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The Revolutionary Airport in Galapagos

A location inspired Darwin and his unique and revolutionary theory about the species evolution: the famous Galapagos Islands – Ecuador. In 2010 the Galapagos Islands have been removed from the risk area Unesco’s list, thanks to the government’s efforts in order to protect the biodiversity, controlling fishing and tourism actions.

The growth of human beings in the islands, according to several scientists, represents a danger for the local biodiversity. Nevertheless, few months ago, in one of the islands constituting the archipelago, the Baltra Island, has been built a new airport. The latter has been built with 80% of recycled materials and it works mainly through wind and photovoltaic energy.

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The terminal measures about six thousand square meters and it is characterized by a recycled steel structure. The internal spaces are enlighten by natural light thanks to the glass-wall and thanks to skylights cover. The ventilation works naturally and it is facilitated by splits close to the skylights and by sensor-working mechanical air changing system. It has been designed also a desalination system in order to use the seawater, reducing the water consumption. Solar and photovoltaic plants take to zero the energy consumption.

All material choices have been done with the environmental impact reduction goal, according to the noble principles of localized production: they choose the materials according to the vicinity with the airport of producing and distributing companies, utilizing the volcanic rocks of the island too. Jorge Rocillo, technical and administrative Baltra airport’s manager, wrote “sustainability is the main characteristic of this airport, it is an infrastructure where technologies, passengers comfort and environmental respect live together“.

Nonetheless the minimum environmental impact of the building, the structure created many uncertainties in ecologists, who mainly reported the increasing of tourists arriving in Galapagos Islands every year. But nobody could deny that this infrastructure is the first airport ever which obtained the LEED Gold Certification (architectural and building sustainability).

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