Has the Competition for the Best Airport Just Been Won?

Has the Competition for the Best Airport Just Been Won?

Unlike other industries, airports have yet to be pressured to achieve greater energy efficiency. That's perhaps why it's 2017 and an airport in Oslo designed by Oslo-based firm Nordic, has just received the title of being the world's greenest airport. In this article we explore the environmental initiatives that the Oslo airport took to claim their title and why airports will more than likely soon follow in their footsteps.

image © Wiki Commons

image © Wiki Commons

Most airports have large glass windows to provide natural light yet they still leave their overhead lights on and experience increasing heat in the summer time. While the architects at Nordic wanted to provide natural sunlight throughout the airport, they didn't want the additional heat in the summer. So they carefully considered the orientation of the airport and built it in response to sun. The architects had sloped the wooden roof in order to minimize solar heat gain and loss.  

image © MeRyan

image © MeRyan

While orienting the airport in accordance with the sun was important, the Oslo architects also wanted to source materials that were environmentally friendly. This is why they used local timber and environmentally friendly concrete that was made from local volcanic ash.

image © Politikaner

image © Politikaner

Instead of using excess air conditioning like other airports, the Oslo airport relies on winter snowfall to provide cooling. The system works by collecting snow throughout the winter which is then harvested and covered with an insulating sawdust. As the weather warms, the snow is used to cool the building.

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In addition to the snow cooling system, the airport implemented other sustainable features such as using natural daylight, vegetated green walls, water features, and trees planted throughout the interior.  

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While some airports will not be able to mimic Oslo's snow cooling system due to climate constraints, we can anticipate current airports incorporating more greenery into their buildings. As far as predicting future airports, we can expect they will follow the similar trend of designing in accordance to the sun and they will also include their adaptations of what sustainability means.


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