ACI Asia-Pacific recognises airport water management best practice in its annual green airports programme
Taoyuan International was awarded Platinum in this year's ACI Asia-Pacific Green Airports Recognition
Wed 17 June 2020 – Airports in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East have been recognised for their innovative approaches to water management in the annual Green Airports Recognition (GAR) programme run by airport industry body ACI Asia-Pacific. The objective of GAR is to promote best practices to minimise aviation’s impact on the environment and this year’s theme showcases projects fostering water conservation and prevention of water pollution. A survey by ACI Asia-Pacific last year showed water management continues to be one of the top three environmental priorities for airports. Submissions this year included projects covering wastewater treatment, water harvesting, water recycling and water reduction. Airports receiving the highest Platinum recognition were Chinese Taipei’s Taoyuan International and Kaohsiung International and India’s Rajiv Gandhi International. Meanwhile, Istanbul Airport’s terminal building has become the world’s largest LEED Gold certified building in the world.
Data from the World Resources Institute in 2019 warned that almost a quarter of the world’s population, many living in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, will be facing serious shortages in fresh water supply. The substantial growth of aviation in the region has led to a significant increase in water usage by airports. Airports also generate large volumes of wastewater that may include contaminants.
Directions on how airports should protect scarce water resources are provided in the ACI Policy Handbook. Measures such as reducing the flow setting of taps, water meters and leak detection systems have been implemented by many airports in the region, says the trade body.
This year’s GAR submissions included projects covering wastewater treatment, water harvesting, water recycling and water reduction.
Taoyuan’s Platinum award in the larger airport category was in respect of an initiative to deploy intelligent management of the airport’s water supply and drainage and sewage facilities. The airport has established a task force to plan and promote a ‘smart water resources management Internet of Things installation project’.
The Platinum award in the mid-size airport went to Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International for practices implemented under its Reduction, Recycling, Reuse and Replenishment (4R) water policy. It has resulted in a 31% improvement in water use efficiency in 2018-19 over 2015-16, with around half of total airport water demand met from internal resources such as treated wastewater and surface water.
In the smaller airport category, Kaohsiung was awarded Platinum for an efficiency project launched in 2015 that has resulted in average water consumption being reduced from 72 litres per passenger to 58 litres.
Summaries of all the submissions from entries in this year’s GAR have been included in one publication by ACI Asia-Pacific to help promote and share best water management practice with all airports in the region.
“Asia-Pacific’s new strategic direction is to work with our 114 airport members towards a new societal value for the communities they serve. This includes promoting a culture of environmental consciousness,” said Stefano Baronci, Director General of ACI Asia-Pacific. “We thank all participating airports for their ongoing commitment and contribution to environmental protection. The Green Airports Recognition programme fits perfectly into this context by encouraging airport operators across the region and globally to share environmental best practices.”
Meanwhile, the US Green Building Council has registered Istanbul Airport’s terminal building as the largest LEED Gold certified building worldwide. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification process evaluates buildings in a number of categories such as sustainable land, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation in design, and regional priority credits. Projects pursuing certification earn points to reach one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.
The airport says it is making significant savings in terms of water and energy efficiency. In the construction phase of the terminal most of the waste generated was sent for recycling and reuse, reducing waste sent to landfill by 93% as part of its ‘zero waste’ mission.
“We consider compliance with sustainability principles as the most important component of our corporate culture. Based on this mindset, we have set the ‘zero waste’ approach as a key success factor and have put sustainability to the core of all activities that are being carried out at Istanbul Airport,” said Kadri Samsunlu, Director General at İGA Airport Operation, the operator of Istanbul Airport.