In recent decades, air transport has become an integral part of our mobility needs, with innovations in alternative fuels grabbing the headlines. Less attention has been paid to airport sustainability. Ostensibly essential as facilities where planes land and take off, airports should also be recognized as key to sustainable aviation and as important development vectors for the cities and regions they serve.
The aviation sector faces intense scrutiny for its carbon footprint. Recognizing their pivotal role, airports worldwide are launching airport sustainability initiatives to address the full spectrum of their energy management systems and facilities. The goal is to reduce their carbon emissions and associated costs by integrating renewable energy.
By implementing a sustainability plan of action, they can allay shareholder concerns, meet national regulations and respond to pressure from travelers or even employees.
Riyadh Airports Company (RAC) manages and operates King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. RAC’s vision is to transform KKIA into a world-class operation while contributing to the Kingdom’s energy transition by increasing its energy efficiency and reducing emissions.
By engaging ENGIE Impact to conduct a carbon management analysis, RAC sought to address four challenges to airport sustainability:
To address the challenges summarized above, ENGIE Impact and ENGIE Saudi Arabia partnered to set up a multi-disciplinary team and recommended the following approach to airport sustainability:
The Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) is the only institutionally-endorsed, global carbon management certification program for airports. It independently assesses and recognizes the efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions through six levels of certification: Mapping, Reduction, Optimization, Neutrality, Transformation, and Transition.
Targeting Level 1 (Mapping), as KKIA is doing, requires determining the emission sources within the operational boundary of RAC (Scope 1 & 2), calculating the annual carbon emissions and compiling a carbon footprint report to guide future implementation of airport sustainability practices.
In the frame of this project, ENGIE Impact made the calculations and compiled this footprint report, so that RAC could submit it for third-party verification before obtaining the ACA Level 1 label.
The project delivered several recommendations regarding potential airport sustainability practices. It projected results and a roadmap to greater energy efficiency and greener energy sourcing. The following are particularly noteworthy:
tons of CO2 emissions avoided per year
MWp of solar PV potential
MSAR of yearly savings identified by the energy audit
Conducting an energy audit, evaluating the solar PV potential and assessing KKIA’s carbon footprint created a runway to greater energy efficiency, greener energy sourcing and ultimately greater airport sustainability. Acting on ENGIE Impact’s recommendations will start the RAC on its journey towards ACA certification Level 2 - Reduction – where it will set up a carbon management system and show evidence of achieved sustainable results.
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