San Diego International Airport became the first in the world to be awarded LEED Platinum — the highest environmental certification possible — for its new energy-efficient green terminal.

Sustainable features of the new terminal include a 3.3-megawatt solar array, low-flow water fixtures, drought-tolerant landscaping, energy-efficient or natural lighting, reflective roofs, storm drainage management and non-toxic interior construction materials and paints.

“Not only were we able to reduce our environmental footprint during the construction process, but we’ve constructed a new terminal that will be 32 percent more energy efficient than the standard code,” said Turner Construction operations manager Dan McGuckin.

The $907 million Green Build project, which installed ten new gates with parking, was completed $45 million under budget.

The solar panels on the terminal rooftop and parking lot will be installed under a separate contract to be completed later this year. A private investor will pay for the installation and sell the energy it produces back to the airport at a lower cost than would the local utility. The 20-year contract is a win-win deal for both Borrego Solar Systems and the Airport Authority, which expects to save 10-13% on their energy costs over the period.

In 2012, San Diego also became the first commercial airport in the US to install LEDs on its runways, guard lights, and airfield signs, lowering the airport’s electricity costs by $27,000 per month, according to Clean Technica.

(Read about more of the airport’s sustainability successes at