Oslo Airport Blends Function, Energy Efficiency

MONDAY, MAY 1, 2017

When Nordic Architecture began plotting a near-total redesign of Oslo Airport in Norway, it focused on expanding the complex while embracing the tenets of energy efficiency.

The project has resulted in the world’s greenest airport terminal, which opened Wednesday (April 27). The 115,000-square-meter extension (about 1.2 million square feet) has doubled the size of the airport, allowing it to accommodate a planned 30 million travelers annually—up from the previous 19 million.

“We have invested NOK 14 billion ($1.63 billion) in this expansion, and it will make Norway more competitive on an international level,” said Dag-Falk Petersen, CEO of Avinor (the state-owned operator of the airport). “It is important for Norway to have a well-functioning hub, which Oslo Airport is to us, and the profit from this is used to finance the rest of the Norwegian aviation network."

The nine-year expansion gave the airport the designation as the first to receive the BREEAM Excellence sustainability rating for its energy-conserving methods and on-site harvesting systems.

“With infrastructure projects of this size, there is a lot of detailed research involved,” a Nordic representative said. “We collaborated with a lot of experts, ranging from traffic forecasts, logistic simulations, sustainability simulations, passenger experience surveys, as well as technical research, focus on improved passenger flows, energy consumption and the overall carbon footprint.”

The expansion is a continuation of Nordic’s work on the Oslo Airport, which the firm designed in 1998. Other contractors on the project were engineering companies COWI, Norconsult, Aas-Jacobsen and Per Rasmussen. COWI also will install IT systems for use in ticketing, baggage flow and maintenance systems.

The most pronounced changes to the airport involved planning and designing airside and landside areas, and expanding the terminal building.

A new pier—adorned with timber from Scandinavian forests—was designed to prioritize the efficient flow of passengers by placing domestic and international areas one on top of the other. That allows travelers to use all gates, no matter their destination.

According to inhabitat.com, additional natural materials, green walls and water features are liberally used throughout the interior. Recycled steel and concrete mixed with volcanic ash were also used.

Improved insulation has helped the building achieve performance standards reaching Passive House levels. And on-site energy harvesting, and energy consumption has been sliced by more than 50 percent compared to the previous terminal.

The most notable energy-saving measure might be the airport’s collection and storage of snow collected from runways for use as a coolant during the summer travel season.

“There have been surprisingly few alterations made to the original design," the Nordic representative told designboom.com. “We continued the timeless architectural expression and rational simplicity of the original airport. The new expansion sustainability principles are embedded throughout the design.

“Energy requirements will be extremely low due to the use of ground source heat technology to provide heating and the use of snow from the airport’s snow storage depot as coolant during summer.”

Adapting a more environmentally friendly stance helped Oslo Airport secure the BREEAM certification, which has been in use since 1990.

BREEAM explains on its website that it “measures sustainable value in a series of categories, ranging from energy to ecology. Each of these categories addresses the most influential factors, including low impact design and carbon emissions reduction; design durability and resilience; adaption to climate change; and ecological value and biodiversity protection.

“Within every category, developments score points—called credits—for achieving targets, and their final total determines their rating.”

Nordic’s next project is the Istanbul New Airport in Turkey, which is slated to open in 2018 and is on track to be the world’s largest airport when completed.


Tagged categories: Airports; BREEAM; Building Envelope; Energy efficiency; Europe; Renovation

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