GPW: Heritage Flight

January 12, 2012 at 6:11 pm Project of the Week: 1/09/12
Heritage Flight
South Burlington, VT, USA
15,000 sf.  Greenroof

Year: 2009
Owner: Heritage Aviation, Inc.
Location: South Burlington, VT, USA
Building Type: Aviation
Type: Extensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 15,000 sq. ft.
Slope: 1%
Access: Accessible, By Appointment

Project Description & Details

Heritage Aviation is an environmentally green LEED Gold aviation campus FBO  in the Green Mountains of Vermont. This highly sustainable expansion project re-uses an existing empty hangar as the core for a new building. Careful consideration was given to reduce the impact of this project on the site and the surrounding community infrastructure.

Designed by landscape architect and greenroof designer, Jeff Hodgson, partner with H. Keith Wagner Partnership, the Heritage Flight LiveRoof ® Standard System greenroof has multiple plant mixes in the design. Architects TruexCullins incorporated many ecologically responsible design elements including a parking lot made with pervious pavement and a 35,000-gallon tank that collects rainwater from the roof which is used for washing airplanes and site irrigation. Heritage Aviation is the first GA facility in the U.S. to have an FAA-approved community-scale wind turbine on site; it supplements solar panels.

Watch Heritage Aviation’s “Smarter, Greener Building” short video on YouTube.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Modular Greenroof System: LiveRoof ® Standard System
Building Architect: TruexCullins
Grower: PridesCorner Farms Wholesale Nursery
Installation: Witness Tree Group, LLC
General Contractor: Engelberth Construction
Waterproofing System: Firestone
Slip Sheet Product: Firestone
Landscape Architect & Greenroof Designer: Jeff Hodgson,  H. Keith Wagner Partnership


Additional Info

Heritage Aviation, Inc. is the corporate entity that houses the three specialized business divisions  at  Burlington International Airport (BTV): Heritage Flight, Heritage Maintenance Services, and the new 24/7 FBO  (fixed base operator).  Designed by hometown architects TruexCullins, the company says their new FBO is the perfect complement to their award-winning maintenance, avionics and charter divisions.

Along with  TruexCullins  Architecture and Interior Design, on June 30, 2011, Heritage Aviation received the 2011 Vermont Govenor’s Environmental Excellence in Resource Conservation Award.  It was also honored with the Efficiency Vermont’s 2010 Best of the Best Award in Commercial Building Design & Construction and the Burlington Business Association’s Hertzel N. Pasackow Architectural Excellence Award.

Heritage Aviation opened its environmentally green FBO at Burlington International Airport in the Green Mountains of Vermont on May 20, 2010.

“Heritage Aviation is committed to protecting the environment, the health and safety of our employees, and the community in which we conduct our business. It is our policy to seek improvements throughout our business operations to lessen our impact on the local and global environment by conserving energy, water, and other natural resources; reducing waste generation; recycling and purchasing recycled products; and reducing our use of toxic materials. We are committed to pollution prevention, continual improvement and meeting or exceeding all environmental regulatory requirements.” ~  Heritage Aviation

In fact, Heritage Aviation’s policy is to “give preference to suppliers whose products have environmental friendly attributes that reduce natural resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the product life cycle, maximize post consumer recycled content, minimize toxicity and packaging, or have any other environmentally preferable attributes, with comparable quality and price.”

They point out that even their building is recycled – originally constructed in  1954 as an Army National Guard hangar, the building was stripped to its steel and concrete skeleton and reborn as the present 80,000-square foot state-of-the-art facility.

The new facility offers comprehensive amenities including a roof-top observation deck, flight-planning room, conference room, lounge, gym, game room,  movie theater, quiet rooms for the pilots, aircraft owners, and passengers to rest, heated hangar space, and U.S. Customs on site – tour the facilities here.

According to the website, some of the key  energy-efficiency measures and environmental  design aspects of the new FBO include:

– “One of the largest green roofs in New England. Rainwater that falls on the rooftop vegetation is then collected and re-used for aircraft cleaning and irrigation. The roof also keeps the building warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

– On-site renewable energy production, including solar panels and a 100-kW FAA-approved wind turbine, the first ever installed at an airport.

– A fleet of zero-emission electric ground vehicles, including four aircraft tug vehicles and an electric cherry picker.

– A parking lot constructed from pervious pavement, a porous substitute for traditional asphalt, that allows water to be absorbed into the ground rather than pouring into storm drains.

– Extensive use of skylights and daylighting in the hangar, plus all-white paint that allows natural light to reflect as much as possible, saving about 200 kilowatt hours for every day the facility is in use. It also makes for a more pleasant work environment for our crew.

– A lighting system that monitors the available natural light and responds accordingly to provide the optimum balance of natural and artificial light throughout the building.

– Solar-powered hot water.

– Locally sourced and eco-friendly construction materials.”

The large modular  LiveRoof ® greenroof was the crowning jewel of the stormwater management strategy. Yet there are also stormwater detention basins at Heritage Aviation, below, and the huge 87,117 sf pervious parking lot.

Landscape architect Jeff Hodgson, of H. Keith Wagner Partnership, says  the remnants of the existing asphalt parking lot were removed and recycled, and replaced with a 47,486 square foot permeable concrete parking lot that filters rainwater, helps recharge the ground water,and reduces the amount of water entering the storm water system significantly.  Add that to the  35,000-gallon rainwater harvesting tank below it, and you’ve designed a great system!

“The vegetated roof retains the first 1″ of rainfall that falls on it, with the excess directed toward underground irrigation tanks.  When installed, this was the largest green roof in New England, and it remains today the largest in Vermont.” ~  TruexCullins Blog

Aside from the living roof, another very cool item is  the  community-scale wind turbine with a blade diameter of 21 meters.  After working closely with the FAA to ensure it posed no risk of interfering with aircraft guidance signals, they were able to include it – the first at a U.S. airport.

The upper roof of the main hangar is also eco-friendly, covered with a highly reflective white membrane that reduces solar heat gain.  In  conjunction  with the  10-panel 65.2 MBtu solar thermal domestic hot water system and adjacent 120-panel 25.2 kW solar photovoltaic array, Heritage Aviation expects its annual energy consumption from the grid to be in the region of 600,000 kilowatt-hours instead of the one million kWh it would have consumed without the wind and solar power-generating equipment.

The property is open to visiting with prior arrangements.  For example, last fall 2011, students from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont  included a visit here in one of their Environmental Studies seminars, above and below:

TruexCullins wrote an nice 5-part series on the project at their blog entitled “Heritage Flight Week” – start at  Day 1.

“For 55 years, the National Guard used this hangar for aircraft maintenance.  Now that we’ve completely renovated it to green building standards, we’ll continue to use it for maintenance and FBO activities in support of the GA community.” ~  Christoper A. Hill, President of  Heritage Aviation

Watch the very informative  Heritage Aviation’s ‘smarter, greener building’ video (3:42) narrated by Christoper A. Hill on YouTube below:




Kudos to Heritage Aviation and designers for promoting a sustainable model for the aviation industry.  By the way, the bold geometric waves of the sedum greenroof are best seen from above, which is not hard to do when you’re located at an airport!

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!  Click  here to see more information about this project in  The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.  See how you can submit yours  here.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.