For a piece of infrastructure as vast as an international airport, there are a lot of aspects that can determine whether or not the building can be regarded as sustainable. Not only do the day to day operations at the airport, such as power generation and ground transport, need to be environmentally friendly, but also the manner in which the buildings are constructed. For new construction projects, ensuring that all these factors are taken into account should be central in the planning process and this is exactly what has happened with the new Terminal 3 at Indira Gandhi International Airport.

This new terminal at New Delhi’s main international airport, the second largest airport in India and eighth largest in the world, opened in July 2010 and was the first in the world to be awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) New Construction Gold Certification. This globally recognised certification provides independent verification of a building’s green features, taking into account the design, construction, operations and maintenance of buildings. In the case of New Delhi Airport’s Terminal 3, this includes an emphasis on natural light, where the departure lounge is lit completely by sunlight during the day, as well as 1,200 energy-efficient LCD screens, 300 rainwater harvesting stations and storm drains the control erosion. Ground operations at the terminal are also powered by electric vehicles.

Even though the airport is already a global leader in environmental performance, GMR Group, the consortium that runs New Delhi Airport, is aiming higher. Plans are already underway to increase its LEED certification standard to Platinum.