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New Salt Lake City Airport Aims to be First Net-Zero One in U.S.

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Inspired by the surrounding Utah landscape, the proposed new $1.8 billion airport for Salt Lake City wants to do more than just cut the security lines. In addition to the project's centerpiece, a large, art-filled space called "The Canyon" decorated with rippled walls illuminated by an array of different colored lights, the airport has aspirations to be the first net-zero facility of its kind in the country, living up to Mayor Ralph Becker's challenge to be the most sustainable facility of its kind in the country.

A consolidation of three existing terminals as well as the addition of a new building seeking LEED Gold certification, the project, which broke ground last year and is expected to finish in 2020, will be funded through airport user fees. The coordinated consolidation, expansion and redesign, overseen by HOK, is an an attempt to create a modern airport that responds to contemporary security requirements and reflect the landscape and culture of Salt Lake City. The Canyon, for instance, plays off the nearby mountain scenery, and an expanded meet-and-greet area near baggage claim has been specially designed to accommodate the large number of Mormon missionaries that arrive at the airport.

The entire construction and expansion project will happen without suspension of normal operations. As Michael Gallivan, Salt Lake City Airport Board chairman, told the media earlier this week, it's like having a "giant, jet airplane" of a terminal "have its cabin changed, its wings replaced, its super structure totally replaced, along with its engines, while everything is in flight."

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