Virgin America plans first US LEED gold terminal at SFO

Virgin America, leaders of San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and design firm Gensler, have unveiled the design of the airline’s new home at SFO’s Terminal 2, which is set for completion in spring 2011 and will also be the USA’s first LEED Gold-certified airport terminal.

The new $383 million 640,000-square foot T2 is expected to ultimately achieve the highest possible LEED Platinum-certified status.

Virgin America will occupy seven of 14 gates in the teminal in anticipation of its fleet growing by two-thirds by the end of 2011 and to triple in size by 2016.

“As a new carrier and as the only California-based airline, we’ve had an opportunity to build sustainable practices into our operations from day one. We’ve also utilised the latest in design to enhance the traveller experience – and we hope, elevate the journey beyond just getting from Point A to Point B,” remarked David Cush, CEO and president of Virgin America. “As we grow, we’re proud to partner with SFO and the city to create a new home that embodies these same principles – and in a very real sense the innovative, environmentally-focused spirit of the Bay Area. T2 will not only elevate the travel experience, it will serve as a model for sustainable airport design around the world.”

Some of the sustainable build and design features include: as much utilisation of natural light as possible; modern ventilation systems that require 20% less energy; ‘hydration stations’ to allow flyers to fill reusable water bottles once past security, reducing the volume of waste created by single-use water bottles; plus a connection to the Bay Area Regional Transportation System (BART), so that employees and passengers can travel from airport to city on mass transit.

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