A lovely aesthetic and functional design reduced energy use by 50%.
Oslo Airport has been redesigned to be more environmentally friendly. The project was undertaken by a firm based in the capital city Oslo, the Nordic—Office of Architecture. A new expansion doubled the airport in size. It is the first airport to receive a pristine “Excellent” rating on the BREEAM scale (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method).
“In every respect, we took a strong approach to the environment,” said Gudmund Stokke, partner of Nordic—Office of Architecture in an interview with Architectural Digest. The design incorporates sustainable materials with transformed energy efficiency.
Aesthetically, the airport incorporates nature and “a green atmosphere”. Pine trees were planted to improve air quality along the terminal’s interior, which was built with local timber and concrete made with local volcanic ash. Stokke refers to these aesthetics as “social aspects of sustainability” and claims the group was “very conscious of the environmental lifecycle” of the materials used.
One of the biggest changes to the airport is improved energy efficiency. Airports often have large-scale windows, which makes it more challenging and energy-intensive to control the indoor climate. A new system of reservoirs will collect winter snowfall and it will be insulated with sawdust. The snow will help cool the building in summer.
Even the sloped shape of the 300-meter-long expansion is intended to encourage natural sunlight to replace artificial lighting during the day. Overall, the redesign cut the airport’s overall energy consumption in half, and reduced the carbon footprint by 35%, reports AD.
“Historically, airports and the entire air-traffic concept were not so concerned with the environment,” said Stokke. This is true and naturally presents a paradox, given that air travel leaves an enormous carbon footprint.
Simply redesigning an airport is a nice facade, but ultimately does little to offset the carbon emissions caused by flying. To give some perspective, the average American’s carbon footprint is about 20 every year; Europeans are at 10 tons, and the average worldwide is 4 tons. One single flight from New York to San Francisco emits 3-4 tons of carbon.
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