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Sustainable Building in Antarctica

Introduction

As a member of the Antarctic Treaty BAS must follow strict environmental protocols for the removal of all waste from Antarctica. In addition to this British Antarctic Survey’s Environmental Policy is to undertake a programme of world-class scientific research with the minimum of environmental impact.

Renewable Energy

It is essential to reduce fossil fuel use in Antarctica. This can be achieved by the use of more renewable sources. The two most obvious ones are wind power and solar power. Solar power is dependent on there being light. On some bases during the Austral Winter there may not be enough light to generate sufficient power, but in the summer when the power demands are at there greatest, there are more visiting scientists, the panels may be able to produce almost continually.

Water Generation

Water for base use is provided by melt water  (melting ice and snow), reverse osmosis (using high pressure to remove the salt from sea water) or rain water.
To minimise the energy required producing potable water British Antarctic Survey installs water efficient laundry and dishwashers and ensures taps are provided with aerating fixtures and showers have reduced flow heads.

Waste Management

In accordance with the Antarctic Environmental Protocol, BAS waste disposal policy is that all waste from its operations, other than sewage, grey water or food waste, should be removed from Antarctica for recycling or safe disposal. The dumping of waste or chemicals on land or at sea and open burning of rubbish is prohibited. Wastes are separated at source, processed and compacted where possible for transport, and then removed.

Halley VI

The design, construction of the new Halley Research Station was subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment as required under the Antarctic Treaty’s Environmental Protocol. The station was designed to minimise the amount of fossil fuels consumed and greenhouse gases produced, as well as maximise energy efficiency and the amount of power produced from renewable energy resources. In accordance with the Antarctic Treaty the old Halley V base, where practical and safe, was removed when Halley VI became fully operational.