Starting in 2010, the New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, Japan, expects to get 30 percent of its terminal building’s cooling needs from snow; a move that could reduce the airport’s CO2 emissions by 2,100 tons per year, Japan Today reports.
Hokkaido typically gets between 20 and 30 feet of snowfall per year. The collected snow will be used to chill the liquid used in the airport’s cooling system in the summer. Local officials says the snow will be covered with heat-insulation materials, which should retain about 45 percent of the snow.
EcoGeek reported that the process isn’t new to Hokkaido, which has been experimenting the use of snow in cooling systems since 1998.
While Japanese airports has been busy experimenting with new ways to reduce its carbon footprint, U.S. airports have also been busy with sustainability initiatives ranging from seeking LEED certification, recycling to using alternative energy.
Air Transport Association’s 2008 Economic Report revealed that U.S. airlines reduced 2.5 billion metric tons of CO2 from 1978 to 2007.