For five years now, RAXA Collective has called the state of Kerala, India, its home. Over the years, the ‘three magic words’ – community, collaboration, conservation – have guided our work here. And every story in these three spaces has us glad for finding another believer. Now we’ve found a believer who puts his thoughts into action in the Cochin International Airport. Welcome to our land and the world’s first solar-powered, power-neutral airport.
The southern Indian city of Kochi is now the proud home of the world’s first solar-powered airport. The Cochin International Airport Limited – India’s fourth largest international airport in terms of passenger traffic – commissioned a 12 megawatt solar power project. The airport already had a 1MW solar power plant, which can produce 4,000 units of electricity daily.
With its new solar plant, the airport can now produce 60,000 units of electricity every day, which is more than enough to meet its daily requirement.
The new plant is expected to generate 18 million units of solar power annually, an amount that could charge around 10,000 homes in the country for one year. The sustainable project is expected to offset carbon emissions by more than 3 lakh (300,000) metric tons over the next 25 years, which is said to be the equivalent of planting three million trees or not driving for 750 miles, according to the airport.
Its latest development is one of several ‘green’ initiatives currently in place or being planned at airports globally in the future.
Plans for Mexico City’s new international airport, which aims to be world’s most sustainable airport, were revealed last year. The Mexican capital’s new airport will be designed by Norman Foster, the British architect responsible for the Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe) and the dome of Berlin’s Reichstag building. The new hub, expected to be completed by 2018, will use minimal energy and offer an efficient passenger experience with shorter walking distances.
Heathrow’s Terminal 2, which opened last year, was the first airport terminal in the world to be certified by BREAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology), the world’s longest established building sustainability rating system.
T2’s eco-friendly features include “skylights and 10 metre-high, floor-to-ceiling windows that maximise the natural light” and “sophisticated lighting control systems that keep energy use down by switching off the LED lights when parts of the building are not in use”. The terminal’s close proximity to the runways also helps cut carbon emission by reducing aircraft taxiing times. Last year, Denver International Airport in the US installed its fourth solar power array which can produce up to 2MW of electricity per year. It reduces around 2,200 metric tons of carbon emissions annually, which is said to be enough to supply energy to 500 homes in Denver for a year.
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