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Green Building

Fuel Farm

The Airport replaced its old fuel farm with a new updated fuel farm that began operation in December 2009. This new fuel farm has provided the airport with many improvements which will help prevent negative environmental impacts due to the use and storage of jet fuel.

Jet fuel was previously stored off site and trucked to the Airport. With the new fuel farm, the Airport is able to eliminate emissions from trucking fuel to the facility from off site. Fuel is now pumped through underground pipes which helps protect our air quality, natural resources and prevents road congestion and unnecessary trucking of fuel to the Airport.

Due to growth of the airport and airline travel, additional fuel storage capacity was provided to meet increased jet fuel demands. The new fuel farm has above ground tanks with the latest technology to ensure protection of soil and water and more efficient and reliable equipment. An underground pipeline transports fuel from the tank farm to the new dispensing island with the latest in technology in spill control and underground fuel transport.

Materials and Finishes

Terminal B was designed to meet LEED requirements. One requirement is to use materials and finishes that have recycled content or are harvested locally. Over 50% of wood used in building Terminal B was Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified. Construction waste was reused where possible an overall 90% of scrap waste was recycled including concrete, wood, metal, sheetrock, cardboard, plastic. The demolished apron (the area where aircraft are parked and boarded) was able to be reused in the new apron as a crushed rock base.

Other Recycled Materials Used During Construction:

  • Structural steel 80%
  • Carpet 35%
  • Ceramic Tile 45%


Building material choices are important in sustainable design. A product’s life has environmental impacts associated with each of the various lifecycle stages including extraction, harvest, processing, manufacturing, transportation, use, maintenance, and disposal. Using recycled and salvaged materials can help conserve natural resources while simultaneously reducing landfill waste. Using regionally produced materials helps support local industries and reduces the need for transportation. Using rapidly renewable materials minimizes natural resource consumption because materials in this class have a shorter harvest cycle than typical materials. Using certified wood ensures proper stewardship of forests and related ecosystems.

Building techniques to help conserve energy were implemented as well to lighten our impact. Material used on the new building is white with a high solar reflectance index. It reduces the heat island effect of the large building which will bring ambient temperature down around the terminal area. Another added benefit is energy efficiency by keeping the building cooler and therefore reducing the use of air conditioning on hot days. Our design uses our abundant windows to bring the outside in. The walls of windows provide more comfort for occupants and connection with the outdoors. We save energy by using natural lighting instead of electric lighting throughout the daylight hours.

Energy Efficiency and Performance

According to the US DOE buildings use 39% of energy and 79% of electricity produced each year in the US.

Terminal B was designed to optimize energy performance exceeding California Title 24 standards by 16%. Some important elements that assist in this effort include occupancy sensors and a programmable lighting control system to optimize the efficiency of lighting. As well as a central plant for heating and cooling on the Airport campus which uses circulating water and is more efficient than conventional roof top units.

Seventy percent of Terminal B’s energy purchase is green power. This is defined as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact small hydroelectric by the U.S. EPA. This purchase will offset 18,811,996 lbs of CO2 over a two year period.

A 3.4 acre solar array on the roof of the Consolidated Rental Car Facility provides one megawatt or 20% of the power for the structure, which includes car washes and a fueling system. This system reduces overall utility costs and works towards achieving the City of San Jose’s Green Vision goal of receiving 100% of electrical power from clean renewable sources.

Signage at the Airport is more energy efficient and helps customers to find their way easily. , SJC turned to the local firm Silicon Constellations for their thin-panel light modules. Three hundred of the sleek, double-sided signs were installed, netting more than a 70% energy reduction.

Green Cleaning and Indoor Air Quality

Americans spend an average of 90% of their time indoors where the air quality can be significantly worse than outdoors. The construction of SJC’s new Terminal received a 13 out of 15 possible Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits for Indoor Air Quality. SJC implemented many different measures to achieve this rating to protect the indoor air that occupants are breathing.

SJC has a green cleaning policy that ensures that all cleaning is done in the least toxic manner possible. The Airport uses Green Seal Certified janitorial products ( to clean restrooms, common area floors and surfaces. The products are plant based and do not contain petrochemicals which can harm the people or the environment on extraction, use and disposal. Green Seal is a non-profit independent certification group that develops its “less toxic” standards for cleaning products with widespread input from industry, government, academia, and the public. By using less toxic products we protect staff and visitor’s health.


The majority of the airport’s hard floor surfaces are terrazzo. Traditionally terrazzo floors are polished with chemicals – a process involving stripping and polishing the floor numerous times per year. In place of using highly volatile chemicals to keep a shiny finish on the floors, SJC’s terrazzo floors have a diamond polished finish, which can be cleaned with soap and water. This eliminates the need to use stripper, sealer and finishes which require more labor and use of products which can contain volatile chemicals. This more sustainable method of floor care addresses the triple bottom line by reducing chemical use, labor costs, and most importantly protecting worker and customer health.

We also reduced our environmental impact and ensured healthy indoor air quality by selecting low volatile organic compound (VOC) paints, carpets, furniture, fixtures, and equipment.

The new ventilation system was designed to exceed the minimum ventilation rates of standard buildings, balancing energy with indoor air quality to optimize efficiency and occupant health.