Montréal’s International Airport Earns LEED Certification
Green Initiatives at Montréal’s Trudeau International Airport Jetty Leads to First LEED Certification.
International traffic to and from Montréal has grown significantly in recent years, with the addition of new flights and new airlines serving the destination. The Montréal–Trudeau Airport (YUL) has kept pace, using this growth as an opportunity to expand its infrastructure and improve the customer experience for travellers transiting through this international hub. The international jetty expansion project echoes the city’s commitment to sustainable development, and the new jetty (or gate areas) incorporate six key environmental elements to earn Montréal-Trudeau its first LEED certification.
Countering the Island Effect
Airport environments face unique design challenges: for operational and security reasons, all ground areas must be covered with hard surfaces (concrete, asphalt) and no trees or vegetation is permitted. This creates a heat island effect, where materials absorb the sun’s heat and release it back into the environment. To counter this effect, designers opted for a white roof: the heat-welded membrane contains highly reflective white granules that reflect, rather than absorb, heat.
Restrooms in the new jetty are fitted with low-flow equipment, which translates into annual water savings of over 5 million litres (1.4 million gallons) – the equivalent of 50 Olympic pools per year. Reducing the consumption of drinking water in buildings has a significant impact on the entire ecosystem: it places less demand on rivers and lakes, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions and chemicals from water treatment facilities.
The airport’s heat recovery strategies include an energy-efficient building envelope and mechanical systems, LED lighting in all public spaces, variable-speed (energy-saving mode) escalators and moving walkways, light-level sensors to control the use of artificial lighting and motorized blinds to optimize natural light and reduce heat build-up from direct sunlight. A two-year contract is also in the works to use energy produced from renewable energy sources (wind, solar).
The waste management program during construction of the jetty diverted about 95% of construction waste away from landfills. The airport also launched a recycling and composting program for the management of residual materials throughout the building. Strategically-placed bins make it easy for travellers and airport staff to help reduce waste.
Making Smart Choices
Whenever possible, designers chose recycled or locally-sourced material as well as FSC-certified wood. About 14% of the materials, from steel structures and gypsum to bathroom partitions and floor coverings, contained recycled material and 26% of materials were locally-sourced. To foster the long-term health of forest ecosystems, 71% of wood-based materials and products are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
Air quality was taken very seriously throughout the construction process. All adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings and floor coverings were chosen to meet VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) content limits and none of the composite wood products and agricultural fiber products contained added urea formaldehyde resin. Air quality prior to opening was maximized using 100% outdoor air ventilation for several days. And, of course, Montréal–Trudeau has been totally smoke-free for over a decade.