Estonia’s Tallinn Airport has made the switch from gas heating to district heating in buildings on airport premises.
Riivo Tuvike, the chairman of the management board of Tallinn Airport, says active analysis of alternative sources of heating began in March. “We’d been planning to stop using gas for some time, and the situation in Europe sped up that process,” he explained. “Back in March we started analysing how we could ensure heating for all of our buildings while meeting our environmental targets.”
According to Tuvike, the switch to district heating will reduce the airport’s carbon footprint by almost 20%. “Now we’re using sources other than gas for our energy, including wood chips, which will help us reach our target of being carbon-neutral by 2030,” he said.
“Another positive is that making use of residue from local felling and timber-processing to generate heat cuts down on transport emissions and is in line with the principles of the circular economy, in which a use is found for all materials. Cost-effective management is something we can’t afford to forget about in the current economic climate. The total area of the buildings on the enclosed territory of the airport is 93,563 m², of which 70,129 m² is now covered by district heating. This year we’ve bought almost €2m worth of gas to heat our buildings with. If we’d been using district heating, we would have paid around half as much.”
In addition to making this environmentally friendly switch, the airport considers it very important to keep producing its own electricity to ensure security of supply and reduce its emissions. “As an airport, our ability to generate our own energy is limited by the unique nature of our infrastructure,” Tuvike explained. “That said, we’ve made the most of areas where nothing else can be erected by installing solar panels on them. We already have seven solar farms at Tallinn Airport alone, and all of our regional airports are producing their own energy as well. Our aim is to be producing around 40% of the electricity we use by 2024 ourselves, and to have switched to 100% self-generated solar power by 2030. At the moment, all of our solar farms put together are covering around 14% of our electricity needs, but at our smaller airports the amount they’re producing on sunny days is already outstripping consumption.”
Tallinn Airport is making increasing use of battery power and green technology, monitoring ground and rain water levels and noise pollution, helping to raise awareness among passengers, employees and partners and constantly looking for innovative new solutions that contribute to environmental protection. The airport aims to be carbon-neutral by 2030.
Image: Tallinn Airport