Heathrow powers down to win Carbon Trust award (!!?)

16.9.2010   (Dodds)

This one really takes the biscuit !   So much for the judgement of the Carbon
Trust ….


Bear in mind that the carbon emissions from planes using Heathrow are the highest
of any airport in Europe.   And Heathrow airport is very much involved in the operations
of these planes.    Planes from Heathrow produce around  21.4 million tonnes of CO2  per

Bear in mind that a report by the London Assembly in January 2010 said that  
…at full capacity Heathrow could become the biggest single source of CO2 emissions
in the country, emitting the equivalent of 54 of the least polluting countries”.    

Heathrow Airport has been awarded the Carbon Trust Standard after saving enough energy over the
last three years (1) to power more than 6,300 homes for a year.

The UK’s hub airport improved its carbon efficiency by nearly 12 percent (2),
despite turnover growth of 31 percent. This means that for every pound in income,
12 percent less carbon was emitted.

Heathrow joins over 350 UK organisations who have gained the Carbon Trust Standard
– the world’s first award that recognises real carbon reduction. It’s a rigorous,
independent assessment which certifies that organisations have measured, managed
and improved carbon efficiency.

Heathrow is on track to make further savings this year, having already cut energy
use through smart operation of lifts, escalators and baggage conveyors.

Large savings also came through careful management of heating, cooling and ventilation,
as well as modernised lighting systems and more efficient waste recycling. Major
renewable energy investments such as biomass and combined heat and power plant
are also leading the way in greening the airport’s energy supply.

With complex and near constant operation – particularly around its unique security
requirements – improving the carbon efficiency of Heathrow’s operations is a complex
and difficult task. And with over 77,000 workers on site – the majority of whom
are not employed by Heathrow – much of the success is down to close collaboration
and the commitment of those on the ground.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, Heathrow’s owners: said: “There is no
silver bullet to improving carbon efficiency, but through a great team effort
we are delighted to have obtained recognition for the progress we have made. This
is the first step on a long road to helping the government meet the strict environmental
targets which also form a core part of Heathrow’s strategy. Despite the major
challenges ahead, we are confident that our investments in people and infrastructure
will secure real long-term success in reducing our carbon footprint.”

Jonathon Counsell, British Airways’ head of environment, said: “This is another
good example of how Heathrow is striving to reduce its impact on the environment.  
We have been proud to play our part in supporting the airport to achieve this
reduction. At the main Terminal 5 building alone we have managed to reduce energy
consumption by 19 percent since it opened in March 2008 and have already identified
another 3 per cent in potential savings. Through working together we will be able
to bring significant improvements to the way Heathrow operates.”

Harry Morrison, general manager at the Carbon Trust Standard Company, added:
“We congratulate Heathrow Airport on their achievement of the Carbon Trust Standard.
Today, being a good carbon citizen isn’t just about looking good on paper. Achieving
the Carbon Trust Standard gives Heathrow Airport the true emissions data they
need to build the appropriate carbon reduction strategies and set the right path.”


1. Between January 2007 and December 2009

2. Tonnes CO2e/ £ Turnover

3. Comparing carbon footprint data from financial year 2009, ending in December,
to the average of the previous two financial years.

4. Average household total energy consumption = 19MWh, source UK Energy statistics
digest 2010:





Not unlike offsetting my monthly flight to Australia by not listening to the
radio in my Range Rover, so the car uses less energy…..

Airport Greenwash

There are a lot of stories about how airports are making savings in their energy
use – which is all very commendable and excellent stuff.   However, it tends to
conveniently ignore the uncomfortable fact that the airport is in the business
of increasing the numbers of flights (and passengers) which cause huge carbon
emissions. Airports are able to only count their emissions on the ground, or for
planes up to 1,000 metres – the landing and take off cycle.
Here are some examples: