British airport leads the field in carbon neutral initiatives

The Manchester Airport Group (MAG) has announced the opening of the first carbon neutral building in any of the European Union’s 27 member states.

Located on England’s south coast, the new arrivals hall at Bournemouth Airport is an advanced airport structure that emits zero emissions by drawing on a range of sustainable technologies. The building boasts roof-mounted solar cells, passive lighting and ventilation, solar shading, air-source heat pumps and a computerised building management system that controls the heating, lighting and cooling to maximise resource efficiency.

Europe’s first carbon neutral airport building

Cavotec’s Airports market unit develops integrated systems for airports around the world that help drive operational efficiencies, reduce tarmac congestion and improve air quality

Managing Director Rob Goldsmith said, “This is a truly innovative building and we believe it is the first carbon neutral airport building of its type in Europe.”

The airport, which handled approximately 750,000 passengers last year, is committed to its environmental responsibilities and has vowed to make the operation of its vehicles and energy use completely carbon neutral by 2012. Further initiatives include the installation of a bio-diesel boiler to provide heating to the new terminal building, which is expected to save some 546 tonnes of CO2 annually, as well as a green tariff on electricity. By 2012, 100 per cent of the airport’s electricity will come from the carbon neutral sources. MAG expects these measures will produce an annual reduction of 4,122 tonnes of CO2.

Bournemouth Airport has applyied for certification from Airport Carbon Accreditation – the carbon management certification programme launched by ACI EUROPE in June 2009. So far, over 40 airports in 18 European countries have been accredited at one of the 4 levels of the programme. The highest possible accreditation status ‘Neutrality’ have been achieved by 2 airports in Norway, 4 in Sweden and 2 in Italy, while Manchester Airport and a number of Europe’s major hubs are now accredited at the ‘Optimisation’ level,  the highest level possible with carbon offsetting. Collectively, accredited airports achieved a reduction of over 727,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2010.

Airport Carbon Accreditation is administered by WSP Environment & Energy and overseen by an independent advisory board.