Sustainable design features transforming the face of airport infrastructure
Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO-DIAL of GMR Group. talks about sustainable design and green infrastructure developments for future airport projects.
What advances in green infrastructure development can be expected in future airport projects?
A Green Airport is an airport that minimises or eliminates negative impacts and promotes positive impacts on the natural environment, climate, and local communities. The construction of green infrastructure is a key strategic objective for airport projects, aiming to incorporate environmentally friendly and resource-efficient practices from site selection to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. Green airports prioritise efficient site management, flood control, resource conservation, waste management, water and energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, and indoor environmental quality.
How are new and renovated airport projects incorporating sustainable design features?
New and renovated airport projects adhere to globally and nationally recognised green infrastructure guidelines, such as IGBC (Indian Green Building Council), USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council), GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment), or equivalent standards. These guidelines are incorporated into the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and renovation of airport infrastructures, considering sustainability and local and business needs. By following these standards, airports aim to create environmentally friendly and resource-efficient facilities that align with the principles of green building. This approach ensures that airports are built and operated in a socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, and economically viable manner while considering the unique requirements of the local community and businesses.
How are airports adapting to solar and energy efficiency projects?
Sustainability is a key focus for airports, and renewable energy is critical in achieving this goal. GMR Airports have taken proactive steps towards renewable energy generation by installing solar plants at all its airports and collaborating with offsite renewable energy suppliers. For instance, DIAL (Delhi International Airport Limited) has successfully generated 7.84 MW of solar power. Moreover, a significant demand of power at Delhi Airport is met through Hydro-power..
Energy efficiency is also vital in airport sustainability efforts, involving the meticulous selection of mechanical and electrical systems and components. Adopting solar and energy efficiency projects can yield long-term benefits, including reduced natural resource consumption, optimised costs, and lowered energy emissions. By prioritising renewable energy generation, usage, and energy efficiency, airports can contribute positively to the environment while maintaining safe and sustainable operations.
What new technologies are implemented for the aesthetics and functionality of spaces to enhance passengers’ experience at the airport?
New technologies have been incorporated to improve the aesthetics and functionality of airport spaces, enhancing the passenger experience. These technologies include Digi Yatra, ATRS (Automated Tray Return Systems), Self-Baggage Drop, CUSS (Common Use Self-Service), and digitalised washrooms. In addition, commercial features are being integrated with digital technologies to enhance passengers’ overall experience further. These technological advancements aim to simplify processes, reduce waiting times, and provide convenient and efficient services, ultimately improving the overall airport experience for passengers. “We are proud to say that at GMR Airports all the above sustainability measures are followed rigorously.”
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