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Virgin America, SFO Debut First LEED Gold-Certified Terminal

November 18, 2010 By: Melanie Gretchen

San Francisco International Airport's Terminal 2In collaboration with San Franciso International Airport (SFO) leadership and the architecture and interior firm, Gensler, Virgin America has released details of its home base in the first LEED Gold-certified airport terminal in the United States in Terminal 2 (T2) of SFO. Set for completion in spring 2011, the $383 million, sustainable-design terminal will measure 640,000 square feet.

In T2, the airline will operate out of seven of the terminal's 14 gates. David Cush, CEO and President of Virgin America, said, "As a new carrier and as the only California-based airline, we've had an opportunity to build sustainable practices into our operations from day one. We've also utilized the latest in design to enhance the traveler experience - and we hope, elevate the journey beyond just getting from Point A to Point B." Following completion, the airline anticipates its T2 spaces will achieve Platinum certification, the highest possible LEED status.

Its sustainable build and design features include:

*    The wide use of natural light, modern ventilation systems that require 20 percent less energy and a reclaimed water reuse program;
*    Hydration Stations to allow flyers to fill reusable water bottles after security
*    The first airport dining program in the country to recruit Slow Food vendors, featuring organic food vendors, providing food locally grown
*    The completion of a Multi-Modal Hub connecting to the Bay Area Regional Transportation System (BART), facilitating easy travel by mass transit in and out of San Francisco
*    Natural light through skylights and clerestories bringing daylight into the ticketing lobby and retail areas, creating a healthier work environment and significantly reducing electricity usage in the day
*    The recycle of 90 percent of construction and demolition debris, meeting SFO's requirements of ongoing source separation of all recyclable solid waste to enable the attainment of 75 percent recycling by 2010 and 90 percent recycling by 2020
*    Preferential parking for hybrid cars

In addition, within T2, travelers can take advantage of high-end design, high-tech amenities and entertainment and dining features. These include:

*    "Mood-lit" LED ticket counters that mirror the airline's distinctive cabin moodlighting, which transitions based on outside light
*    Gates designed with beautiful "living room" like spaces
*    Upscale "Slow Food" concessions focusing on locally produced menus
*    Common spaces for travelers to shop, relax, work, eat and play within visual sight of their gate
*    In line with the airline's signature cabin music, moodlighting, seating and design, T2's Recomposure Zone will create a stress-reducing oasis for travelers and feature a hanging art installation entitled "Air Ocean" by Janet Echelman
*    Laptop plug-in stations, elevated work counters and free wireless throughout
*    A baggage claim area with illuminated soffits inspired by San Francisco's distinctive cloud patterns.  The area is described by designers as a hybrid piece of "kinetic art," exposing how the device delivers bags to travelers, while also efficiently distributing conditioned air.

Since its inception in 2007, the airline has used environmentally sustainable practices ranging from organic hand-soap in the lavatories to practices and training including single engine taxiing, utilizing advanced avionics to fly more efficiently and cost index flying. It is a sponsor of California State Parks Foundation restoration projects and a member of Ceres, a coalition of investors, environmental groups and public interest organizations focused on sustainability challenges.


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