Riyadh Airports Company Aims to Significantly Reduce… | ENGIE Impact

Riyadh Airports Company Aims to Significantly Reduce Carbon Emissions

Case Study | Read Time 4 min
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Sustainability Transformation
Energy Management
Renewable Energy
Carbon Management

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.

Airport Carbon Accreditation: An Important Step for Airport Sustainability

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.

Challenge: Building Sustainable Aviation from the Ground Up

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:

  1. How to reduce the overall demand and cost of energy at its airport facilities
  2. How to ensure a reliable energy supply through clean, renewable sources
  3. How to convert its airport facilities into smart and green buildings
  4. How to map out the process that will result in effective carbon management, a reduced carbon footprint and ultimately a sustainable airport

Solution: How To Create a Sustainable Airport? ENGIE Impact Recommends a Multi-Faceted Approach

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:

  1. Improving energy efficiency at the supply and demand sides, including a proposal to implement energy savings at no cost to the airport, via an Energy Saving Company (ESCO)
  2. Providing audit-based calculations and preparing the carbon reporting required to obtain ACA Level 1 (Mapping) certification
  3. Optimizing the distribution network inside the airport perimeter to reduce energy losses, improve supply reliability and enable PV panels installation
  4. Reviewing the internal tariff and billing structure to increase tenants’ awareness about their energy consumption and improve the allocation of the various costs to the different tenants and customers
  5. Enhancing the building energy management system

See ENGIE Impact’s insights into setting science-based targets→

Airport Carbon Accreditation

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.

Results to Date

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:

  • The Energy Audit showed that 7.5 MSAR could be saved each year on the airport’s electricity bill.
  • The Renewable Assessment demonstrated that 8.4 MWp of solar PV could be installed. This would avoid 9,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.
  • The airport’s carbon footprint assessment for Scope 1 & 2 was delivered, in line with ACA certification requirements, to obtain the Level 1 certification.
  • ENGIE Saudi Arabia submitted a proposal for the implementation of Renewables and Energy Efficiency measures.


tons of CO2 emissions avoided per year


MWp of solar PV potential


MSAR of yearly savings identified by the energy audit

gradient-quote Making our infrastructure more energy efficient is a significant milestone and a testament to the determination of our vision to transform KKIA into a world-class operation. We are partnering with a global low-carbon energy provider to achieve our vision and contribute positively to the environment and keep it safe for future generations. gradient-quote-right
Eng. Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Maghlouth, RAC CEO

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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