The newly renovated Portland International Jetport in Portland, Maine is the second commercial airport to achieve LEED Gold certification. Designed by Gensler, the new LEED-certified airport follows on the heels of their renovation of SFO T2, which was the first LEED Gold airport in the nation. Spurred on by the commitment of the city of Portland to ensure a high level of sustainability, the jetport makes use of materials from the region and has the largest geothermal heating and cooling system in the state. Despite how energy intensive airports often are, the Portland Jetport and Gensler are showing how beautiful, sustainable and energy-efficient they can be.
The Portland International Jetport expansion in Maine opened in fall 2011, but was just awarded LEED Gold certification, making it the second commercial terminal in the United States to achieve this status. The 160,000-square-foot, three-gate facility includes a new ticketing hall, a modern baggage handling area that places TSA baggage screening out of view, six new passenger checkpoint lanes, new departures lounges, concessions, and food court seating. Inspired by the natural beauty and resources of Maine, the terminal features timber construction, rarely seen in airport architecture. Natural daylighting, FSC-certified glue laminated structural timbers, and low-maintenance, polished concrete floors add to the sustainability strategies.
To make the airport more energy efficient, Gensler, with the help of AMEC Earth and Environmental and Haley and Aldrich, designed a dual strategy system that relies on geothermal heating and cooling along with a radiant floor system. The geothermal system was made possible by the first-ever Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. Installed under the parking lot, the system features 120 wells, each 500 feet deep to serve as a giant thermal battery — rejecting heat in the summer and absorbing heat in the winter. The energy-efficient heating and cooling program will save $200,000 a year on fuel costs and 2 million pounds of CO2 emissions per year, which is the equivalent of taking approximately 180 cars off the road per year.
Read more about the energy efficiency systems of the Portland International Jetport and why achieve LEED Gold as an airport is so impressive on Gensler’s blog.