Changi Airport, Singapore’s Green Gateway


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changi-airports-terminal-2-garden-and-koi-pond-by-snoopaki-flickr

By Debra Atlas

Singapore’s Changi Airport, one of most highly awarded airports in the world, was reclaimed from swampland and from the sea.

In 2010, the Changi Airport Group (CAG) established an environmental management system designed to proactively protect the environment, prevent pollution, and improve environmental performance and regulatory compliance. This program is based around the ISO 14001 standard, and debuted at CAG’s and Clean and Green Singapore “Changi Goes Green” event in November 2010.

In an effort to decrease any negative impact on the environment, the airport has implemented a number of environmentally-friendly practices. These include:

  • Energy efficient lighting and motion sensors;
  • Double-glazed glass fitted with solar shading films to let natural light into the building which minimizes the need for artificial lighting and air conditioning;
  • Recycling concrete aggregates are used to rehabilitate the airport’s aircraft parking area pavements; and
  • Storm water captured through rainwater harvesting irrigates plants at the Changi Airport Nursery and landscaped areas.

Water conservation is evident everywhere at Changi Airport. With no watersheds or natural rivers from which to draw water, Singapore uses a product called NEWater, super-treated, recycled former sewage water. NEWater now meets 30% of Singapore’s total water demand. It’s also used for airport fire-fighting, for sanitation, and for cooling air conditioning chillers.

Nature conservation is another important element at Changi. Saplings of the famed Changi tree are placed throughout the airport grounds. The Changi tree was thought to be extinct until a 150-year old tree which had been cut down illegally was discovered to in September 2002.

Visitors are amazed at the diversity of green that fills every terminal in Changi Airport.

The Terminals

Opened in 1981 and later renovated around the concept of a “tropical city,” Terminal One incorporates a cactus garden, complete with a rooftop garden, showcasing over 40 species of cacti and succulents from Asia, Africa and North and South America.

Terminal Two, which received its Green Mark Gold status earlier this year, is awash with flowers and light. The fern garden is landscaped with giant Tasmanian tree ferns (Dicksonia Antarctica), a survivor from the dinosaur age which can live for over 400 years. The fern garden features tropical ferns from the oldest rainforests in the world, including unique ferns like the birds’ nest fern, elephant fern, fish-tail fern, rabbit-foot fern, and staghorn ferns.

The Changi Airport Orchid Garden features spider orchids, Singapore’s famous hybrid butterfly orchids, and moth orchids from the Orchid Island of Taiwan. The garden also has a rare orchid exhibit with a rotating display, and a seasonal display of Singapore’s national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim. The surrounding Koi Pond is a rainbow of color with bright orange, red, and yellow koi.

Terminal 2’s charm consists of a sunflower and light garden, with its illuminated walkthrough with bamboo structures on both sides of the pathway, an award-winning “Aura Seating System,” and lighting that creates a magical, light-themed garden by night.

The green jewel of Changi Airport is Terminal 3. Awarded the Green Mark Gold designation in 2009, the newest terminal is about 236 miles long (380,000 meters) spread out over seven levels, three of which are underground.

Its over 900 energy-saving skylights glow with artificial lighting at night, automatically adjusting to allow for optimal soft and uniform daylight during the day. It houses the world’s first butterfly garden in an airport, a tropical butterfly habitat that’s home to over 1,000 butterflies and is complete with flowering plants, lush greenery, and a 20-foot grotto waterfall. Its collection of 200 carnivorous plants covers enough floor space as 50 soccer fields.

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One of the most amazing aspects of Terminal 3 is the green wall, a five-story-high vertical garden running across the main building. Possibly the largest interior vertical landscape in the world at 45ft high (14 m) and nearly 1,000 ft (300 m) long, it is intertwined with four cascading waterfalls. A 1,000 foot-long (300 m) sculptured sandstone art wall display is located below the living greenery.

Not to be outdone, the Budget Terminal, a single-story terminal serving low-cost airline carriers in Asia, includes a garden with more than 15 species of fragrant trees, shrubs and climbers. One of its “residents” includes the Canaga, one of the most important ingredients in the popular perfume Chanel No. 5.

We at Sierra Club Green Home applaud Changi Airport’s success in translating its commitment to green into a vibrant living reality. It sets the bar for other buildings to aspire to.

 

For related article, see:
Sustainable Singapore Balances Building and Nature 

© 2012 SCGH, LLC.

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