DIA Expansion Gains LEED Gold Certification

The four-gate B-West concourse at Colorado's main airport features outdoor patios with firepits.

The LEED-certified B-West concourse at Denver International Airport features an outdoor deck with firepits. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Denver International Airport

The B-West expansion at Denver International Airport, which opened in November 2020 with four new gates, has earned LEED Gold certification for sustainability. This is DIA's fifth building with LEED certification, a nod to the airport’s commitment to sustainability.

“One of the guiding principles of our Vision 100 plan is to reduce environmental impacts and become one of the most sustainable airports in the world as we grow to 100 million passengers annually,” said Phil Washington, the airport's CEO. “The B-West Expansion project is an early example of that commitment — a beautiful facility that utilizes sustainable technologies to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs while providing more room for our airlines to grow, and improved amenities for our passengers.”

The LEED gold project featured an advanced energy-efficient design that is projected to use about 20 percent less energy than a typical building through factors including:

  • A 40 percent reduction in interior lighting;
  • Reduced exterior lighting;
  • Energy recovery of exhaust air and outdoor air
  • Offices fitted with occupancy sensors to reduce electricity use on overhead lighting
  • DIA’s first rooftop solar-photovoltaic array; and
  • Glass technology to reduce solar heat gain and subsequent cooling required in the building.

Among other sustainability notes, the project recycled more than 90 percent of all waste generated onsite; and ground-down concrete was reused as backfill for the construction and other sites at the airport, as well as throughout the Denver region. More than 20 percent of materials used for the new concourse had been recycled. Indoor water demand has been reduced by 45 percent, as high-efficiency plumbing fixtures were installed throughout, including more efficient toilets and faucets.

B-West was the first of four gate expansion areas to open and is part of the Gate Expansion Project, which added a total of 39 new gates across all three concourses. DIA is increasing its gate capacity by 30 percent to accommodate ongoing airline growth. The rest of the new gates on A-East, B-East and C-West will open in 2022 with the goal of reaching LEED Gold certification for all three areas.

United Airlines has been using the four gates and six passenger areas of B-West since Thanksgiving 2020; the new space includes an outdoor deck with firepits.