Increasing numbers of airports are adopting environmentally friendly techniques to minimise their impact on the environment. But aside from the more obvious approaches, such as recycling programmes and the use of alternative power, what other, less obvious techniques are open to airport managers?
Officials at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport have found a shrewd way to reduce their impact on the environment by specifying a sustainable, highly reflective ceiling for Alaska Airlines’ new two-step “airport of the future” ticketing area (see: Airport of the Future checks-in at Sea-Tac).
The Sea-Tac ceiling is made from a series of panels from Ceilings Plus of Los Angeles, California, which have been developed for maximum sustainability in terms of their source materials, ease of handling, performance and recyclability.
Unlike the frangible materials used in most airport ceilings, the Alaska Airlines installation is designed to resist damage and can be cleaned and refinished without loss of acoustical properties. The long lifecycle is an environmental benefit when planning for future remodelling.
The panels are also designed to be highly light reflective to reduce the energy required for lighting, and feature smooth, dense surfaces to minimise opportunities for the growth and dissemination of micro organisms. Thanks to their reflective surface, curved panels can be specified to create light scopes or to make the most of high level (clearstory) glazing or window walls.
To simplify handling, eliminate waste and minimise transport, the light weight panels are fabricated and cut to size off-site, which also minimises dust from on-site finishing. Unlike conventional panels, the “airport of the future” panels contain no potentially harmful urea-formaldehyde resins and release no volatile organic compounds on the project site.
Thanks to their light weight, the panels place minimal dead load on superstructure and provide easy access to equipment located above ceilings and inside wall panels.
Also made by Ceilings Plus are Arboreal panels,, which comprise real wood veneers on a recycled aluminium core. The aluminium content is up to 98% recycled (sourced from local supplies) and, if it is necessary to recycle panels, there are ready markets for scrap metal and the materials can be recycled repeatedly without degradation of value.
The wood veneers are also environmentally sustainable and can be provided with certified wood and a chain-of-custody certificate.
The success of the Ceilings Plus panels at Sea-Tac has prompted their installation at another, very different facility, which is equally committed to reducing its environmental impact - the new Doha Airport in Qatar.
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