Recent airport designs are bigger and much more efficient, based on a look at recent projects in Mexico City, London, and China.
The Mexico City airport is expected to serve 50 million people a year with a design emphasizing energy efficiency. Gate locations will be spaced to make for easy walking, and the roof will include solar technology. There will also be an on-site energy plant that will collect, treat, and recycle rainwater.
Beijing Capital International Airport's Terminal 3 has a dragon-like design focused on efficiency, sustainability, and natural light. Skylights built into the soaring roof maximize morning sun. Connections between terminals take two minutes in a train that travels at 80 miles per hour, and the heating and cooling system is highly efficient.
London's Terminal 2 is the world's first BREEAM-certified airport project. It includes a number of features that reduce CO2 emissions, boost water efficiency, and a sophisticated lighting control system. The terminal is aiming to be recycling or composting 70% of its waste by 2020.