LaGuardia Airport Terminal B Redevelopment Receives First Envision Platinum Award for Industry-Leading Approach to Sustainability and Resilience

The Skanska-led Project is First to Achieve Highest Recognition from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure Under New Envision v3 Framework

LaGuardia Airport Airside

Skanska, lead partner in the Skanska-Walsh construction joint venture for the LaGuardia Airport Terminal B Redevelopment, today announced that the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) has awarded the terminal redevelopment project the Envision Platinum Certification. Envision recognizes projects that lead the industry in their approach to sustainable and resilient infrastructure development. Envision Platinum is the highest level of recognition within ISI’s awards program.

The Terminal B redevelopment – of which the design and construction is led by the Skanska-Walsh Joint Venture – is the first project to achieve recognition from ISI at any level under its newly updated Envision v3 framework. This new framework evaluates projects across five categories and 64 sustainability criteria to produce a holistic view of the project’s commitment to leading edge, sustainable practices. This includes traditional factors, such as reducing emissions, recycling materials, and using renewable energy sources, as well as more holistic indicators of social and economic sustainability, such as minimizing construction impacts, providing employment opportunities for local residents, resilient design and improving mobility and access.

LaGuardia Airport Concourse-A
LaGuardia Airport Concourse-A

“This recognition reflects the passion and commitment of the Port Authority and the entire team to deliver an instant landmark and an intelligent investment,” said Beth Heider, Skanska USA Chief Sustainability Officer. “As both a construction and long-term development partner, Skanska is proud of Envision’s verification that this project is bringing measurable, long-term benefit to those frequent Terminal B – and to the planet at large.”

The LaGuardia Terminal B project – valued at $5.1B (including $4B in construction value) is the largest public-private partnership in US aviation history. The redevelopment includes a new 35-gate terminal, a Central Hall, a parking garage, related roadways and supporting infrastructure – all with innovative construction phasing, including building over-top of the current operation, to allow the terminal to remain fully functional while under construction. When complete, the Terminal B guest experience will be completely redefined. The new Terminal will offer best-in-class retail, food, beverage, and amenities that will more than double the current number of offerings. Dual pedestrian bridges will span active aircraft taxi lanes – a first in the world – and connect the main part of the terminal to two island concourses. Passengers will walk above aircraft as they make their way to their gate, all while enjoying views of the iconic Manhattan skyline. In addition, this island and bridge design will increase the taxi-way space for aircraft. Terminal B will truly celebrate the best of New York – and serve as a gateway we can all be proud of.

LaGuardia Airport West Parking Garage
LaGuardia Airport West Parking Garage

To qualify for the rigorous Envision Platinum certification, Skanska-Walsh demonstrated that its planning, design, and construction approach will deliver a range of social, environmental, and economic benefits to the local community – both during the life of the project and long into the future. The unique Public-Private Partnership (P3) structure of this project allowed Skanska to work closely with each of the project stakeholders – including: LaGuardia Gateway Partners (LGP), the Terminal B operator and developer; the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; WSP; HOK and Vantage Airport Group; as well as the local community – to implement industry-leading sustainability features while maintaining an aggressive project schedule. 

“As the first transportation agency to embrace the Paris Climate Agreement, the Port Authority is committed to best practices in reducing its carbon footprint at the brand new LaGuardia Airport as well as our other facilities. Sustainable design and construction are critically important in our work to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gases,” said Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority. “We are delighted with this recognition of the high bar the Port Authority has set for its sustainability efforts.”

“We are honored to receive the Envision Platinum award for our work in redesigning Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport,” said Stewart Steeves, CEO of LaGuardia Gateway Partners. “Since day one, our priority has been building a terminal that offers a first-class guest experience and has a minimal environmental footprint. We’ve worked closely with Skanska-Walsh to create a design and construction approach that allows us to revamp Terminal B in a sustainable fashion, and this award demonstrates our overall commitment to this goal.”

In demolishing existing structures and building the new Terminal B and adjacent facilities, Skanska-Walsh has gone to great lengths to reduce waste and reuse and recycle materials to minimize the project’s environmental footprint. For example, during the demolition of the original Terminal B parking garage, the team was able to recycle 21,604 tons of concrete from the demolition of the original parking structure. Of this recycled concrete, 2,475 tons – roughly five million pounds – were reused on the adjacent job site. Overall, 99.92% of debris removed from the old parking garage was recycled.

Skanska-Walsh also reused groundwater pumped from excavations to make light weight concrete instead of tapping potable water sources. The Envision Platinum award also recognized Skanska-Walsh’s efforts to promote worksite safety and minimize noise, vibration, and other construction impacts on the local community.

The new facility was also designed with sustainability in mind to help generate energy and water savings and reduce emissions once the project is complete. Skanska-Walsh is installing an advanced building management system that will allow LGP to monitor and optimize its performance. Design considerations such as new baggage handling system, sophisticated building envelope, solar water heaters, and large skylights and wall-to-ceiling windows that reduce the need for lighting will result in a 19% net energy savings when the project is complete. New efficient fixtures and rain water harvesting will also allow for a 40% reduction in water use. Furthermore the new island concourses and roadway systems will create more efficient aircraft movement patterns as well as reduce traffic on local roads, thereby reducing fuel consumption by planes and cars and other vehicles. Lastly, major efforts have been made to design and build a resilient terminal including flood proofing and locating critical infrastructure above flood zones including projected sea-level rise. 

LaGuardia Airport Aerial View
LaGuardia Airport Aerial View

The Envision Platinum award also recognizes Skanska-Walsh’s efforts to go above-and-beyond in engaging the local community and considering a wide range of factors that fall outside the traditional definition of sustainability. In 2017, Skanska-Walsh established the Connect Committee, a group of Skanska Walsh team members who have initiated dozens of community programs ranging from cultural events to outreach partnerships with nearby shelters and pantries to an eight week academic program to teach local kids the fundamentals of 3D virtual design

One notable outcome of Skanska-Walsh’s efforts to work with the local community is a new partnership with Elmjack Little League, whose fields are located adjacent to LaGuardia Airport. As part of this partnership, Skanska will complete a $1.8 million overhaul of the Elmjack Little League facilities, including a complete reorientation and leveling of the fields, drainage and irrigation systems and installing new dugouts, backstops, and other player facilities. In recognition of the importance of modern, connected public transit systems to a city’s long-term economic and environmental health, the project also scored points for a design that accommodates a future AirTrain connection at Terminal B. 

“The announcement of this award follows closely on the heels of the one-year anniversary since the launch of Envision v3,” said Melissa Peneycad, ISI’s Managing Director. “We could not have asked for a more impressive project than the $4 billion LaGuardia Central Terminal Building Redevelopment Project to bring awareness to the Envision v3 sustainable infrastructure framework; a framework that really raises the bar for sustainability. On behalf of ISI, I am proud and pleased to award this project Envision Platinum for sustainability. Congratulations to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and LaGuardia Gateway Partners on this tremendous achievement that demonstrates real leadership in sustainability.” 

This year, Fortune magazine ranked Skanska twentieth in its fifth annual “Change the World” list, which honors companies that use business tools to help the planet and tackle society’s unmet needs. Two major factors that led to Skanska’s inclusion were the company’s decision to align its sustainability strategy with the Paris international climate agreement and pursuit of the highest possible sustainability certifications for the LaGuardia Terminal B redevelopment and other infrastructure projects. 

In 2014, Skanska became a charter member in ISI, one of the first full-service contractors and developers to do so. As part of this partnership, Skanska provided expertise and support for the development of the newest Envision v3 framework.

This enduring commitment to sustainable infrastructure has led Skanska to achieve many firsts with Envision across the U.S. Along with LaGuardia Terminal B being the first project to achieve certification under the new v3 framework, Skanska delivered the first Envision-verified wastewater treatment plan in the U.S., 26th Ward Wastewater Treatment Plant; the first Envision Platinum certified transit project in the U.S., Expo Phase 2 Light Rail; the first Envision certified project in the state of Florida, I-4 Ultimate; and the first transit project in the Northeast to receive Envision certification, Boston Landing Station.

Earlier this year, Skanska’s 3.9-mile underground subway extension project, the Westside Subway Extension in Los Angeles, earned Envision Platinum. Currently, Skanska’s Northeastern ISEC Pedestrian Crossing project in Boston, Massachusetts and St. Petersburg Pier project in St. Petersburg, Florida are seeking Envision certification.

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