San Francisco International Airport: Terminal 2


All Case Studies

Project Highlights

LEED Gold Certified

Price Products Used:  Displacement Ventilation

Project Type:  Renovation, Large Public Space

Project Cost (construction cost):  $383 million

Year Completed:  April 2011

Building Square Footage:  640,000 ft2

Lead Architect:  Gensler

Associate Architects:  Michael Willis Architects, Hamilton Aitken Architects

Mechanical Engineer:  SJ Engineers

Sculptor:  Janet Echelman

Price Representative:  Norman S. Wright

San Francisco International Airport: Terminal 2

Energy Savings Soar with Price Displacement Ventilation

Originally opened as the Central Terminal in 1954, San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 2 (SFO T2) served both domestic and international passengers for 46 years before being closed indefinitely in 2000. It wasn’t until 2008, with the airport experiencing increased passenger traffic, that a plan for Terminal 2’s revitalization was launched. Reopened in the spring of 2011, Terminal 2 is now the home of Virgin America and American Airlines.

The design of the new terminal set out to redefine the travel experience by reducing the airports environmental impact and providing travelers with a unique “San Francisco” flavor. The state of the art domestic terminal displays the artwork of local artists and includes such sustainable features as reclaimed water in the restrooms and the utilization of as much natural lighting as possible.

With sustainability in mind, a Price Displacement Ventilation (DV) system was selected as it provides fresh clean air, all while saving energy.

At Price’s state of the art research laboratory, a mockup and smoke test demonstrated the displacement diffusers ability to meet the energy efficiency goals the customer desired. These diffusers were seamlessly integrated into the Architect’s design for the terminal.

The Challenge: Architecturally Beautiful Energy Efficiency

Two crucial goals for the design of the new terminal included minimizing the building’s environmental footprint and achieving LEED certification, making energy efficiency a key priority. In addition to this requirement, the selected air distribution system would have to compliment the aesthetic of the terminal.

Meeting the unique aesthetic requirements of the building dictated the need for architecturally appealing, custom designed diffuser faces while ensuring that performance would not be impared by the custom coverings and modifications.

Design Team Profile


Gensler is a design, planning and strategic consulting firm networked across 38 locations on five continents. Consistently ranked by U.S. and international industry surveys as a leading architecture and interior design firm, Gensler leverages its deep resources and diverse expertise to develop design solutions for industries across the globe. For its longstanding commitment to the advancement of sustainable design, Gensler received the Leadership Award from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2005. Visit for more information, including an interactive map of SFO T2.

SJ Engineers

Driven by a design philosophy that emphasizes energy efficiency and sustainability, SJ Engineers has designed numerous high performance projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. They deliver cost effective mechanical, plumbing and fire protection solutions for a variety of building types, ranging from commercial to healthcare facilities.

The Solution: Price Designs Custom Displacement Ventilation System

The high ceilings of T2 meant that Displacement Ventilation (DV) would be an ideal solution, providing the ability to condition only the occupied zone and not the large space above it. This approach reduces the supply air volume required, allowing the mechanical equipment servicing the space to be downsized, thereby reducing utility costs.

The higher supply air temperature of DV (around 65 °F or 18 °C) also enables the building to utilize economizer hours to take advantage of “free cooling,” which further improves energy efficiency by enabling the HVAC system to increase the outdoor air supplied to the space when the outdoor environment compliments the goals of the air distribution system.

These energy savings were critical to the terminal achieving its sustainable design goals and LEED targets. LEED points were also awarded for the high levels of thermal comfort and air quality provided by the DV system.

The architectural firm, Gensler, had previously collaborated with Price and Norman S. Wright to develop custom displacement diffusers for the Terminal B Concourse at San Jose Mineta International Airport (see the Price case study library for a summary of this project). Armed with a new vision, the firms again collaborated to design diffusers that would complement the aesthetic of the new terminal and presented their solution to the owner.

By working closely together they developed multiple iterations of designs and prototypes, ultimately resulting in lab tests to ensure that performance was in no way impaired by the custom architectural coverings, specialized geometry and finishes.

Price validated the performance of these custom solutions at the state-of-the-art testing facilities at Price Research Center North. Smoke test videos demonstrated to the entire design team that the performance of the displacement diffusers is in no way hindered by the enhancements. Satisfied that the custom diffusers would perform as expected and integrate well into the design of the terminal, the team approved them for installation.

Since reopening, the terminal has provided a fresh and comfortable experience for travelers, with Price’s Displacement Diffusers continuing to play a key role in the building’s long-term environmental sustainability.

Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved - Price Industries
2975 Shawnee Ridge Court - Suwanee, Georgia 30024 - (770) 623-8050