Design secrets of the world’s greenest airport

Oslo Airport has become the first airport building in the world to gain an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM sustainability rating

Oslo Airport

Oslo Airport is breaking ground with its sustainability offering

Oslo Airport is paving the way for airport buildings to become more energy efficient by being the first to win an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM sustainability award – the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for buildings.

As the result of a 10-year expansion by Nordic Office of Architecture, which has doubled the size of the airport, Oslo Airport is now a global benchmark for sustainable design.

Green construction at Oslo Airport

To minimise the airport’s impact on the environment, architects decided to find innovative sources of energy and use as many renewable materials in the build as possible.

Snow from the runways is now stored during winter and used as coolant during the summer, while the new interior is clad in sustainable timber sourced from Scandinavian forests. Recycled steel and environmentally friendly concrete have also been used throughout.

“We are delighted to have delivered a project which not only develops Oslo Airport’s distinctive architecture, but one which also provides a greatly enhanced experience for passengers,” says Gudmund Stokke, founder and head of design at Nordic Office of Architecture.

Business travellers concerned about their carbon footprint will be pleased to see that these design choices have reduced the building’s CO2 emissions by 35%. Enhanced insulation means energy consumption has also been cut by more than 50%.

A taste of Scandinavia

Green walls and water features, suggestive of Scandinavian forests, add to the airport’s relaxing atmosphere. Duty-free areas, meanwhile, feature organic stone forms inspired by the Norwegian landscape.

Lighting can be set to different moods according to the weather, season and time of day, while curved glazed windows on both sides of the pier running between the boarding gates allows business travellers to see the surrounding views.

Meanwhile, sustainability hasn’t come at the expense of passenger comfort in other ways: “Passenger flow has been improved with a maximum walking distance of just 450m, which is far shorter than most airports,” says Dag-Falk Petersen, CEO of Avinor, Norway’s state airport operator. “Oslo Airport is now more spacious, more efficient and more comfortable for the passengers.”

With a number of European airports currently in development, including Berlin’s long-awaited Brandenburg Willy Brandt, or undergoing ambitious upgrades, such as Manchester, plenty of eyes in the travel industry are sure to be on Oslo Airport’s pioneering green design.

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