LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B achieves gold standard in green certification

Then-Vice President Joe Biden joined Governor Cuomo in the 2016 groundbreaking for the LaGuardia Airport redevelopment project, after likening it to a “third-world” airport. (Photo courtesy of governor’s office)

Seven years since then-Vice President Joe Biden likened LaGuardia Airport to one you would find in a “third-world country,” the first phase of its $8 billion reconstruction is nearing completion.

Biden helped break ground on the project in June 2016 and heard Governor Andrew Cuomo declare a complete transformation would get underway.

“Today, we are not just breaking ground,” Cuomo said. “We are building an entirely new LaGuardia and transforming it into a world-class transportation gateway for the 21st century.”

The sleek and modern Terminal B is more than 80 percent complete and it has now become the first airport project in the world to achieve the stringent LEED v4 Gold certification for building design and construction.

LaGuardia Terminal B (Photo courtesy of governor’s office)
LaGuardia Terminal B (Photo courtesy of governor’s office)

LEED, an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is the most widely used green building system in the world and has become an international symbol of excellence for projects that achieve a LEED certification.

The project at LaGuardia Airport includes a mix of sustainable strategies which meet specific benchmarks provided for energy sufficiency, water conservation, site selection, material selection and waste reduction.

“Achieving LEED v4 Gold status at Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport under the more stringent version 4 standards underscores our commitment to live up to ever higher sustainability targets as we completely transform LaGuardia from the ground up,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said. “We committed in 2018 to meet the Paris Climate Accord standards and we will continue to upgrade our sustainability targets to be consistent with President Biden’s recent enhanced climate goals.”

LaGuardia Gateway Partners, a consortium of developers, was selected by the Port Authority to build and operate Terminal B.

“LaGuardia Gateway Partners prioritized sustainability throughout the redevelopment project by building Terminal B to be as energy efficient as possible,” LaGuardia Gateway Partners CEO Stewart Steeves said. “As the long-term operators of Terminal B, we continue to look for ways to reduce our carbon footprint. I’m thrilled that we’ve been recognized by the U.S. Green Buildings Council with LEED v4 Gold designation for the project.”

LaGuardia Terminal B (Photo courtesy of governor’s office)

Following the demolition of the old parking garage, 99 percent of the debris was recycled into materials for new construction. To reduce summer cooling loads and greenhouse gas emissions, Terminal B’s roof was covered with a light-colored aluminum membrane that reflects solar heat more effectively than conventional materials.

The baggage handling system moves only when luggage is present on the system and goes into “sleep mode” when not in use, saving at least 37 percent of energy compared to airports using older technology.

“Skanska has a long, proud history of leadership in sustainable development and construction,” said Skanska Asset Management Executive Vice President Magnus Eriksson, who is also the chairman of the board of directors of LaGuardia Gateway Partners. “We are honored to have played a significant role in ensuring the new LaGuardia Terminal B serves as a beacon for responsible and sustainable infrastructure, while also providing a world-class experience for the people of New York.”