Chandigarh is a beautiful city located at the foothills of Himalayas in northern India. Millions of domestic and foreign tourists visit northern India every year and as a result, billions of dollars are generated from the tourism industry. Therefore, to promote tourism and to manage this huge influx of tourists, the existing Domestic Airport of Chandigarh will be upgraded and a new International Terminal will be constructed.
Airports play a very important role in promoting travel and tourism. Even though the main motive of this project is to promote tourism, commitment to sustainable development will be the first priority. Our company GMR Ltd, the Mayor of Chandigarh and the Airports Authority of India share the same vision of sustainable development. Therefore, the aim of this project is not only to minimise its impact on the environment during construction, but to incorporate numerous sustainable elements into the design and construction of this airport which will ensure that the airport meets sustainability standards over the lifetime of the construct.
Increasing development has resulted in environmental deterioration. Natural resources have been exploited vigorously over the years and its adverse affects can be seen in today's world in the form climate change, pollution, rising sea levels and extinction of several species of plants and animals. These natural resources need to be used efficiently so that the quality of the environment is maintained.
Our future lies in sustainable planning and development, so building a sustainable airport is one such approach which will set a visible example of sustainable development for communities. So this project will not only boost the economic and social prosperity of the region, but it will also help in conveying a strong message to those millions of tourists that improving energy efficiency and environmental quality is the way forward.
This sustainable airport will be one of the largest of its kind in the northern India. It is a multi-million dollar construction project and the airport will be spread over an area of 2.5 square kilometres. Since Chandigarh holds a reputation of being the greenest and the most environmental friendly city of India, the local administration's environmental regulations and the significance of sustainable development will largely affect the design criteria and construction methodology of this project. Therefore, all aspects of this project, namely design and construction, operation and maintenance will incorporate sustainable elements.
Sustainable elements which will be considered during the design and construction phase of the project include: sustainable site management, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, construction practices and innovation in design and construction processes. It is very important that this airport meets the sustainability standards over the lifetime of the construct. Therefore, operational and maintenance strategies will be devised and presented to the Airports Authority of India (AAI). Once completed, these strategies will assist the AAI in managing the airport effectively as well as in minimising airport's impact on the environment as it grows.
Design and Construction
This section demonstrates how sustainability will be considered throughout the design and construction phase of the airport.
Use of Checklists, Meetings and Review process
Checklists will be provided to the designers and the contractors so as to ensure that sustainable elements are incorporated effectively during the design and construction phase. A design checklist will be used during the design phase to indicate the proposed sustainable design elements. The purpose of this checklist is to enable designers to meet the sustainability goals of the project. Similarly in the construction phase, a construction checklist will be used by the contractors as a verification tool for ensuring the incorporation of those sustainable design elements.
Moreover, meetings will occur throughout the project where contractors and designers will demonstrate how well they have achieved the requirements of their checklists and how further improvements can be made. Another focus of these meetings will be to spread awareness of sustainable development amongst the staff. Contractors and designers are generally very innovative and their innovative ideas can help us make significant build-cost savings. Therefore in these meetings, contractors and designers will be asked to give feedback on each other's approach so that more sustainable elements can be included.
A panel will be formed which will review the performance of designers and contractors throughout the project. Panel will not only assess the sustainable design and construction standards, but will also have the authority to administer designers and contractors if their work is not up to the required standards.
Sustainable Site Management during Construction
Pollution prevention plans will be devised so as to minimise the impact of the construction activities on the environment (nagreen). A lot of vegetation cover will be lost during ground-works and excavation, therefore soil erosion, water pollution resulting from sedimentation and dust will be some of the main sources of pollution during construction.
Mulching, sediment traps and basins, use of geotextiles, silt fencing and protection of stormwater inlets are some of the main strategies that will be used to prevent pollution. Apart from that sustainable management of the construction site will be done by re-using excavated soil, composting vegetation and by monitoring water quality of the nearby streams at regular intervals.
Figure 1: Stormwater inlet protection (left) and silt fencing (right)
A stormwater management plan will be implemented to minimise stormwater runoff because runoff results in erosion and pollution. Green roofs will be installed which will not only reduce the runoff, but will improve the quality of water going into streams. These green roofs will also provide insulation to the building which will in turn increase the energy efficiency of the airport. All pavements, car parks and footpaths will be constructed with permeable material so as to minimise runoff and pollution.
Extensive use of groundwater for farming in northern India has resulted in significant depletion of groundwater. Therefore, these permeable pavements will also facilitate water seepage which will result in groundwater replenishment.
Figure 2: Green roof (left) and permeable car park (right)
Sustainable Transportation Planning
To minimise pollution from vehicles during the construction phase of the project, staff will be encouraged to use public transport and shuttles will operate within the airport boundaries to transport them from one place to another. To encourage the use of bicycles for employees, secure storage areas for bikes, changing rooms and showers will be constructed. Moreover, to minimise the congestion of roads during the day, trucks supplying construction material will only deliver the material at night.
Capacity of the public car park of the airport will be limited to just 1000 cars and high-speed rail service between the airport and Chandigarh railway station will be established to encourage the use of public transport. More fuel efficient vehicles will receive discount on parking rates and will be allowed to park closer to the airport whereas heavy-duty and less fuel efficient vehicles will be charged higher parking rates. Furthermore, to encourage the use of hybrid automobiles, battery charging facility will be provided for hybrid car users.
Water efficiency of the building will be improved so as to minimise the burden on local authority's water reticulation network. High efficiency fixtures such as sensor taps will be installed in the toilets to minimise water usage and a rainwater collection system will be constructed as an alternative source of water for toilets and other non-drinking purposes such as vehicle washing, irrigation etc.
Landscapes of the airport will be planted with draught tolerant plants to minimise water demand and an efficient irrigation system will be used to reduce wastage of water. Onsite wastewater treatment system and composting toilets are some other strategies that will be employed to improve water efficiency.