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The Green Life: SFO's New Terminal 2 Takes LEED Gold

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April 14, 2011

SFO's New Terminal 2 Takes LEED Gold

SFO Terminal 2 Just when you started to think that airport rules were taking us back in years, one newly redone terminal moves us into the future.

San Francisco International Airport's Terminal 2 reopens today after a $383-million renovation that makes it America’s first LEED Gold terminal. The airport’s new home for American Airlines and Virgin America has been a work in progress since 2008. Because of the eco-conscious upgrades that the architect, Gensler, integrated into the design, the terminal is expected to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by about 1,700 tons per year.

Thinking about sustainability at SFO started from construction, when builders reused much of the existing building rather than start from scratch, and recycled a stunning 90% of construction and demolition debris. The new facility adds more natural sunlight, but where electricity is used, it’s energy-efficient. The designers also incorporated a reclaimed-water program and a displacement ventilation system to improve air quality. To boot, there’s recycled-content flooring, paperless ticketing, and preferential hybrid and EV parking spots.

Restaurants will offer food that’s made from organic and locally sourced ingredients, and to serve it with biodegradable to-go containers and utensils. Foodies will be able to dine at Lark Creek Café, a sit-down restaurant, or get take-away from the Plant Café Organic and Andalé. We’re thrilled to see Napa Farms Market, a gourmet marketplace inspired by San Francisco’s Ferry Building, which will sell foods from Acme Bread, Cowgirl Creamery, and Frog Hollow Farm.

The terminal also caters to travelers who bring their own water bottles by setting up tap-water hydration stations near gates. The terminal's only lounge, American Airlines’ Admirals Club, is expected to get a LEED Silver rating as well, and to reduce water use and optimize energy.

--Alison Brick

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