EcoTerminal

Plans for the terminal include photovoltaic solar panels on the roof to assist in decreasing the airport’s dependency on non-renewable energy supplies. (BAA)

Caroline Cook reports on claims that London Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 will produce 40% less carbon emissions than its predecessor.

Plans for the terminal include photovoltaic solar panels on the roof to assist in decreasing the airport’s dependency on non-renewable energy supplies. (BAA)

Airports around the world are constantly striving to become environmentally friendly.  Aviation accounts for about 2% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and in the UK alone, this figure increases to 6%.  Despite this, the UK Committee on Climate Change published a report in 2009, which stated that UK aviation could grow by 60% by 2050 and still be in line with the government’s target of reducing emissions to their 2005 levels.
 
As a result, the UK’s largest airport – and the world’s busiest in terms of international passengers – London Heathrow (LHR) continues to expand its infrastructure.  Its owner BAA is not, however, neglecting its ecological duties; in fact, the company has several objectives to reduce emissions and manage the environmental impact of the airport’s operations.  Noise, air quality, waste and water consumption all play significant roles in the airport’s day-to-day running and BAA persistently strives to meet regulations and limits to create a more sustainable Heathrow.
 
Terminal 2
As part of a £4.8 billion (US$7.5bn) investment in new facilities and better service across the airport, BAA is currently constructing a refurbished Terminal 2.  The new terminal will cost a total of £1 billion (US$1.6bn) and, when completed, will accommodate 20 million passengers for Star Alliance airlines every year.  The first phase of construction is ongoing and involves creating a terminal building with a floor space of 1,937,504sq ft (180,000m2), following the demolition of the previous Terminal 2 and Queen’s Building.  The second phase – to extend Terminal 2 into the existing Terminal 1 site – will increase capacity to 30 million passengers per year and is due to begin immediately after completion of the first phase in 2013.
The terminal was designed by Foster+Partners and an £800 million (US$1.25bn) construction contract was awarded to HETCo, a joint venture between Ferrovial Agroman and Laing O’Rourke, in March 2010.  Furthermore, HETCo will be responsible for the baggage systems and the building’s information controls systems both within the new terminal and the Heathrow-wide network.  The development will offer passengers self-service check-in machines, fast-bag drops, traditional check-in desks and 15 security lanes.  The two-level departure lounge will feature 33ft (10m)-high windows and views of the nine new aircraft parking stands, three of which will be A380-capable.
 
Energy
BAA claims it has a vested interest in energy-efficient technology and renewable energy and believes that employing the processes at Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 will cut CO2 emissions by over 40%, compared to the minimum specified for a new building.
The company states that high levels of insulation and passive lighting will make the terminal 20% more energy efficient.  North-facing windows in the roof are expected to “flood the building with natural light,” saving energy that would be used on artificial lighting without generating uncomfortable levels of heat.
This picture, taken in December 2011, shows the progress made so far on Terminal 2. The first phase of construction is due for completion in 2013. (Key – Tom Allett)

The remaining 20% reduction in CO2 emissions will come from using renewable energy sources.  Plans for the terminal include photovoltaic solar panels on the roof to assist in decreasing the airport’s dependency on non-renewable energy supplies.
 
Moreover, the new terminal will have additional energy provided from a combined heat and power (CHP) plant, fuelled with wood chips sourced locally from Heathrow.  This biomass CHP plant will provide heating and cooling for the terminal while also being the largest of its kind within London.  The plant also forms part of the airport’s wider energy strategy to reduce CO2 emissions by 34% by 2020, compared to 1990 figures.
 
Honeywell
In November 2010, HETCo awarded a £13.2 million (US$20.6m) contract to Honeywell International to provide Terminal 2 with an integrated fire safety, public address and voice alarm system, as well as advanced lighting controls and a building management system (BMS).  The systems are currently being installed and completion is set for late 2013.
The contract was awarded to Honeywell following the company’s successful installation of a similar system and the largest of its kind at Heathrow’s Terminal 5.
According to Rene Mueller, Vice President and General Manager of Honeywell Airports Business, the systems at T5 saved 31,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2010.  “That is the equivalent of the carbon footprint of 13,000 people,” he said.  Around 40-43% of energy has been saved and approximately the same reduction is expected in the new Terminal 2.
Mr Mueller told Airports International that the management system was “a new global development for Heathrow.  We are very proud of it.”  He explained that after installation, the configuration will be reviewed every few months and that the product as a whole has a life span of 15 to 20 years.
The integrated system will allow for smart evacuation procedures, in which voice alarm messages are transmitted in certain areas only, to increase the control of the operator.  Non-emergency and flight announcements can also be made through the targeted loudspeakers.
Mr Mueller explained that the BMS can monitor the performance of different installations within a development, including products that are not made by Honeywell.  The system can collate statistics and provide details for maintenance over a range of equipment – from elevators to lighting – saving money for an airport and its customers.  Mr Mueller offered the example of passenger boarding bridges:  “The system can preplace the bridges correctly, offering better safety for the aircraft which is very important,” he said.  “If an aircraft is at the gate for 38 minutes, the BMS will take note of it and will send the airline an electronic invoice.”  With this technological input, the airport can be regarded as “intelligent” with reliable statistics.  An airline can compare the times spent at the gate, saving money and energy through better timekeeping.  Mr Mueller also stated that the level of fuel used by an aircraft could also be regulated in this way.
 
Building Management
Andy McGhee, Honeywell’s UK Director of Airports, explained that when the BMS is installed at the terminal, Honeywell will input certain settings after “communication and configuration” with BAA.  After a certain amount of time – which Mr McGhee says has not yet been decided – this will be reviewed and changed if necessary, based on the efficiency of the product.  “Every client has different requirements,” he says.  “The settings are decided on a case-by-case basis.”
The BMS will collect its data from over 7,000 sensors based around the terminal, which aid decision-making for the most energy-efficient utilisation of equipment.  The advanced lighting controls will employ more than 800 presence detectors in the facility, located mainly in ceilings and corridors.  These will collect information on the amount of time an area is used by sensing movement, and will then pass this information back to the BMS for analysis.  This data can also help to determine the use of heating and air circulation.
As well as the internal detectors, there will be four or five external sensors on the roof of the terminal.  These will detect the amount of natural light entering the facility and determine how many internal lights should be used.
Mr McGhee explained that during daylight hours, “we would prefer not to use any
Honeywell’s Excel Web (top two images) is used to control the equipment within Terminal 2. A front-end workstation provides the facility’s management team with a view of the entire system. The Excel Touch is a portable touch-screen device which allows the maintenance team to manage and configure the controller on-site, rather than through the fron-end workstation. (Honeywell)

internal lights at all.  The large windows of the terminal will mean that external light is used more effectively.
“For example, if there is a lot of natural light coming through, the BMS can choose to set the internal lights nearest the windows at 50% power.  The amount of power will be increased in the lights towards the centre of the room, where there is least natural light.  Each light fitting can be controlled almost like a dimmer switch.”
Similarly, there will be sensors to detect the room temperature around the terminal.  Usually placed high on the walls, in the larger airspaces – such as Departures – these sensors will be located in the air ducts to measure the temperature and humidity of the circulated air in the room.  As with the lighting controls, the data collected will tell the BMS how to adjust the settings to provide a comfortable environment in the most efficient way.
“As far as energy saving is concerned,” stated Mr McGhee, “you need accurate data and the flexibility to be able to turn equipment on and off, or up and down.  Each terminal operates differently but, generally, the system needs to understand lighting, temperature, humidity and CO2 levels.”