Green buildings

Canberra Airport is leading the way in the performance of the built environment.

Brindabella Business Park, located within the Canberra Airport precinct, is a leading sustainable business park in Australia.

In 2003, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) awarded 8 Brindabella Circuit the first 5 Star Green Star rating for an office building constructed in Australia.  

Since that time, Canberra Airport has determined that all new buildings will be at least GBCA 5 Star Green Star and 5 Star NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System), and will incorporate the WELL Gold principles. All new buildings will have an electrical plant which is fed from the ACT's 100% renewable electricity-supplied network. All new buildings will be carbon neutral with regard to Type 1 and 2 emissions.

Canberra Airport is also retrofitting all new and existing buildings with onsite renewable generation via solar, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These are the airport’s ‘as standard’ building requirements, ensuring that the buildings are not only good for the environment, but for the people working in them for years to come.

Canberra Airport is a founding member of the GBCA and is proud to instil the GBCA building design principles and practices in all buildings constructed on airport, incorporating initiatives that include, but are not limited to:

  • Recycling building materials.
  • Minimising the use of products containing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
  • Reducing noise levels.
  • Reducing water consumption.
  • Waste management initiatives.
  • Strict control of ventilation and day lighting.
  • Facilities to support alternative transport methods including active travel, both within the buildings and surrounding infrastructure, including close by public transport links and cycle and shower facilities.
  • Solar hot water.
  • Car parking for small cars.
  • Non-potable water irrigation.
  • Waterless urinals.
  • Electric Vehicle (EV) charging.

The airport also continues to work to modify, invest in updates and adapt building plant, equipment and controls as required to achieve best practice environmental performance.

Canberra Airport has been driving on-site renewable electricity production with the use of solar installations with every new building constructed as well as progressively rolling out solar installations on existing buildings throughout the airport precincts. As of May 2023, approximately 2.4 megawatts of solar has been installed across the airport’s buildings and this level of solar generation positions Canberra Airport as one of Canberra’s largest solar farms.

In addition to solar panel installations, electric vehicle (EV) supercharging stations have been installed at Brindabella and Majura business parks, with additional locations planned in the future.

Airport Environment Framework

The Airport Environment Framework is shaped by the Airport Environment Policy.

Following amendments to the Airports Act in 2010, the Airport Environment Strategy was included as Appendix 1 to the Canberra Airport 2014 and 2020 master plans. The 2020 Master Plan and Airport Environment Strategy were approved by the Honourable Michael McCormack MP, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, in February 2020.

The Canberra Airport Environmental Management System demonstrates leadership in environmental management through a system of continuous improvement.

Canberra Airport manages the environment as outlined in the Water Management Plan, the Heritage Management Plan (Part 1Part 2), the Threatened Species Management Plan, and the Re-New Management Plan.

    PFAS testing at Canberra Airport

    Per and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances are a class of manufactured chemicals used in aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) which were used for firefighting in Australia before 2010.

    On Canberra Airport, the only known user of AFFF containing PFAS has been the Commonwealth, including Airservices Australia. These foams were used in airport firefighting services and training.  Airservices Australia is a Commonwealth-owned statutory corporation. Airservices Australia has advised that since 2010, it has ceased its use of PFAS containing fire-fighting foams.

    Canberra Airport takes pride in delivering and operating a safe and secure airport. Accordingly, in 2015, when we were first made aware of global concerns about PFAS, Canberra Airport commissioned its own program of testing for PFAS in soil, stormwater and groundwater which regularly monitors PFAS levels across the airport site and downstream of the airport and reports PFAS levels to the relevant Commonwealth regulators and the ACT EPA.

    The results of this program of testing have indicated that there are only two significant areas of PFAS pollution at Canberra Airport. These are the:

    • Airservices Australia Canberra Airport Fire Station (which is on Scherger Drive on the road into Fairbairn)
    • Airservices Australia Fire Training Ground (which is on the far side of the main runway and is north of Fairbairn and the Air Traffic Control Tower, where they practice aircraft firefighting).

    These sites have been leased to Airservices Australia by Canberra Airport since the privatisation of the airport in 1998 but were occupied by the Commonwealth and used by Airservices Australia prior to this.

    Clean-up of Airservices’ PFAS pollution

    Canberra Airport believes PFAS is a contaminant in the environment that clearly needs to be dealt with. Canberra Airport has made numerous representations to Airservices Australia and the Australian Government (the Department of Infrastructure and the Department of Environment) over the last eight years, requesting that Airservices Australia reduce PFAS pollution at the airport by removing the source of that pollution from its leased sites. Recently, Canberra Airport requested formal remediation orders from the Airport Environment Officer appointed by the Department of Infrastructure to Canberra Airport, to deal with this PFAS pollution. It is our goal for these orders to address PFAS pollution at Airservices Australia leased premises by quarantining and removing it without further delay.