Munich Airport's first sustainability report outlines plans to achieve carbon-neutral growth by 2020
Munich Airport (photo: Alex Tino Friedel, FMG)
Tue 9 Feb 2010 – FMG, the Munich Airport operating company, has published its first-ever sustainability report, which lays out its goals and measures to reach a carbon-neutral status by 2020. Entitled ‘Perspectives’, the 110-page report documents FMG’s concept for a sustainable business policy based on balancing ecological, economic and social objectives. In order to achieve both carbon-neutral growth and handle the expected increase in traffic, the airport will have to reduce carbon emissions by over a third, and FMG has developed numerous energy-saving measures to meet the challenge. Meanwhile, Frankfurt Airport has just started construction of its first carbon neutral building, a new fire station.
FMG says its goal is to see no increase in the 160,000 tonnes of CO2 emitted by its own operations in 2005, despite the anticipated traffic growth. Without a determined programme of preventive measures, it says, CO2 emissions would increase by somewhere between 50,000 and 70,000 tonnes by 2020.
One key area pinpointed is in sustainable construction. Through expanded use of renewable energy, all new buildings are expected to show a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions compared with existing structures. The largest of such projects, now in its planning stage, is a new Terminal 2 satellite, and FMG is following standards set by the German Sustainable Construction Association, which it joined last year. In addition, FMG plans to optimize the existing airport buildings in line with the latest developments in insulation and energy efficiency.
Energy-saving efforts are also being made with the lighting of the airport’s ramp areas, with around a quarter of the 3,000 floodlights that ensure proper visibility on the aprons and park positions during the hours of darkness being switched on only as needed. They are now activated automatically by a flight timetable computer. This produces annual savings of nearly one million kilowatt hours of electrical power and around 570 tonnes of CO2.
FMG is also helping its airline partners boost their own energy efficiency by supplying pre-conditioned air to aircraft at park positions adjacent to the airport terminals, saving the use of aircraft APUs. FMG now intends to equip the passenger jetways with compact air conditioning units linked to the airport’s supply network, allowing aircraft to use these units to draw warm or cold air, depending on the season. After all the positions adjacent to the terminals have been retrofitted, up to 14,000 tonnes of CO2 are expected to be saved every year.
FMG’s sustainability report has been based on the mandatory guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative, which are intended to make worldwide corporate reporting more transparent and comparable. Depending on the scope and intensity of reporting, GRI ranks the reports submitted to it from A to C on the basis of a wide-ranging catalogue of criteria.
“We are rather proud that we managed to achieve the top rating, an A, with our very first sustainability report,” commented FMG CEO Dr Michael Kerkloh. “What makes this even more remarkable is that no other European airport’s sustainability report has received the best possible rating.”
Meanwhile, Frankfurt Airport’s operator Fraport broke ground last week on a new fire station to be situated near the future Northwest Runway. The 4,000 sq.m, two-storey fire station is due for completion in early 2011 and is slated as the airport’s first carbon-neutral building.
“The new building not only meets our stringent safety concept, but also is Fraport’s first building to achieve zero net operating carbon emissions,” explained Fraport’s Executive Board Chairman, Dr Stefan Schulte.
As a passive house, it will require 90% less energy for heating and cooling than a conventional fire station, with demand provided by geothermal heat pumps. The electricity required for the pumps will come from renewable energy sources and a 20 sq.m solar thermal system will ensure hot water generation.
Capital spending for the project is expected to amount to €13 million ($18m). “Due to savings in investment costs for heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems and because there will be no need for costly connections to district heating and gas supply, we will be able to keep building costs at a low level and reduce operating and maintenance costs by half,” said Peter Schmitz, Fraport Executive Board Member responsible for real estate and facility management.
The new structure is necessary because an additional fire station is required near the new runway under ICAO safety standards.
The controversial new Runway Northwest, the airport’s fourth, and due to open at the end of 2011, was approved last year despite environmental objections, mainly over the issue of night-time flights. Fraport successfully argued that the airport’s expansion would create jobs, was good for the region’s economy and would ensure the airport remained competitive against other major European hubs – claims familiar to those following the London Heathrow third runway debate.
Rendering of new carbon-neutral fire station at Frankfurt Airport