Did you know that there are airports that are exemplary in terms of ecology and respect for the environment? There is one airport that has set itself apart by integrating the environment into all stages of its development. This is Baltra airport. Ecology is at the heart of the concerns of the aeronautical sector. In the next few years, this good student in terms of ecology should no longer be the exception. AEROAFFAIRES explains how Baltra Airport has become the first 100% green airport in the world.
Baltra airport: some key information.
Located on the Galapagos archipelago in Ecuador, the world’s most environmentally friendly airport is located on the island of Blatra.
The name of the airport is Seymour Airport.
Initially, during the Second World War, the airport was used as a defence base against the Japanese.
Until 1985, Baltra Airport was the only airport serving the entire Galapagos Islands.
Seymour Airport became the first airport in the world that could be called a “green airport“. This follows a total redevelopment in 2012.
The estimated cost of the work and development of the airport is $40 million.
In March 2013, the new airport on Baltra Island was officially opened.
In 2014, it was awarded the “Leed Gold” label by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council), making it the greenest airport in the world.
Today, Baltra Airport has only one runway of 2,400 m. 6,000 m² of buildings accommodate aircraft from all over the world. Approximately 400,000 passengers travel to the airport each year.
Why is Baltra 100% green?
100% environmentally friendly materials used in the airport’s design:
The airport is built entirely from recycled or ecological materials. Wood and volcanic stone are the basis of the airport’s structure. Solar panels and 3 wind turbines ensure the airport’s energy production.
The airport uses its environment and takes advantage of the sun and wind on the island to produce renewable energy.
Finally, the world’s greenest terminal was built using 80% reused materials. These materials, including stone and wood, were taken from old buildings. The water from the sinks and toilets is treated and reused to irrigate the surrounding vegetation.
A 100% ecological airport that takes into account its environment and the ecosystem:
In addition to its energy and construction performance, Baltra Airport is committed to protecting the ecosystem that lives near the runways and airport activity. Specialised teams are trained in species protection. When an iguana decides to cross the runway, a runway worker picks it up and takes it to a place where it can survive.
In addition, hundreds of species have been reintroduced. They are protected by all airport staff.
A terminal without air conditioning.
At Baltra Airport you will not find air conditioning in the terminal. Only the engine room is air-conditioned for security reasons. The air-conditioning system uses cold seawater from the Pacific Ocean. This saves energy. The airport chose to build its building without air conditioning. So how do you keep the passengers cool? The airport’s structure was designed to allow the wind to pass through and act as a natural air-conditioning system.
This innovative project was initiated by an architect specialising in bioclimate. He designed this award-winning facility for its “100% green” commitment.
It is possible to build green and 100% ecological airports, while maintaining the performance of the airport activity. Baltra Airport is proof of this. But it requires know-how and budget. To meet the environmental challenges of tomorrow, airports will have to take inspiration from what is already being done on the Galapagos Islands. The entire aviation sector is working to make the green airport the norm.