Committed To Sustainability

Nov. 1, 2012
Architecturally Renovated San Francisco International Airport Terminal 2 Achieves LEED Gold Certification

Editor's Note: Photography by Mark Dell’Aquila

Begun four years ago, some additional energy-saving lighting-design and installation work is still being completed in and near the now completely renovated San Francisco International Airport (SFO) 640,000-square foot 58-year-old Terminal 2 building. Arthur Gensler, Jr., founder of Gensler, has been quoted as observing that the city of San Francisco “. . . is committed to sustainability, and SFO recognized that in building the new T2. This terminal shows the world that airports, even older, remodeled ones, can be great examples of sustainable design.”

Some of SFO's energy-saving sustainability factors include: recycled water for toilets from the airport’s own facility; plumbing fixtures that are 40 percent more efficient than standard; use of aggressive on-site recycling and composting; special parking areas for hybrid and electrical cars; re-use of certain terminal building materials; and gravity-fed through-wall cool-air “displacement ventilation” systems.

Among other aspects, new lighting throughout T2 is 35 percent more efficient than rigid State of California Title 24 Energy Code mandates, and than comparable IESNA (Illuminating Engineering Society of North America) national recommended guidelines, both indicating that new lighting must/should be less than one watt per square foot. 

“Energy consumed is now a mere .70 watts per square foot for all interior and exterior T2 building lighting,” observes Janet S. Nolan, founder and principal of JS Nolan+Associates Lighting Design.

“The front-to-back, top-to-bottom total architectural ‘Green’ renovation of Terminal 2 by Gensler virtually mandated that all of the new energy-saving interior and exterior ambient/area and decorative/accent lighting throughout the terminal facility likewise be highly architectural and ‘Green’ in its nature, as well as being mandated by California law to be far more energy conserving than any previous generation of lighting,” remarks Nolan. 

“To complement new building exterior and interior architectural lines, we found sophisticated highly energy-saving lighting forms from an American, California-based, North American design-lighting manufacturer, which ably met our and Gensler’s requirements,” she adds.

Sleek, flush-mounted, most often fully recessed linear nonglare luminaires indoors and out, lent themselves to direct mounting individually in vertical and horizontal architectural rows and patterns. This low-energy lighting is frequently at right angles to one another, on terminal walls, ceilings, and pedestrian walkways from standard-length (not custom) regularly available rectangular units that complement new T2 architecture. 

Further in keeping with the environmentally sound, energy-saving terminal-building and lighting designs in force at T2, all of the particular light fixtures are made of 60 percent recycled aluminum that is 100 percent recyclable; sprayed with high-capture low environmental-impact powder-coated finishes; and meet all applicable UL, cUL electrical safety standards.

About the Author

William Schoenfisch