Sustainable design is second nature for many architects and designers today, but there’s still work to be done to fully integrate sustainability into all aspects of the building world. While you may be familiar with sustainably designed offices and institutions, there are still many types of spaces that are being built without sustainability in mind, but with some changes, these environments can easily become sustainable. In this article, I’ll show you some examples of eco-friendly airports and analyze their sustainability methods.
“The World’s Greenest Airport” in Oslo is the Future of Airport Design
From New Atlas: Eco-friendly materials make up Oslo Airport’s new sustainable extension
When the folks at Oslo Airport decided to build an extension to double the terminal’s size, they called in Nordic –– Office of Architecture, a local award-winning design firm. Nordic, who had designed the main Oslo Airport in 1998, is known for sustainably designed projects, and the firm delivered. When the new extension was finished in 2017, it raised the bar for sustainable design on a large scale.
From NordicArch: Recycled wood and steel are used throughout Oslo Airport’s new extension
The extension uses green building materials such as glulam, recycled steel, and a mixture of concrete and volcanic ash, all of which are much more sustainable than traditional building materials. The structure is strategically shaped to leverage passive solar energy, and low-carbon technologies like natural thermal energy are utilized. Amazingly, the airport also uses snow as a coolant. During winter, snow is stored onsite to be used as coolant in the summer. These techniques helped to reduce the airport’s energy consumption by 50%. All of these achievements earned the airport a BREEAM Excellent rating for sustainability, making it the first airport to ever achieve that rating.
From ArchDaily: The airport is full of natural light thanks to plenty of windows and skylights
The Oslo Airport is one of the most impressive examples of sustainable design for airports, and future airport designers will undoubtedly use it as a benchmark. While most airports are huge contributors to global waste, Oslo’s terminal is looking toward the future.
From Architectural Digest: Lots of natural materials create an environment where biophilic design and contemporary design coexist
Logan Airport’s LEED Certified Terminal is Packed with Sustainable Technology
From HOK: Logan Airport’s Terminal A is the world’s first to achieve LEED certification
Boston’s Logan Airport was thinking about sustainability long before many others; it earned LEED certification back in 2006 when it redesigned its Terminal A. Led by the renowned design firm HOK, the redesign incorporated more natural daylight, water conservation, and waste recycling. Solar trees and wind turbines help to generate greener power for the airport, and the roofing membrane and paving reflect heat and reduce stormwater runoff.
From HOK: Terminal A is not only sustainable but also appealing with an abundance of natural light
HOK is no stranger to sustainable design, and that experience shows here. In addition to earning LEED certification, Logan also received the Jay Hollingsworth Speas Airport Award for creating “a positive and balanced relationship” between the airport and the local environment. Passengers can also contribute by using single-stream recycling stations installed throughout the airport, an initiative for which Massport’s Environmental Management Policy was the catalyst.
Oakland International Airport’s Terminal 2 is Beautifully Sustainable
From Oakland Airport: Oakland’s terminal received LEED Silver certification for its sustainable design
In 2010, Oakland International Airport (OAK) followed in Logan Airport’s footsteps and redesigned its Terminal 2 to be more sustainable. Soon after, it became the first passenger terminal in the U.S. to receive LEED Silver certification. Low-VOC compounds, conserved water use, and a stormwater treatment system all contribute to OAK’s positive environmental impact. The terminal’s energy efficiency exceeds California standards by 25%, which reduces carbon emissions by approximately 211 tons per year.
From Oakland Airport: Low-VOC compounds and energy efficiency make OAK better for both occupants and the environment
Looking Forward to a Sustainable Future for Airports
These airports prove that sustainable airport design is within reach. They may be the exception but are excellent examples for the many A&D firms embarking on or in the midst of airport expansion and redesign. The future is bright for airport sustainability, with more airports using reclaimed wood, daylighting systems, and water treatment technologies.