LaGuardia Airport’s New Terminal B Wins Prestigious Awards for Sustainability From Two Leading Environmental Organizations

June 6, 2023

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the developer and manager of LaGuardia Terminal B, announced today that LaGuardia Airport’s new Terminal B has retained both its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) v4 Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s Platinum Envision Award, affirming that commitments made during the initial design review were carried forward during the construction phase of the $4 billion redevelopment project.

LEED is the most widely used rating system worldwide for green building certification, recognizing excellence in sustainable design and construction. Buildings satisfying the requirements may earn one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum, based on the number of criteria achieved.

LEED v4 certification is based on a rating system that includes: 

  • Energy and atmosphere:  The baseline energy performance standard is at least 14 percent more stringent than previous LEED standards.
  • Water efficiency: Projects must achieve a minimum 30 percent savings for outdoor water use and all indoor fixtures must be certified by the EPA under its the WaterSense program.
  • Materials and resources:  Projects are rewarded for demonstrating reduced embodied carbon (from material extraction and processing) and for selecting materials based on Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) that disclose environmental impacts. 
  • Indoor environmental quality:  Minimum standards for low-emitting materials now must be backed by laboratory emissions testing and additionally includes furniture, ceilings and insulation.

Terminal B achieved its design-phase LEED v4 Gold certification in 2021, including the arrivals and departures hall, the eastern concourse, the eastern pedestrian bridge and the central heating and refrigeration plant. The latest LEED v4 Gold certification, awarded on completion of all construction activities, also includes the western concourse and the western pedestrian bridge.

Meanwhile, Terminal B has retained the highest level of Envision award — Platinum — following its post-construction review. Retaining Platinum through this final stage of verification using the Envision Sustainability Framework is a major achievement. Terminal B is the first project to complete a post-construction review since the launch of Envision v3 in 2019.

The Envision Award recognizes sustainability in multiple areas, including human well-being, mobility, community development, collaboration, planning, economic development, materials, energy, water, conservation, ecology, emissions, and resilience.

“We are proud that our new world-class Terminal B is also being recognized as a world-leader for sustainability,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “Achieving LEED v4 Gold certification and earning the Platinum Envision Award for sustainability at Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport underscores the commitment by the Port Authority and LaGuardia Gateway Partners to do our part to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

“With construction of a new LaGuardia Airport substantially complete, it’s gratifying to learn that the new Terminal B is not just beautiful and efficient but that it has also been recognized as a world-leader in sustainability,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “Sustainable, energy-efficient buildings play an essential role in reaching the Port Authority’s agency-wide goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Sustainability was a pillar in the redevelopment of Terminal B,” said Frank Scremin, CEO of LaGuardia Gateway Partners. “We are immensely honored to receive both the LEED v4 Gold certification and the Platinum Envision Award, recognizing our collective efforts to create a terminal that not only meets the highest standards of efficiency and innovation, but does so in a way that minimizes our environmental impact.”

“Completing a post-construction review confirms continuity between the sustainable intent in planning design and actual project delivery,” said Melissa Peneycad, managing director of ISI. “We could not have asked for a more impressive project than LaGuardia’s Terminal B redevelopment to bring awareness to Envision as a comprehensive, end-to-end sustainable infrastructure framework solution, one that supports higher performance through better choices in infrastructure development from planning and design right through to post-construction.”

“The work of innovative building projects like Terminal B is a fundamental driving force in transforming the way our buildings are built, designed and operated. Buildings that achieve LEED certification are lowering carbon emissions, reducing operating costs and conserving resources while prioritizing sustainable practices and human health,” said Peter Templeton, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council. “Because of Terminal B, we are increasing the number of green buildings and getting closer to USGBC’s goal to outpace conventional buildings, while being environmentally and socially responsible and improving quality of life for generations to come.”

Nearly 100 percent of the debris that was recycled from the Terminal B Garage demolition was used for new construction, which aligns with the Port Authority’s prioritization of sustainability during both design and construction as outlined in its industry-leading clean construction program. The program outlines six specific initiatives, including the incorporation of LEED and Envision standards during design, to reduce emissions from construction processes. The agency requires at minimum the equivalency of LEED Silver and Envision Silver for all large projects.

The terminal is designed to achieve water savings of more than 43 percent and an 18-percent reduction in energy costs. Energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions were achieved through reduced window glazing area, installation of a light-colored aluminum membrane roof that reflects solar heat and reduces summer cooling loads, lower lighting power density, deployment of daylighting controls to adjust artificial lighting levels in response to sunlight, and use of solar hot water heaters.

With new technology in mind, the baggage handling system was created to move only when bags are present in the system and goes into sleep mode when not in use, saving at least 37 percent of energy compared to older technology.