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San Diego International Airport Earns LEED Platinum Certification with Guidance from NORESCO

With guidance from NORESCO's Sustainability Services group, San Diego International Airport (SDIA) has achieved LEED® Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council® (USGBC®) for the airport's Green Build terminal expansion.

SDIA is the first commercial airport terminal in the world to earn LEED's highest rating. NORESCO provided LEED project management during the design and construction phases for Terminal 2 West. NORESCO is one of the largest energy services companies in the U.S. and a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp..

The airport's largest improvement project adds 10 new gates, expands Terminal 2 by 460,000 square feet and adds 1.3 million square feet of new aircraft apron and taxiway areas. Sustainable elements instrumental in achieving LEED Platinum include high-performance glazing, a new efficient baggage-handling system, access to daylight and views, materials selection, a commitment to measure and verify energy performance during building operation, and diversion of more than 90 percent of construction waste from landfills.

Additional sustainability strategies include use of on-site solar power, installation of low-flow fixtures for water conservation, early application of energy modeling to inform system selection and the implementation of numerous energy conservation measures to reduce energy loads. The project also sourced products with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), actively managed indoor air quality during construction and tested air quality for particulates and toxins at occupancy.

SDIA proves it is possible for atypical buildings to achieve the highest levels of LEED, setting an example for the aviation industry to promote resource conservation. "Involvement in this prestigious achievement with SDIA has been extraordinary," said Troy Walters, vice president and general manager, NORESCO Sustainability Services. "SDIA is paving the way for other airports to reach for excellence in sustainability and operational efficiency."

Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC, said, "San Diego International Airport's LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership. The urgency of USGBC's mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and the Green Build serves as a prime example of just how much we can accomplish."

When NORESCO engaged with SDIA, the team discovered the airport already supported an award-winning recycling program, practiced habitat protection and tracked annual sustainability performance to the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines. Leveraging these stewardship programs, NORESCO encouraged the design and construction team to reach higher than the initial LEED Silver target. Then, with LEED Gold in range, NORESCO championed LEED Platinum. SDIA achieved that pinnacle when the airport agreed to install a rooftop photovoltaic system to convert San Diego's abundant sunshine into on-site electricity.

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