet all increased energy needs through conservation and renewable sources”.
    • To date, the airport has accomplished this by implementing a number of energy conservation strategies. Between 2010 and 2013, passenger loads increased by 10%, but over the same period, Sea-Tac reduced total terminal electricity consumption by 7%. This was done by converting constant volume air handlers to variable volume, upgrading to more efficient lighting and escalators, optimizing chiller sequencing, and main terminal airside heat recovery.
    • Sea-Tac purchases 98% carbon-free electricity (dominated by hydro power) from Bonneville Power Administration for their terminals and operations. While this provides an incredible carbon benefit, it means electricity conservation projects need to achieve huge gains in order to see an impact on the airport’s carbon footprint, which they must do, in order to be part of Airport Carbon Accreditation.

    “This is a significant step to be recognized world-wide for the environmental stewardship programs we have instituted at Sea-Tac Airport. Next year we expect to go even further in the certification as part of our Century Agenda goal to reduce aircraft-related emissions by 25 percent at Sea-Tac and 50 percent overall at the Port of Seattle.”

    Port of Seattle Commission Co-President Stephanie Bowman
    Read more
  • daa - Dublin & Cork Airports

    daa is the owner and operator of Dublin and Cork airports, the top 2 busiest airports on the island of Ireland respectively, both of which are Airport Carbon Accredited at the ‘Reduction’ level of the programme. Last year, Dublin Airport connected 21.7 million passengers to approximately 150 destinations worldwide. The airport also successfully achieved a 10.8% reduction in its carbon emissions during 2013.


    The Energy Strategy and Carbon Management Plan for Dublin Airport set a goal of a 3% reduction in energy consumption per annum. This was in part, due to the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan – an initiative of the Irish government. The plan states that, “Companies with a public interest will improve its energy efficiency by 33% by 2020 and will be seen to lead by example – showing all sectors what is possible through strong, committed action.”

    In order to advance this goal, daa partnered with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Electric Ireland (EI). The agreement with SEAI, signed in 2012, commited daa to a number of initiatives aimed at delivering key reductions and reporting publicly on its energy performance. The collaboration agreement with EI, signed in 2014, gives daa access to engineering expertise in order to evaluate energy saving opportunities, while in return EI receives energy credits once the project is implemented.


    In order to secure significant reductions in its carbon emissions, (and meet its targets), daa invested in new lighting and revised Air Handling Units (AHUs, which control ventilation and air conditioning)) at Dublin Airport’s Pier 1.

    • Lighting: The existing lighting system in Pier 1 was a mixture of inefficient fluorescent and metal halide technology. The new system involved the replacement of over 1,500 fittings with LED fittings and upgrading the associated control systems. These new fittings will reduce energy consumption by approximately 630,000 kWhe per annum. The lamp life will also increase from 15,000 hours to 50,000 hours.
    • Air Handling Units: The pier’s 12 AHUs were originally installed with carbon filters. Following some investigation it was found that these were not required and were subsequently removed and additonal adjustments were made. These changes resulted in a lower restriction to air flow, enabling the Variable Speed Drives (VSDs), which are fixed speed, to be reduced to a slower fixed speed whilst still achieving the same air change rate. In addition the time schedules (on/off times) of each HVAC unit was reviewed and optimised based on the passenger numbers within the areas served. This has resulted in a reduction of approximately 380,000 kWhe in energy consumption per annum.
    • Overall, these two projects will save over 1GWh of electrical energy per annum, enough to power 750,000 homes for a year.

    “daa’s participation in Airport Carbon Accreditation has been the launch pad for fresh thinking on environmental management and emissions reduction. It has helped to heighten our focus on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions at both Dublin and Cork Airports. Within the company, it has also increased the motivation of the team, to continue identifying opportunities for further energy efficiency.”

    Kevin Toland, Chief Executive, daa
    Read more