When you think of green buildings, you probably imagine passive homes and plant-covered complexes. But airports? Not so much. That is, until you feast your eyes on the newly expanded Oslo Airport in Norway. As the world’s greenest airport terminal—it’s the first to receive the BREEAM Excellence sustainability rating—the expansion is chock full of sustainable features, including passive-house-level insulation, predominantly natural lighting, recycled building materials, and natural thermal energy sources.
The 377,000-square-foot extension was designed by the airport’s original architects, Nordic Office of Architecture, who managed to reduce the building’s carbon footprint by 35 percent and cut energy needs by 50 percent—all while increasing the airport’s capacity from 19 million to 30 million passengers.
One of the most unusual additions is a massive watertight basin beneath the building. In winter, airport ploughs clear snow off the runways and pour it into the basin, storing upwards of 2 million gallons of Oslo snow. The icy substance is then used to cool the terminal in the summer, saving as much as 2 GWh of energy for cooling.
The interior’s Scandinavian-sourced timber, planted walls, and fountains all contribute to an improved visitor experience.