The technology to optimise energy use has made rapid strides in the last few years. When it opened in 1998, skyguide’s Geneva control centre was provided with (then-)state-of-the-art energy-efficient technology such as free cooling facilities.
But in 2011 the company replaced the heating system at its Geneva premises with a new solution which uses the district heating grid of Geneva’s local industry. The Dübendorf control centre, which commenced operations in early 2009, is one of the newer generation of energy-optimised premises. In addition to purely construction features such as insulating materials, the centre boasts movement sensors to save on lighting and air-conditioning, more energy-efficient lights, a centralised "smart" building master control system, waste heat recovery and heating pumps, all to ensure that energy consumption can be reduced in all areas. Skyguide also plans to install photovoltaic facilities at both Geneva and Dübendorf in 2013 and 2014 to further optimise the centres’ energy use.
Of the total electricity that skyguide uses to operate its facilities, 62% comes from hydro-electric power plants, 37% from nuclear power stations and 1% from other sources. Skyguide prefers to procure its electricity from renewable energy sources under balanced long-term energy supply agreements.
Skyguide’s use of fossil fuels is limited to its building heating, its company car fleet and the diesel generators installed to provide emergency power if required. The company’s observance of strict building norms and its advanced facility management help minimise the consumption of heating oil. A car policy is also being devised to reduce the petrol and diesel consumption of the skyguide company car fleet.
Some of skyguide’s facilities stand on the company’s own land, and some are on (or in) leased property. Wherever possible, skyguide adopts and maintains a joint approach to providing the associated utilities – such as joint access roads or shared utility use – with the partners involved, who include airport authorities, Swisscom, Armasuisse, the Swiss Air Force and the cantonal police. Since it is subject to civil building permission procedures, skyguide also works closely with regional and cantonal environmental specialists and (on a case-by-case basis) with private environmental protection organisations.