Meet the E&E Award-winner: Onsite Energy Efficiency – Heathrow Airport

Serving 74 million passengers each year, Heathrow faces sustainability challenges similar to a small city - its electricity demand is comparable to that of the Isle of Wight. Meet the Onsite Energy Efficiency Award-winner...

The Airport’s Responsible Heathrow 2020 plan is therefore a welcome initiative, encompassing the group’s commitment to minimising energy consumption and carbon emissions in a sustainable, industry-leading way.

In order to meet one of the key targets set out within Responsible Heathrow 2020 – reducing emissions by 34% from 1990 levels – the firm has embarked upon an ambitious energy efficiency programme, which includes £20m of investment in green building infrastructure and low-carbon energy projects, in addition to enabling and delivery costs.

Standing out among the various sustainability initiatives is Heathrow’s new Energy Centre – a 10MW biomass combined heat and power plant for Terminal 2, the world’s first BREEAM-certified airport terminal.

The £34 biomass boiler, which is one of the largest initiatives of its kind in the UK, provides zero-carbon energy to power, heat and cool the building. Woodchips come from sustainably sourced forestry waste within a 50-mile radius of the airport, cutting transport emissions and creating local jobs. Terminal 2’s CO2 emissions are now 40% lower than required by current building regulations thanks, in part, to the Energy Centre.

Moreover, the retrofitting of 70,000 lights with LEDs – managed by new lighting control systems – and the installation of 3,000 automated metering systems has drastically reduced Heathrow’s energy consumption and helped the group understand inefficiencies in detail and at scale.

The results: Heathrow slashed electricity use by 27GWh in 2015, contributing to the 19% carbon reduction it has achieved towards the 2020 target. The Energy Centre alone has saved more than 13,000 tonnes of CO2 (around 5% of current emissions), while the group’s various energy demand management projects have directly contributed to 31.5GWh of savings over the past two years. As such, Heathrow has now set itself even more ambitious efficiency targets, including an aim to reduce operational electricity demand from 7.4 kWh per passenger in 2014 to 6.5KWh by 2020.

But perhaps what makes this entry stand out the most is Heathrow’s appreciation and understanding of the real scale of the challenge. Operating within a sector that lags behind when it comes to climate action, the group knows that it cannot achieve these sustainability targets alone. The Heathrow Sustainability Partnership, led by a CEO board from the 13 biggest companies at the airport, continues to work collaboratively to achieve long term sustainability improvements – proof that the airport’s sustainability programme is really starting to fly.

Judges’ comments

Heathrow’s has ramped up its commitment to minimising energy consumption and carbon emissions, as evidenced by its outstanding Energy Centre. The airport’s willingness to collaborate for the greater good provides a beacon of hope for the aviation industry when it comes to drastically reducing emissions.

Onsite Energy Efficiency: Highly Commended

Before we get to the winner, we would like to commend Indian mobile services provider Bharti Airtel, for its great efforts to reduce emissions by more than 60% across its network infrastructure since 2011. The group’s proactive and holistic approach to sustainability stood out to the judges, as Airtel continues its journey towards delivering a future-ready network.

Onsite Energy Efficiency: Meet the finalists


Aldi Stores

Budget supermarket chain Aldi’s latest ‘Energy Optimisation Project’ encompasses a unique and comprehensive approach to effective energy management, through monitoring and targeting; energy audits and surveys; and the implementation of an independently certified ISO 50001 energy management system. Aldi has saved more than £3m through various trials and initiatives under this project, including photovoltaic installations, evolved data services and water audit savings. The firm has saved 3,933 tonnes of CO2 and £929,649 in operating costs under the Energy Optimisation Project, with those figures continuing to rise.

The Student Energy Project

This energy-saving initiative and behavioural change campaign in operation across private student accommodations and universities has proved eminently successful. The aim of the project is to provide the end-user- students- with an innovative way of staying engaged in lowering energy consumption and rewarding them for being responsible for their energy-consuming behaviour. This also achieves reduced energy costs for accommodation providers and helps create achievable ways for them to work to the Government’s energy-saving regulations.

Westfield Europe

In 2015, Westfield expanded its programme of sustainability initiatives to include real-time energy monitoring, demand response and CO2 and temperature sensors to link heating and cooling to footfall within its shopping centres. Last year, Westfield reduced electricity use across its two centres by 4%. Given the scale of its operations, the company estimates this is equivalent to the annual electricity use of almost 20,000 homes. Westfield also reduced heating and cooling energy by 15% through this scheme.

Bharti Airtel

Indian mobile services provider Airtel has taken a proactive and holistic approach to preserve the environment and reduce the negative environmental fallouts of the lifecycle of its products. Airtel has achieved a reduction of more than 60% of CO2 emissions and 23,500 kiloliters of diesel in its network infrastructure since 2011. The company has implemented solar and hybrid solutions at its own BTS sites, which alone reduced emissions by 6,000 tonnes annually.

Northern Rail

Northern Rail’s effective internal promotion of its status as one of the first companies to get certified to the new ISO 14001 standard has meant that the environment – which covers energy efficiency – is now one of the business’s five main KPIs. While using ISO 14001 to develop a strong influencing position into the board of directors, the ISO 14001 standard has ultimately helped Northern Rail drive improved performance against its objective of reducing energy consumption.

edie staff

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