Leh Airport can be carbon neutral: Sonam Wangchuk


Excelsior Correspondent

LEH, Dec 1: Innovator Sonam Wangchuk believes that Leh Kushok Bakula Rinpoche New Airport terminal building can become world class Carbon Neutral Airport in the country if the building is redesigned to make it solar passive building.

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Himalayan Institute of Alternatives Ladakh (HIAL) founding Director Sonam Wangchuk, in a Tweet message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 13th November 2021, had urged PM Office to reconsider to make the Leh airport carbon neutral building. Following the message, a team from PMO visited Leh to inspect the ongoing Leh Airport construction.
Addressing a press conference in Leh on Wednesday, Sonam Wangchuk said that he was delighted and impressed at the swiftness and responsiveness of the PMO in sending a team led by its Deputy Secretary Mangesh Ghildiyal to take stock of the airport and the overall status of carbon neutrality in UT Ladakh.
He added that ever since Prime Minister declared Ladakh to be a carbon neutral region and more recently India to be carbon neutral country by 2070 at COP 26, it has become incumbent upon all of us to do everything possible to realize this noble vision.
“In this endeavour, our institute (HIAL) wanted to contribute small part to make this airport an example for the world,” he said and listed number of problems with the current design. In the current concept, he added, the Leh airport seems to be designed for some other climate/location other than Ladakh as there is heavy emphasis on air conditioning to the tune of a using a 700 KW system to be powered by diesel generators.
He explained that Ladakh receives the brightest sun energy and best place in the world for solar energy which can be utilize to heat buildings. He proposed some changes in the design, which include eliminating diesel boilers and DG sets (except one stand by), to replace with passive solar heating/cooling through enhancement of insulation in walls, etc. He added that the proposed concept will make the Leh airport completely carbon neutral and also save the exchequer foreign reserves to the tune of Rs 10 crores per year and of course carbon emissions to the tune of 10 tons per day.
Pertinent to mention here that Leh Airport new terminal building is under construction with approximate cost of Rs 480 crore which is expected to complete by December 2022.