Tallinn Airport makes switch from gas to district heating

On 21 November, Tallinn Airport made the switch from gas heating to the district heating offered by Utilitas in buildings on airport premises. This transition further adds to the airport’s energy independence and security of supply while also playing an important role in achieving its environmental goals.

Riivo Tuvike, the chairman of the management board of Tallinn Airport, says active analysis of alternative sources of heating began in March. “We’d been planning to stop using gas for some time, and the situation in Europe sped up that process,” he explained. “Back in March we started analysing how we could ensure heating for all of our buildings while meeting our environmental targets.”

Tuvike says the switch to district heating will reduce the airport’s carbon footprint by almost 20%. “Two thirds of the heating Utilitas produces comes from renewable sources, including wood chips, which will help us reach our target of being carbon-neutral by 2030,” he said. “Another positive is that making use of residue from local felling and timber-processing to generate heat cuts down on transport emissions and is in line with the principles of the circular economy, in which a use is found for all materials. Cost-effective management is something we can’t afford to forget about in the current economic climate. Switching to district heating will bring prices down for us and for our lessees, and avoid the fluctuations characteristic of gas prices.”

The total area of the buildings on the enclosed territory of the airport is 93,563 m², of which 70,129 m² is now covered by district heating. “This year we’ve paid almost two million euros for gas to heat our buildings with,” Tuvike added. “If we’d been using district heating, we would have paid around half as much.”

Robert Kitt, the chairman of the management board of Utilitas Tallinn, says analysis has revealed that district heating and cooling are the best way to make urban energy in Estonia carbon-neutral. “Most of our heating is already being generated from renewable sources, and our aim is for that figure to reach 100% by 2030 at the latest,” he revealed. “We share Tallinn Airport’s values in regard to a cleaner future, and we’re delighted that we were able to connect them to our network and take a big stride forward with them in that respect.”

Tallinn Airport’s goal is to ensure the sustainable and responsible operation of the airports belonging to the group and the provision of high-quality services, while preserving the natural environment and reducing emissions. The airport aims to be carbon-neutral by 2030.