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The new passenger terminal at Portsmouth International Port finally opens today (1st April 2011).
It's thought as many as 2 million people will use it in the next year.
Passengers will find a full-height concourse containing check-in desks and the arrival/departure area. On a mezzanine floor is the bar/café, with views over the concourse and an observation balcony overlooking the Port.
New drop-off areas and roads will improve access to and from the terminal, which has a modern glass and stone façade and room for 2,400 passengers.
It also uses the latest ‘eco-friendly’ technologies to have minimum impact on the environment and is the first public building in the country to be heated and cooled using thermal energy from seawater, dramatically reducing its carbon footprint and using only 20% of the energy of a traditional boiler/chiller system. Seawater also flushes the toilets, drastically cutting water consumption.
‘Windcatchers’ on the roof are used for natural ventilation, reducing the need for costly mechanical air-conditioning. Higher wind speeds on the coast allow the system to supply and extract air to and from the terminal.
Thanks to its sustainable features, the building is designed to achieve a minimum BREEAM (an international benchmark) rating of 'very good', with the aspiration of achieving 'excellent'.