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Dubai Airports' conservation efforts are paying environmental and financial dividends as the organisation today reported the results of 2011 energy and fuel saving initiatives that reduced CO2 emissions by 72,793 tonnes, saved 131.9 million gallons of water and achieved Dh15.9 million ($4.33 million) in fuel savings.
"We take our environmental responsibility very seriously and as we step up efforts to limit our footprint, it's becoming increasingly clear that green business is good business," said Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths.
Dubai International is an efficient global hub whose two largest airlines Emirates and flydubai have young, fuel-efficient fleets featuring the latest aircraft technology. That combined with Dubai's geocentric location that effectively reduces flying time and the number of required connecting flights limits associated emissions.
Aside from these efficiencies, Dubai Airports continues its aggressive campaign to conserve water and reduce power consumption across both of its airport properties. By installing energy-saving lamps and occupancy sensors, re-setting air conditioning by a mere three degrees (from 21 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees) and implementing chiller management systems Dubai Airports managed to save over 21.4 million kilowatt/hours of electricity worth Dh8.13 million ($2.21 million), equivalent to 9,993 tonnes of CO2 during 2011. At Dubai World Central, the conservation of 2.242 million kWh of electricity saved Dh1.04 million and equivalent 1,906 tonnes of CO2 during the same time frame.
Water conservation efforts led to a reduction of 126.45 million gallons and savings of Dh5.06 million at Dubai International last year. At DWC water savers were introduced in all facilities, resulting in the conservation of 696,000 gallons of water worth Dh27,840. Additionally the use of treated sewage effluent water for irrigation has resulted in the saving of 4.75 million gallons of potable water worth Dh190,000.
During the year under review the company also set a new standard in the region with the installation of the largest solar panel array for any airport in the Middle East. Thanks to the considerable contributions and support of long standing partner Air BP, the array consists of 92 panels of high efficiency photo-voltaic cells providing 21.6 KW capacity. Located atop the airport's Car Park B, it provides enough power to offset fully the energy consumed by the lighting and plasma displays in the airport's historical photo exhibition. The installation has a lifespan of 25 years, and will continue to provide free, clean energy to Dubai International during its lifetime.
Another successful initiative which continues to yield substantive fuel and CO2 savings is the airport's stand hold policy which limits the number of aircraft taxiing and queuing at the runway. The intention is to absorb any delay time on the stand whilst the aircraft engines are shut down.
This contributes to a fuel saving in addition to keeping the airfield free of congestion whilst providing an optimal flow to the runway. During 2011 this policy generated 530,621 minutes of reduced engine run time and saved 5.3 million gallons of fuel (or 19,332 tonnes) and reduced CO2 emissions by 60,894 tonnes.
Dubai Airports will join other energy-conscious organisations across the world on March 31 to mark Earth Hour by switching off all non-essential lights across Dubai International's three terminals and at Dubai World Central. Last year Dubai International's demand for electricity dropped by 11 Megawatts from 80 MW to 69 MW during the one hour event.
"Our ultimate goal is to contribute to the development of a clean, sustainable future in which airports, aircraft and all ancillary services are carbon-neutral," added Griffiths.
"Aviation's sustainability is of vital importance to Dubai. Currently it supports over 250,000 jobs and contributes some US$22 billion in economic activity. By 2020 that contribution will increase to 320,000 jobs and US$44 billion. As an industry we still have a long way to go to achieve our environmental goals, but each incremental step forward we take is a step in the right direction."