A trial was established at the Adelaide Airport to quantify the benefits, including wildlife hazard reduction, environmental and economic benefits, that could be achieved through the irrigation of a 4 hectare parcel of the airside area. The trial has been underway for more than 2 years, with the monitoring showing a reduction in air temperature within the 4 hectare irrigation area of over 2 degrees Celsius on average, and above 3 degrees C on warmer days (i.e. days above 30 degrees C). A crop of lucerne was planted on part of the irrigation area to demonstrate the ability to grow commercial crops that will both cool the air, and provide a source of revenue.
This information was used to undertake a financial and economic assessment based on the hypothetical expansion of the irrigation area to a 200 hectare plot. The benefits include those directly derived from the cropping, as well as the secondary benefits of cooling on other aspects of the airport operations, including passenger terminal energy use and aircraft performance. The breadth of benefits far exceeded our initial expectations, and whilst further work is required to quantify some of the assumptions made in the economic assessment, the results provided confidence to investigate expansion of the trial at Adelaide Airport and possible implementation at other airports and also public open space areas.
Our case study explains the trial in further detail.