Moving away from conventional airport approaches results in fewer miles, less fuel and lowered emissions for our customers. We continue to introduce RNP AR approaches across the country in order to expand the availability of these benefits.
As of August 31, 2021, RNP AR approaches were available at 29 Canadian airports, including Brandon (CYBR), Calgary (CYYC), Charlottetown (CYYG), Comox (CYQQ), Deer Lake (CYDF), Edmonton (CYEG), Fort St. John (CYXJ), Fredericton (CYFC), Grande Prairie (CYQU), Halifax (CYHZ), Kamloops (CYKA), Kelowna (CYLW), Kitchener/Waterloo (CYKF), London (CYXU), Moncton (CYQM), Ottawa (CYOW), Prince George (CYXS), Quebec City (CYQB), Regina (CYQR), Saskatoon (CYXE), St. John (CYSJ), St. Johns (CYYT), Sydney (CYQY), Terrace (CYXT), Thunder Bay (CYQT), Toronto Island (CYTZ), Vancouver (CYVR), Winnipeg (CYWG), and Yellowknife (CYZF).
Despite the significantly reduced air traffic due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, in fiscal 2021 RNP AR approaches were used more than 27 thousand times which saved more than 158 thousand track miles. This represents a significant savings in fuel for our customers and a significant reduction in GHG emissions to improve our environmental impact.
In addition to helping its customers reduce their emissions through more efficient flight paths, NAV CANADA is always looking for ways to optimize its own operations. One such example is a recent initiative to reduce the NAV CANADA flight inspection aircraft track miles by changing the way inspections are conducted. Traditionally, inspections of very high frequency omnidirectional range (VOR) — a type of navigation aid — were completed using a 10 nautical mile orbit around the VOR. Technological studies were conducted to determine how small of an orbit could be flown while still obtaining accurate data. The outcome was that the flight inspection team was able to reduce their orbit radius to 4 nautical miles, resulting in a 60% reduction of track miles for these types of inspections. In fiscal 2021, this led to an estimated reduction of nearly 26,000kg of CO2 emissions resulting from lower jet fuel consumption.
NAV CANADA continues to upgrade its Building Automation Systems (BAS) at staffed facilities across the country. Additionally, an initiative is underway which will link BAS within each flight information region together and increase remote BAS access for facilities teams and contractors. These improvements allow for better and more precise operation of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, in turn saving energy used enabling faster response to HVAC issues. Also, as NAV CANADA continues its routine replacement of HVAC equipment, effort is being taken to install new equipment that is more energy efficient. In addition to reduced energy usage, these efforts have enabled NAV CANADA to take advantage of utility energy rebate programs – where available – to offset a portion of the capital cost of installation. Future planned enhancements include better lighting control as well as energy logging, both of which will further reduce energy usage.
A recent expansion of the Toronto Area Control Centre (ACC) included a redo of the landscaping around a portion of the facility. Rather than replanting the landscaped area with the usual lawn grass and a few trees, a decision was made the "xeriscape" the area. Xeriscaping is the landscaping process where natural wild plants and grasses that are endemic to the region and also highly tolerant to drought are used in order to reduce watering and general maintenance requirements. With the success seen at Toronto ACC, NAV CANADA plans to extend this environmentally-friendly approach to landscaping at other sites as new revitalization projects permit.
The Company has developed a new NAV CANADA Workplace Design Standard (WDS), to be first implemented at its upcoming new head office. As a result, offices and meeting rooms in the new building will be located near the core of the building and away from the windows. This approach maximizes the transmission of natural light into employee desk areas. Furthermore, the offices and meeting rooms are being built with glass fronts so that natural light transiting through the cubicle space will also enter into the offices and meeting rooms. Aside from the positive psychological and wellness benefits of maximizing natural light within the whole workspace, this design approach allows for "daylight harvesting" where the Building Automation System can turn off portions of the interior lights on sunny days thus saving energy. NAV CANADA plans to extend this new Workplace Design Standard to other staffed facilities and implement daylight harvesting when opportunities arise.
During a recent upgrade to the parking lot at NAV CANADA's Technical Services Centre (TSC) in Ottawa, the Company installed new pavers that tackle rainwater in a more sustainable way. This was accomplished using permeable pavers which are built with a honeycomb concrete that is designed to let surface water during a rainstorm to percolate through the paver into the ground, in contrast to solid pavement that creates rainwater runoff and drives increased stormwater sewer load. The pavers are designed to support the weight of vehicles and the honeycombs are filled with small pea-sized gravel to facilitate the drainage of rainwater. At the TSC, use of permeable pavers eliminated the need for an upgraded stormwater sewer at the facility. Given their environmentally-friendly impact, NAV CANADA plans to extend the use of permeable pavers at other sites as new projects permit.
NAV CANADA is in the process of finalizing a design update for small air traffic control towers, and as part of the update is pursuing certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Though the work is still being finalized, it is expected that the design update may achieve the LEED Silver level of certification. Developed and supported by the Green Building Councils in countries worldwide, the LEED certification process is a rigorous and well-recognized process that drives the design and construction of buildings that minimize both their energy usage and also their environmental impact. Having their first LEED certified building is of great interest to NAV CANADA and the Company hopes to pursue LEED certification in future building construction projects.
NAV CANADA has partnered with the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) on a project to recover energy from wastewater generated by the infield buildings at Pearson Airport to reduce heating and cooling requirements and save energy as a result. Through this project, which is in its initial stages, energy recovered will be fed back to the buildings in the infield, including the Toronto Area Control Centre and Toronto Tower operated by NAV CANADA. This project being led by the GTAA, and the cost of implementing this waste energy recovery project is expected to be paid for by a portion of the energy savings. The GTAA plans to eventually extend this waste energy recovery process to the entire Toronto Pearson airport infrastructure and NAV CANADA looks forward to continuing to work together with the GTAA on this exciting environmental initiative.
Thanks to advancements in NAVAID equipment technology, less energy is required to operate them, opening up possibilities to innovate in the provision of the back-up power they require. Typically, backup power has been provided to NAVAID equipment by a diesel fuel burning backup generator. During the construction of a new VOR in Ottawa, instead of an emergency backup generator, an emergency backup battery bank was installed utilizing the latest in battery technology along with the latest in advanced electronic battery control and management. Extensive testing of this new battery backup system has been completed and it has demonstrated its ability to provide the VOR with 48 hours of backup emergency power, eliminating the pollution and greenhouse gas generation a diesel fuel burning emergency generator would provide. Further installation of emergency backup battery banks are presently underway at select new NAVAIDs with a low emergency power requirements, and these new battery systems even have the potential future capability of being partially recharged by solar panels, further reducing their environmental impact.
In alignment with Canadian federal regulations, NAV CANADA has effectively eliminated halocarbons (refrigerants found in air conditioning and other cooling devices) that negatively impact the ozone layer. However, modern ozone-friendly halocarbons can still have a damaging effect if leaked into the environment. As such, the Canadian government is working on new regulatory legislation that would greatly reduce the use of these halocarbons and drive the development of a new class of halocarbons with much reduced environmental warming impact. NAV CANADA is aware of the regulatory legislative work being done by the Government of Canada in this regards and is being proactive in developing a plan for the orderly transition to fully environmentally-friendly halocarbons.