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Nicole Hall
Senior Communications Specialist

T: 619.400.2859
M: 858.531.2863

After hours and weekends please email or call the Airport Communications Center at 858.531.2863

San Diego International Airport earns LEED Gold certification for consolidated Rental Car Center

Monday, February 27, 2017

SAN DIEGO – February 27, 2017 – San Diego International Airport (SAN) has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for its consolidated Rental Car Center from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED certification is considered the industry standard in defining and measuring “green,” sustainable construction.

The $316 million Rental Car Center opened in January 2016. The 2-million-square-foot facility houses most of the rental car companies serving the airport, including national brands, as well as local, independent and small business rental car companies, in one central location off Pacific Highway.

“We’re excited to add the Rental Car Center to the airport’s growing list of LEED certified buildings, further demonstrating our commitment to sustainable building practices,” said Thella F. Bowens, President/CEO of the Airport Authority. “By having the rental car companies in one consolidated facility we can provide a better customer experience, all while maximizing the airport’s 661-acre footprint in a sustainable way.”

“The work of innovative building projects such as San Diego International Airport’s Rental Car Center is a fundamental driving force in transforming the way buildings are built, designed and operated,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “Buildings that achieve LEED certification are lowering carbon emissions, creating a healthier environment and reducing operating costs while prioritizing sustainable practices.”

Sustainability was a key goal of the project. The Rental Car Center was designed and built with sustainable strategies to achieve LEED certification. As a 24-hour, 365-day-a-year operation, the lighting was designed to be energy efficient by reducing lighting levels in some areas during off-peak times. The facility’s energy efficient design also earned a $150,000 incentive from San Diego Gas & Electric by achieving an annual energy savings of over 2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) – equivalent to powering more than 300 homes for a full year.

Featuring 15 car wash bays, utilizing resourceful water collection and reuse methods were important components to the project. The facility reclaims 85–90 percent of the water used onsite, and 7 bio-swale areas collect rainwater and run-off, preventing either from reaching San Diego Bay. Aesthetically, landscaping around the facility is climate and site appropriate, drought tolerant and low maintenance.

The facility’s convenient location off Pacific Highway means that virtually all rental car traffic (vehicles and shuttle buses) is removed from Harbor Drive, reducing total traffic volume by 15 percent. Use of 25 SAN-owned, alternate-fuel buses along a dedicated, on-airport roadway helps to reduce GHG emissions.

Among the numerous contractors and designers who worked on the Rental Car Center are Austin|Sundt Joint Venture, Demattei Wong Architecture, Kimley-Horn, AECOM, WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff and  KTU+A. 

Jerry Vestal, Senior Project Manager for Austin|Sundt Joint Venture, said, “Austin|Sundt is proud of the recent LEED Gold certification of San Diego International Airport’s consolidated Rental Car Center that implements state-of-the-art sustainable strategies. The project features reclaimed water and site bio-swale filters, energy efficient equipment and lighting, and the installation of regional and recycled materials. The facility’s environmental benefits help strengthen the airport’s role as a regional environmental leader by consolidating and reducing energy and water use through shared facilities. The sustainable techniques utilized in design and construction greatly influenced the success of this project.” 

The Rental Car Center’s LEED certification builds on San Diego International Airport’s already robust sustainability efforts. The airport was the first in the U.S. to establish a sustainability policy, the first to publish a sustainability report adhering to Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards and became the first airport to sign the U.S. Climate Declaration, calling for action on climate change.

For more information about the Rental Car Center, visit For more on the airport’s overall sustainability efforts, visit For more information on LEED, visit


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