‘Green’ Terminal Is a First for Michigan

July 9, 2012

Pilots, passengers and other visitors to Oakland County International Airport (PTK) in southeastern Michigan have a new attraction to visit at the busy Detroit-area reliever airport: A state-of-the-art general aviation (GA) terminal building that is both attractive and environmentally friendly, having been certified to the LEED Gold standard.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

County officials said the new terminal is the first in the state, and the first general aviation terminal in the country, to receive this certification.

“We wanted visitors to have a positive impression of our community, to which the airport is the gateway, and that meant a professional and high-tech image,” said J. David VanderVeen, Oakland County’s director of central services. VanderVeen, who oversees the airport operations, said that the new building is operating with 44 percent greater energy efficiency than the former facility. It has features such as a large meeting room and catering kitchen available to airport tenants and other groups, as well as an expanded U.S. Customs area that can handle up to 70 passengers per flight.

VanderVeen said that the $7.5 million, 15,000 square foot terminal building utilizes green technologies, such as geothermal heating and cooling, wind and solar electricity generation, a solar hot water heater, a living wall of tropical rain forest plants that clean the air inside the building, and highly efficient fluorescent and LED lighting. There are even electric car charging stations, and recycled materials were used in construction.

“People coming to see an energy-efficient building also get a great impression of the airport,” said VanderVeen, noting that an outdoor public viewing area of the airport is adjacent to the terminal building.

The new building also sports a Pitts Special biplane suspended from the terminal ceiling, and historical documents are on display, including the nation’s first airport certificate to PTK (then known as Pontiac Municipal Airport) and a document commemorating Michigan’s first air tour in 1929, signed by Orville Wright.

PTK serves as a reliever to Detroit Metro (DTW). The annual economic impact of PTK on the regional economy is estimated at $175 million.

Bob Quinn, NBAA’s central regional representative, noted PTK’s importance as a reliever to Detroit Metro, and praised local and state officials for their support of aviation in the state.

“Their commitment to the aviation infrastructure in Michigan is commendable,” said Quinn, adding that airport construction – like the new terminal at PTK – helps provide jobs in addition to upgrading aviation facilities.