The brand new terminal building at Oslo Airport can now boast that it is the ‘greenest’ airport in the world. While this was not the original intention, careful planning and design have made the idea a reality. The hopes are that the expanded Norway terminal can set an example that other airports can follow into the future.
Airports are notoriously energy sinkholes with consumption occurring at a premium. What the architects from the Nordic Office of Architecture have successfully done is reduce the newly expanded building’s carbon footprint by 35% and energy needs by 50%. What is stunning is that this has occurred all while increasing the airport’s capacity from 19 million to 30 million travelers.
Using locally sourced and environmentally friendly building materials in conjunction with windows and walls designed to make use of natural sunlight the airport is not only a friend to the environment it allows travelers to feel as if they have entered into a special location. The building now has a local flavor and personality acting as not just a stopover with no differentiating aesthetic from other airports, but adding to the travel experience with its own special details.
The most unique aspect of the building has to be the subterranean snow driven cooling system. During the Winter months snow is stored in a 2 million gallon depot beneath the airport, and in the Summer the melt is used to cool the terminal! In addition, thermal energy is used during colder times to assist with heating.
The work is never finished as the Oslo Airport is still working toward an airport vehicle fleet that will also use renewable fuels and energy. Others are taking note of Oslo’s moves as Finland and Helsinki are also working toward making their airports pillars of conservation and green energy, with Finavia hoping to make its numerous airports carbon neutral by the end of the decade.