Millennium Post

Sustainable route to expansion

Airport Sector is likely to witness lot of activity in smaller towns and cities to bring them on the connectivity map of the country. The environmental concerns will also be equally important and Airports Authority of India is adequately geared for the same.

The Airport terminals of the 21st century will have to work in tandem with eco-friendly building system thereby operating largely to harness natural and renewable sources such as wind and sunlight.  Thus, there is need to focus vision to strive for innovation and out of box solutions for Airports of the future.
Environmental and Sustainability are the future challenges for all mega projects and airports are no exception to this. Focus will have to be to tap the alternate energy resources.   Thus, the future of Aviation industry lies in sustainability and eco-friendly solutions.

In the recent past, within AAI a number of initiatives towards sustainable development have been taken up.  These include adherence to Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) norms, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) certified rating 4 Star and above for electrical appliances, automatic shutting of lights for sensors and timers, implementation of Building Management System (BMS), use of energy efficient chillers and variable speed drives, energy efficient fluorescent lamps, automatic sliding doors, air curtains, machine room less elevators, LED Lights both for taxi way and apron edge lights.

AAI has also ensured that the new terminal buildings are designed to be thermally efficient with the use of modern glass facades to reflect heat and reduce cooling loads, optimization of roof sky lights by using natural light during day time and use of automatic light censor to reduce indoor lighting.  Water conservation and water management is also a major focus area at AAI Airports which include effective management of ground water resources, rain water harvesting etc.   As regard, waste management AAI has set up a small paper recycling unit of its own since May, 2009 and the project is a success story and has won National and International recognitions in the form of Golden Peacock Award.  Under the carbon reduction programme, AAI monitors consumption of diesel fuel and minimizes the uses wherever possible and is replacing the same with more environment friendly fuel such as R134a which does not deplete Ozone layer.  AAI has also initiated process to get registered with Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) of Airports Council International regarding reduction of Carbon foot prints at some of its airports as a pilot projects.

As regards, renewable energy initiatives are concerned the same have also been implemented in AAI, these include provision of Solar Photo  Voltaic (SPV) power plant for Airports, use of Solar Power Street Lights and Solar Power Aviation Obstruction Lights at remote sites, use of Solar Water Heating, Exploring wind power generation at costal airports.  The latest in this area is the signing of MoU between AAI and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) on    28th May, 2014.  The MoU includes setting up of Solar plants of 50MW capacity (Cumulative capacity at 30 of its airports).  The cumulative capacity will be further enhanced to 150 MW over a period of time. 

Ashok Lavasa, Secretary, Civil Aviation, under whose aegis the MoU was signed, on this occasion highlighted the importance of tapping the solar energy through various outlets including storage of power generated in rechargeable batteries.  He also emphasized to use full potential including roof top surfaces as large areas are available at airport.  He stated that utilization of stored energy in an efficient and effective manner is very important and as such AAI shall identify the outlets where the tapped energy can be channelized including other applications of renewable energy for various establishments at airports.  Secretary, Civil Aviation directed that projects shall be accomplished in a time bound manner and the airport-wise specific time lines shall be worked out & followed up for effective implementation. 

(The author is secretary Civil Aviation)
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