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Green technology set to take off on BAA airport schemes

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The British Airports Authority is embarking on a programme of sustainable building, starting with the inclusion of photovoltaic cells into a new GMW Partnership-designed pier at Gatwick Airport. BAA is also examining including the cells in the cladding of the planned Terminal 5 building at Heathrow, as well as incorporating water recycling features.

BAA design director Michael Forster said:

'With renewable energy you can either sit on the side and do the sums, or you can dive in and see how it works.We're keen to get some experience as opposed to doing a desktop exercise. This is something we've all got to understand.'

The new 12-gate pier at Gatwick will incorporate photovoltaic cells in the upper half of the double-height facade. The cells will be highly visible and explanatory notices will be designed into the structure to let passengers know what is going on. However, the cells will generate only a small proportion of the pier's total energy needs.

The pier will be accessed by a footbridge designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects. Traversing a taxiway, the bridge will be high enough to allow a Boeing 747 to pass underneath. Construction began last month and the structure is scheduled for completion in spring 2003. BAA's full sustainable agenda is to be announced on 19 September.

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