Perth, sustainability at the service of infrastructure

From the airport to the new light rail line, major infrastructure projects for a sustainable city

The target date is 2030. That’s the year when Perth Airport will become one of the first in the world to be entirely carbon neutral.

The authority that manages the Australian city’s airport made the announcement recently as part of an Environment, Social, People and Governance Strategy, a long-term plan to transform Perth Airport into one of the “greenest” on the planet.

«Perth Airport is focused on delivering economic, social and cultural benefits by keeping the people of Western Australia connected to the rest of the nation and the world» , said Perth Airport CEO Kevin Brown.

The airport’s officials, management and staff are committed to committed to implementing technologies and upgrades to reduce polluting emissions at the facility’s 2,100-hectare (5,189-acre) land estate of terminals and runways. The amount of waste produced by the airport will be reduced 20% by 2030, while sorted waste will increase by 70%, and the amount of water used within the airport will remain at the same levels as today. The airport said it will look at a mix of energy efficiency measures, two to three large scale renewable energy projects on site and also investigate options for off-site projects.

«We will embed sustainability considerations into the design and delivery of all infrastructure projects at Perth Airport by setting minimum requirements in key areas of sustainability», Brown continued.

Perth airport, Australia

The impact of the "green" revolution on Perth Airport

The authorities that manage Perth Airport envisage a real “green” revolution, which will have a significant impact in terms of reducing harmful emissions into the environment.

According to the Perth Airport’s calculations, the carbon savings impact of the airport going carbon-neutral are the equivalent to the emissions of 5,300 homes, or to the pollution caused each year by 6,300 cars. Or, put another way, like planting 480,000 new trees and seeing them grow for ten years, according to the airport.

But Perth is not the only Australian city that has chosen the path of sustainability, even for traditional infrastructures such as airports. Melbourne Airport, for example, has built a massive solar power farm capable of meeting 15% of the airport’s total energy needs. The project, launched in 2018, is the largest of its kind in Australia. Following Melbourne’s example, Karratha, Adelaide and Brisbane have also built solar installations to power their airports. Brisbane’s, in particular, with its 22,000 square meters and 6,500 panels, is the largest commercial rooftop solar installation in the Southern Hemisphere.

The sustainable subway that connects the airport to the city

From the airport to the city, sustainability is a concept that embraces all of Perth’s latest infrastructure works, in order to respond to residents’ needs for clean air.

That’s why the sustainable airport will be the starting point of the sustainable light rail line, the Forrestfield-Airport Link, an 8.5-kilometre (5.2-mile) link that will connect the district of Forrestfield with the city center in just 20 minutes compared to the 45 minutes required today.

The new light rail running below the city of Perth — commissioned by the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia and built by Webuild Group — will be able to transport up to 20,000 passengers daily and, by 2030, will remove 15,000 vehicles from the streets. The line is set to open in 2022.

Sustainability is a mantra for Perth, which expects its population to grow steadily to 3.5 million in 2050, up from 2 million today. Change is just over the horizon, and infrastructure must adapt. High Wycombe, one of the three stops planned for the Forrestfield-Airport Link, has been equipped with a roof covered by 626 solar panels capable of guaranteeing the average energy needs of the three stations.

This is Perth’s green revolution, guided by sustainability and with infrastructure as the match that will light the spark of change.