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A solar plant on the roof of Helsinki Airport (photo: Finavia)

All Finnish airports to be carbon neutral in 2019

Finavia says it is “setting an example in emissions reduction and accelerating its climate programme”, including “the largest solar plant among the Nordic airports”.

A year after announcing that Finland’s airports would be carbon neutral in 2020, the airport operator Finavia has now set a revised deadline of this year, one year earlier than previously planned.

Finavia claims it is “setting an example in emissions reduction and accelerating its climate programme”.

“It is important for air traffic operators to develop their operations to reduce emissions. We want to set an example and be a leader in our field,” says Henri Hansson, technical director at Finavia.

Airport operations give rise to direct and indirect carbon dioxide emissions, Hansson points out, with indirect emissions arising from factors such as electricity consumption in the terminals, heating, cooling and lighting.

Finavia says it is cutting these emissions in various ways, such as building “the largest solar plant among the Nordic airports” at Helsinki Airport.

“Our entire electricity consumption last year consisted of certified wind power acquired from the Nordic electricity markets, and the largest solar plant among Nordic airports is currently under construction at Helsinki Airport,” Hansson explains.

“Ten Finavia airports use pellets for carbon-neutral heating. We also employ solutions such as geothermal heating and energy-efficient LED lights.”

Airport vehicles
The direct carbon dioxide emissions of Finavia’s operations arise mainly from the fuel consumption of the airports’ own vehicles.

“At Helsinki Airport and our airports in Lapland, we have begun using renewable diesel fuel produced from waste and residues. This year, renewable diesel will be introduced at all Finavia airports,” Hansson pledges.

The climate plan has also been taken into consideration in the construction of new facilities. HEL is currently being expanded and the new premises are being developed in line with BREEAM environmental certification criteria. The south wing, which opened in 2017, has already been given an ‘Excellent’ rating.

But not all emissions arising from airport operations can be avoided. Those arising from heating and the use of fossil fuels in machinery and during business travel by Finavia’s personnel, for example, are offset, with the operator buying emissions offsets from the international carbon markets.

The partner in the project taking care of this is NEFCO, a pan-Nordic financial institution providing financing for environmental and climate projects.

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