The Juan Santamaría International Airport (AIJS) added a new award of international prestige, receiving the ‘Green Airport Recognition’ from the Airports Council International (ACI). The ACI Green Airport Recognition aims to promote best environmental practices to minimize the impact of aviation on the environment, as well as honors airports that have made notable achievements in their environmental projects, as is the case of the main air terminal in the country.
The initiative offers airports the possibility of sharing their main environmental projects to be evaluated. This year, the SJO issued its implementation of the Energy Management System, which was awarded Special Recognition at the gala dinner held during the ICA Annual General Assembly held on October 3rd, 2022, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“This recognition is the result of the commitment of AERIS and the AIJS with sustainability, the reduction of the carbon footprint, technological improvement, implementation of clean energy and the implementation of a comprehensive energy management system that included the concept of efficient energy resource management. Thus also contributing to Sustainable Development Goal number 13, Climate Action, which aims to strengthen resilience and the ability to adapt to climate-related risks and natural disasters in all countries”, explained Ricardo Hernández, General Director of AERIS Holding Costa Rica.
About the project
The Energy Management System arises with the aim of improving efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint, since, in the AIJS, the main source of the footprint is the use of energy, representing about 75% of the total. This System establishes a methodology for the evaluation, performance improvement and energy efficiency of the organization. For example, unnecessary or inefficient consumption and opportunities for improvement are identified, projects are proposed that feed the energy objectives and goals, which are reviewed and approved with the company’s senior management, as well as the monthly review of the indicators and the progress on compliance goals. In addition, it includes the commitment to raise awareness of energy efficiency in the airport community.
All the efforts implemented converge in the sustained decrease in energy consumption, where from the moment the system was implemented, the savings generated can be seen and the goals have not only been achieved but also exceeded. “Our Energy Management system has the scope of energy reduction in significant energy uses, this positively impacts performance mainly in air conditioning and lighting systems, and these improvements are a fundamental tool for reducing our carbon footprint”.
In addition, it is important to note that, as a gateway, we want to offer a pure life experience, the AIJS facilities have a sustainable design in some sectors of the terminal, such as the Lobby, block G and V, designed to take advantage of natural light. Likewise, the thermo-acoustic windows, the automatic lighting control throughout the terminal and the occupancy sensor in the corridors and, as a standard, the new AIJS projects are being aligned with the principles of energy efficiency”, added Adriana Bejarano, Head of Environment, Health and Safety at AERIS Holding Costa Rica.
Among the recognized achievements are:
• ISO 50001 certification
• Contribution to the country goal of Carbon Neutrality
• Sustained reduction of the carbon footprint
• Rate benefits through access to a competitive rate
• Reduction of consumption in US$ 118,000
• Energy reduction for projects in 79767 kWhr
To receive the Special Recognition, each participating project must stand out in a series of recognition criteria, as was the case of the Energy Management System. The items include demonstrating the involvement of the airport’s senior management in some phase of the project, verifying that it has a sustainable benefit, as well as demonstrating the return on investment and/or savings generated for the airport due to the implementation of the project.
Also, it is scored that the project exceeds the usual practices of the industry and, as an added value, accredited airports at any level of Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) are considered positively, as is the AIJS by having the ACA certification.
In this sense, it stands out that from 2017 to 2021 the carbon footprint has been reduced by approximately 54%, hand in hand with the ACA program. It is not the first time that this type of recognition has been obtained; the previous year, the Special Recognition of the Green Airport Recognition was received for the AERIS People in Action for the Environment program; This project seeks that the relatives of AERIS collaborators can include sustainability practices in their day-to-day activities that help people to become aware and collectively responsible.