By: Ashley Thompson
Snow and airports typically aren’t friends. Delays, cranky customers, and even crankier ticket agents are in the forecast at the check-in line after Mother Nature dumps a load of the white stuff. But one airport in Japan is extending an eco-friendly hand to its usual nemesis. Beginning in 2010, the New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, Japan, will start collecting some of its 20-30 feet of annual snowfall and use it to help cool the building during summer months.
By using heat-insulating materials, an estimated 45 percent of the snow could be preserved. The remaining melted snow will be put to use to chill the airport’s liquid cooling system. The island has been experimenting with such cooling techniques since 1998.
The northernmost and least-developed of Japan’s islands, Hokkaido is known for its brutal winters and splendid skiing conditions. Capital city Sapporo holds an annual Snow Festival in February, one of the largest winter events in Japan. By taking advantage of one of the island’s most abundant natural resource, the New Chitose airport will reduce its CO2 emissions by 2,100 tons per year.
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a host of green airports worldwide last month, including Boston’s Logan International Airport’s wind energy initiative, which helped it earn the distinction of the first LEED-certified airport terminal in the U.S.
Photo: Winter scene in Hokkaido, via Kaz&Masae’s Flickr
- Nat Geo Expeditions