20/04/2016

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Galápagos ecological airport

Caring for and protecting the planet was the main vision which motivated Corporación América to take on the challenge of building the world’s first ‘green’ airport. This took on even more significance when the place chosen for this was the Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It is possible to find a synergy between the airport environment and its surroundings. This will encourage responsible and efficient development and growth.

This Argentinean holding company, which has built more than 50 airports around the world, wanted to be pioneers in building and operating an airport which respects the environment, without sacrificing top-notch technology and service quality.

The environmental strategies applied from the very beginning aimed to reduce the facilities’ environmental impact as much as possible. Advantage was taken of wind direction and sunlight, as well as weather conditions, maintaining comfortable temperatures within areas as well as the aesthetic quality and the visual impact of the buildings. Top quality reusable materials from local sources were selected; everything was calculated and designed to respect and utilise natural resources as much as possible.

Galapagos-Baltra-Airport-002Each step was rigorously supervised to ensure it was in line with regulations validated by the U.S. Green Building Council, a mentor for ‘green’ buildings, renowned for the best environmental practices in the world. In December 2014, we received Gold level LEED certification from them. This made it the first airport in the world designed and built to be ecological.

As well as the challenge of creating a building which respects the environment, there were many other features which made this a unique and complex construction. Not least the fact that the airport is located on one of the archipelago’s islands, with no drinking water or roads, and is more than 900 km from the continent. The challenge was great and, in some cases, more costly, but our satisfaction is enormous. We can proudly say that it is possible to find a synergy between the airport environment and its surroundings. This will encourage responsible and efficient development and growth which will not result in waste or the overuse or deterioration of natural ecosystems. Dream projects which have become reality, like the Galapagos Ecological Airport, are examples of architecture that the rest of the airport sector should follow.

But our goals go far beyond this. In our search for coherence with our pro-environmental agenda, we have been working towards attaining Carbon Footprint Reduction certification from the Airport Carbon Accreditation program. This is awarded by the ACI (Airports Council International) and evaluates and recognises the efforts made by participating airports in managing and reducing CO2 emissions. In June 2015 we received “Mapping” Level 1 accreditation, the second airport in Latin America to do this. We shall carry on to the next levels of this program, until we have achieved certification in Green Operation & Maintenance. That will complete a unique process in global airport history and set an example for the whole sector to follow.

Thinking green and building the future.

 

 

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