Airports can sometimes feel like mini-cities — restaurants, hotels, retail outlets — you might even be able to live in Singapore’s Changi Airport for a week without stepping out of the sprawling terminals! But with the round-the-clock buzz and activities going on, airports consume quite a hefty amount of energy. That’s why at Changi, plenty of thought goes into how the environment can be better protected. 

1. Welcoming you with a foliage of green

Changi Airport control tower surrounded by rows of trees

Greenery is aplenty enroute to Changi Airport

Before even setting foot into Changi’s terminals, you’d find your journey to the airport quite a scenic one — lined with trees on both sides of the roads and the control tower in sight. As aesthetic as it looks, these trees also help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants.

Green Wall at Terminal 3, Changi Airport

Green and fresh: Changi is home to more than 500,000 plants!

The Daisy sculpture at Terminal 3, Changi Airport

The Daisy sculpture at T3 is reminiscent of Singapore’s ‘garden city’ vision

But the greenery doesn’t stop there. Step indoors and you’ll find yourself always near a garden or lush foliage wall — which not only soothes the soul, but reduces carbon footprint all at the same time.

2. Powering Changi with natural lights

Unique skylights at Terminal 3, Changi Airport

With 919 skylights in total, Changi’s lighting system creates a diffused ambient and cosy setting for travellers

If you’re at Terminal 3, look up! What you see isn’t just an architecture feature, but a smart lighting system that detects and regulates the amount of daylight entering the building. On sunny days, the skylights automatically open up to block out excessive sunlight; but during an overcast day, they close its panels to allow maximum daylight — all while saving electricity! Even the windows are double-glazed to minimise heat entering the airport, keeping you cool all day while providing your daily dose of Vitamin D.

The arrival hall at Terminal 4, Changi Airport

Sunlight streams into T4, reducing the need for powered lights

Changi’s newest terminal (T4) needless to say, has the same technology and more. To conserve electricity, energy efficient LED lighting is also used at common areas, corridors and restrooms — and they automatically dim during low-peak periods!

3. Moving your luggage with clean energy

Baggage tractors being charged at Changi Airport’s airside parking lots

Changi has 80 baggage tractors that are powered up for operations by 26 fast-charging stations!

Fun fact: With more than 7,200 flights passing through Changi every week, the airport sees more than 62 million passengers annually. Imagine the amount of luggage to handle! Using baggage tractors powered by clean energy, the airport moves your luggage from one end to the other consciously — and effortlessly. Try to spot them while you plane-watch the next time!

4. Building pavements with recycled concrete

Aircraft parking stands at Changi Airport

Fun fact: The recycled concrete pavement has an average lifespan of 20–25 years

Here’s something else to spot: the aircraft parking stands. Why? Because while the ground where the aircraft sits on looks unassuming, did you know it’s actually recycled? Mixed into a formula that is first-of-its-kind, recycled concrete is used all around Changi — new aircraft parking spaces, roadways, pavements and even drains!

5. Turning food waste into pure water

A digester machine that breaks down food waste into water

Changi has 11 of these transformers that recycle food waste into clean water

Changi also recycles food waste — into water. Sounds like magic, but with digesters and microbes that break these food waste down, clean water is actually produced. Fun fact: A half-tonne digester can break down over 20kg of food, while a one-tonne machine can digest double the amount!

Airports of the world consume so much energy so travellers can get some shut-eye, have a warm meal and get from one terminal to another, all in absolute comfort and ease. But as you are waiting to jet off to marvel at the natural wonders of the world, remember that it’s also our responsibility to preserve the beauty of Mother Nature. So, the next time you enjoy the airport facilities or feel the sun on your skin while nestled in a sleep-inducing couch at Changi, take comfort that you are passing through one of the world’s greenest and best airports in the world!