Build Sustainably

Emphasizing Sustainability with Every Retrofit

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is in the midst of a multi-year restroom improvement program that, when completed, will touch close to 100 sets of public and semi-public bathrooms.
But way before the first hammer swing, designers recognized this as an opportunity to take a deep dive into sustainable design best practices. The result has been a greatly improved experience across the board for all of our guests, and a significant investment in the local economy.


Spotlight - Mercury Mosaics

Mercedes Austin, Mercury Mosaics owner, started her business 15 years ago and began working on residential and commercial installations in 2010. Recruiting from local art schools such as the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and from Mn Artists, a program of the Walker Art Center, Mercedes employs 23 individuals in handcrafting ceramic tiles made from clay sourced from the Midwest.
Noticing the distinctive work installed at MSP, art curators for local stadium projects contacted Mercury Mosaics for their own projects. Mercedes says the uniqueness and visibility of the MSP installations has resulted in Mercury's ability to move from a 5,100 square foot space to a 15,000 square foot space. The new space allows the company to hire more people and be more active locally.

Green Roof

Completed in 2016, MSP's first green roof - located at Terminal 2 - is home to a variety of plants, including blue fescue, reed grass, and Virginia creeper. This vegetation keeps the roof cooler than a standard roof, extending its life and providing more insulation for the terminal below. Rainwater runoff is reduced by the moisture required for the plants.



Goal — Enhance the sustainability of our existing and future built environment
2017 – 2021 Objectives:
  • Integrate and manage the objectives of sustainability building standards and enhanced accessibility into planning and design
  • Minimize facilities and infrastructure lifecycle costs while maximizing their affordability, efficiency, utilization, and customer experience
  • Develop a strategy for sustainability-related data management and reporting processes to inform decision-making

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Eco-Friendly Restrooms
Clean, functional restrooms are a key component of customer satisfaction at airports. For our restroom remodels we wanted to keep sustainability in mind while being sure every design decision improved the customer's experience. We've accomplished that through product selection, and technology advancements that result in water and energy use reductions and include using the airport's badging system to track when a restroom is cleaned. A cleaning crew member scans her or his badge at the beginning of a cleaning and again upon finishing. The clean is noted automatically on electronic signage located just outside the restroom and the next cleaning is scheduled. A more subtle technology was also employed to help reduce the time a restroom is closed. Registers installed at floor level run at a higher setting when the restroom is in cleaning mode, helping floors dry more quickly after mopping.
Public restrooms are important! We get better with each prototype, and look forward to enhancing this aspect of your travel experience!
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Greening our Checked Baggage System
Providing your best airport experience includes efficient passenger processing, which is why we've invested in an energy-saving system to process baggage at Terminal 2-Humphrey. The new design utilizes 100 percent LED fixtures, high-efficiency motors that are able to adjust to the load - making them more efficient - advanced air quality detection, and a heat recovery system.
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Build Onsite Solar Generation
Through careful review, we selected solar as a significant opportunity for us to reduce our increase our energy infrastructure's resilience, reduce our long-term spend on energy, and invest in renewable energy. Our 4.3MW solar array installation is one of the largest solar arrays in the state of Minnesota.
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Incorporate Energy Efficiency into Design
We have invested in reducing our energy, and specifically our electricity use, for several decades. In 1999 we established the MAC Energy Conservation Program, known as MECP, to dedicate focus to reducing our energy use.
Since its founding, we have reduced our carbon footprint by 30 percent!