Brussels Airport achieves carbon neutrality under the ACI Airport Carbon Accreditation Program
Brussels Airport has obtained the carbon neutrality certification, the highest possible Airport Carbon Accreditation certificate from ACI, Airport Council International. This certification affirms that Brussels Airport is committed to permanently reducing the airport’s CO2 emissions and that residual emissions are offset. The presentation of the certificate took place on the 20th of June, 2018 during the annual ACI World and ACI Europe congress, of which Brussels Airport is the host.
“Brussels Airport has been working for years to limit its impact on the environment. This forms part of our long-term vision of further developing the airport in a sustainable way. Each and every business activity, project and management decision is tested against its impact on the environment. This conscious global approach has enabled the airport to reduce its carbon footprint year-on-year. Our target is to emit 40% less CO2 by 2030. Last year, we achieved a reduction of 34% in comparison to 2010. We are therefore well on our way to achieving our target”, says Arnaud Feist, Brussels Airport Company CEO.
Brussels Airport joined the Airport Carbon Accreditation program in 2009. After mapping its carbon footprint, the decision was immediately made to purchase exclusively green energy and to self-generate solar energy using solar panels. Various measures were additionally taken to reduce the electricity and fuel consumption of installations and the fleet.
In addition, each new construction or renovation project is assessed to determine which initiatives can be taken to make these buildings more energy efficient. The Connector building for example uses thermal energy storage, which means less energy is required to heat or cool the building. Heating or cooling is derived from circulating groundwater between 10 wells.
Olivier Jankovec, Director General, Airports Council International Europe commented: “I warmly congratulate Brussels Airport on becoming carbon neutral within the global Airport Carbon Accreditation programme. Over the past 8 years, we have witnessed the airport’s sustainability drive, as it made its way through the various levels of the programme, investing in solutions - such as solar power generation, LED technology and low emission vehicles - for reducing the carbon emissions within its direct control. It has engaged others on the airport site to do the same, through early adoption of initiatives such as Airport-Collaborative Decision-Making and, finally, it is addressing residual CO2 under its direct control, by investing in responsible carbon offsets. I know that Arnaud and his team do not plan on stopping there and are aiming for higher reductions at source in the coming years. Thus their achievement is not just for today – it is part of an ongoing climate initiative that they are genuinely passionate about.”
Continuing to reduce CO2 and compensate for residual emissions
Brussels Airport has held accreditation level 3 of the Airport Carbon Accreditation Scheme since 2012. This means that the airport is continuing to reduce CO2 emissions on a permanent basis and that it is also collaborating with the other partners at the airport to reduce their carbon emissions as well. A series of initiatives have already been launched in this context, including the “green landings” and ‘collaborative decision making’ principles, as well as a joint initiative on the greening of the vehicle fleet.
“Our commitment to taking care of the environment, meant that we decided to go one step further and make Brussels Airport a carbon neutral airport. To offset our residual emissions, we support the “Saving Trees” climate project in Uganda which, in addition to reducing CO2 emissions, is contributing to various United Nations objectives, and in particular protecting biodiversity, combating poverty and promoting social equality”, says Feist.
The “Saving Trees” climate project by Belgian company CO2 Logic opposes the deforestation of the rainforest in Uganda through the purchase of energy-efficient stoves for the local population. These stoves consume 40 to 50% less wood or charcoal and consequently help to save trees. As less wood is required, women have more time and resources for providing an education to their children. Since less harmful substances are released, cooking with these stoves is also healthier for the entire family.
The stoves are also more energy-efficient, helping the population to save up to 75 Euros on their family budget, which equates to approximately one quarter of their annual income. And the stoves are made in local workshops using local materials, which stimulates the local economy.
A multitude of initiatives for reducing carbon emissions
The Brussels Airport energy policy is based on 3 pillars. An active search for opportunities for emitting less CO2 occurs in each of these pillars. Below is a selection of the various initiatives that Brussels Airport has already undertaken to reduce CO2 emissions.
1. Consuming less energy
- Lighting is systematically replaced by LED, both on the tarmac and in the airport buildings. - 35% consumption by airfield lighting by 2020
- Green ICT: physical servers replaced by cloud storage
- Better insulation than the legislation prescribe
2. Generating more renewable energy
- 2 solar panel parks supply green electricity that equates to the consumption of 800 families
- Solar panels for new buildings wherever possible. From 3% renewable energy in 2017 to 13% in 2030
3. Using fossil fuels efficiently
- Replacing service cars on diesel with service cars on CNG
- Cogeneration plant generating electricity and heat from 2019 onwards
- 30 electric buses on the tarmac from 2019
Read more about the various Brussels Airport initiatives for reducing CO2 emissions in the 2018 Environmental Report.
What is Airport Carbon Accreditation?
ACI Europe's “Airport Carbon Accreditation” program actively seeks to combat climate change by making its own members aware of the opportunities for reducing their ecological footprint. Launched in 2009, ACI Europe wants 100 European airports to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. There are 4 levels of certification.
1. Carbon balance
Calculating carbon footprint, confirmed by an external audit: natural gas and heating oil consumption, fuel consumption of commercial vehicles and purchased electricity.
2. Reducing CO2 emissions
Establishing target figures for reducing CO2 emissions and initial measures for CO2 reduction.
3. Optimising and sensitising airport partners
Fully mapping CO2 emissions and, together with the airport partners, drawing up a common policy for reducing air emissions.
3+. Carbon neutrality
Further reducing CO2 emissions and offsetting residual emissions in order to achieve carbon neutrality for the actions managed by the airport itself.