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Design Knowledge Intermediary
Designing the world's greenest airport
(14/Jul/2017)

The world's greenest airport: The aviation industry needs to become more environmentally friendly -- and Oslo Airport has unveiled an airport terminal for the future.

Efficiency by design: Designed by Oslo-based architecture firm Nordic, the new terminal combines style and environmental efficiency.

Construction: Natural materials such as locally sourced stone and wood from sustainably managed forests have been used generously throughout the building.

Nordic identity: "In addition to being a very energy-efficient material, wood gives the terminal a very Nordic identity. We believe that after an era where most airports look the same, it is time to highlight those elements that can give travelers a sense of place," says Nordic's Bjørn Olav Susæg.

World leader: The brand new terminal building is the first in the world to receive an "Excellent" BREEAM rating for sustainability.

Goals: "We did not start this project with the goal of becoming the world's most environmentally friendly airport, but we did have an ambitious goal of reducing energy consumption by 50%," says Susæg.

Holistic: What we are seeing now is a more holistic approach where airport operators are looking at the energy efficiency of the terminals, waste and water management and myriad other aspects," says Pere Suau-Sanchez, director of the MSc in Airport Planning and Management at the UK's Cranfield University.

Cool environment: One way the terminal makes the most out of local conditions is its snow-based cooling system. During winter, snow is collected and stored in a depot and covered by sawdust for insulation.

Seasonal: Come summer, the meltwater is used to cool down the terminal building, reducing energy consumption at peak times. In winter, the airport makes use of natural thermal energy for heating.

Waste management: When it comes to waste, the new terminal only discards 9% of its overall construction refuse -- ensuring the rest is recycled appropriately.

uture-focused: "The focus was on procurement of environmentally friendly building materials, innovative energy solutions and waste management," says Henriette Berg, project manager at WSP in Norway.