Virgin Claims LEED Gold Terminal At SFO

Old-timers might remember it as the Central Terminal at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Then in the ‘80s it became the International Terminal. Now, a decade after it was closed to passenger use, it has been dubbed T2 — Terminal 2 — in anticipation of a spring 2011 reopening. And Virgin America is turning it into the first LEED Gold certified airport terminal in the United States.

SFO is Virgin’s U.S. hub. The airline will hold seven of the 14 gates at T2 and share the space with American Airlines. But it’s Virgin that heralded the LEED status. “Virgin America informed the T2 design concept process from the earliest stages of development,” a company press release said. “With the airline’s investment in the space, it is anticipated that Virgin America’s T2 spaces will ultimately achieve the highest possible LEED Platinum-certified status.”

Virgin America, T2, San Francisco International Airport (SF0)

image via Virgin America

Virgin ticked off a lengthy list of “sustainable build and design features,” including: lots of natural light; energy-efficient HVAC; a water resuse program; and extensive recycling of construction and demolition debris in the remake process.

Perhaps the most innovative aspect of the terminal is a “hydration station” where, past security, flyers can fill reusable water bottles. (Then again, didn’t we used called that a “drinking fountain”?) Virgin also said it is recruiting vendors who subscribe to the Slow Food movement to serve up “wholesome food grown locally and prepared in a healthful manner.”

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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