India will see more ‘green’ eco-friendly airports in the near future as the airports at the metro cities of Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata get upgraded to incorporate a ‘green’ status. In order to be a ‘green’ airport, various prerequisites have to be met such as optimum performance air conditioning, waste water treament, harvesting of rainwater etc. The current and most prestigious example of a ‘green’ airport is the most popular T3 (Terminal 3) of the New Delhi Airport that is the result of a whopping Rs. 13,500 crore ($3 billion) modernization project that was inaugurated last year.
The building premises of T3 abides by the Indian Green Building Council’s (IGBC) rating which defines a green building as one which has green area within the premises and outside; efficiently uses energy; produces less waste; conserves natural resources and has a healthy environment for its occupants when compared to a regular building. It is mandatory to include the maximum utilisation of natural light, implement CFL bulbs and harvest rainwater in order to get the green signal by the IGBC.
T3 is indeed the benchmark for achieving all that is possible for creating a sustainable environment as it makes full use of daylight. Sensors are present to keep track of the the quantity and quality of air, treated water is used for flushing and electric or CNG vehicles are employed at the airport making it emission-free. Although, the expenditure incurred in constructing a green building is quite considerable, however it is believed that the surplus money that is expended can be recovered within a time frame of 3-4 years after operations resume.
Another point of concern in building a green structure is the actual construction of the structure. As per the requirements of the green building certification, it is ideally conceived that the materials required for building the structure should be sourced from a region falling within 600-700km. of the site so that the actual region gains maximum benefit from the construction. However, more often than not, all the material cannot be sourced from the same region.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design- New Construction has give the Delhi T3 terminal a gold rating, which is the highest so far, as no other airport has received the highest platinum rating. A building, in order to be giving a green certification, will have to go through compliance checks which are very difficult to perform as they will have to be performed at all the 3 stages – designing, construction and post-operational. However, despite all the obstacles – financial and constructional – a green airport will be the aviation sector’s endeavor to reduce their carbon footprint.