The National Academies

ACRP 11-02/Task 01 [Completed]

Model for Improving Energy Use in U.S. Airport Facilities
[ ACRP 11-02 (Quick Response for Special Needs) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $150,000
Research Agency: Texas A&M University - Energy Systems Laboratory
Principal Investigator: Dr. W. Dan Turner, Director ESL
Effective Date: 3/1/2006
Completion Date: 7/1/2007
Comments: Results published as Research Results Digest 2.

Our nation's network of approximately 3,000 airports in the Federal Aviation Administration System and its physical infrastructure is one of the largest and most visible public users of energy in today's vibrant economy. Literally, tens of millions of domestic and international passengers pass through aviation terminals annually, making them one of the most visible community structures in America. The enormous size and complexity of airport facilities are fertile ground for finding common solutions to intricate problems such as the environmental impact and operating expenses from unnecessary energy use.

Many airports are also under extreme pressure to reduce air emissions from ground transportation and from fossil fuels. They are constantly seeking ways to grow sustainably within their local communities. To further complicate matters for airport managers who operate 24/7, 365 days a year; the rapidly escalating energy prices continue to be a major part of airport operating expense. Energy is most often the second largest operating expense, exceeded only by personnel. Airport facility managers must also constantly strive to reduce operating costs to help lower the bottom line for their airline tenants who have all been on the verge of bankruptcy, with rare exception, since 9/11.

The good news is that energy is a very controllable operating expense through the more efficient use of lighting, heating, cooling, people movers, ground transportation, and other airline operations. By prudent, energy efficiency investments and optimizing operations, airports can readily reduce operating costs from 10% to 30% annually. For example, an energy assessment and "Continuous Commissioning (CC)®" of the new central rental car facility at DFW Airport in 2005 has resulted in a metered 20% reduction in energy use. The practical solutions to improving airport efficiency are easily documented and can be replicated through the dissemination of "Best Practices". Providing a model document for use by facility managers, their contractors, and designers is an ideal way to make a significant impact in the way energy is used within the U.S. airport systems and to lessen both their environmental impact and operational cost.

Efficient airport operations and energy use are also key to environmental stewardship. By developing and encouraging the widespread use of energy management "Best Practices", airport managers can significantly reduce operating costs and reduce the impacts on environmental compliance while providing a very visible example for communities and others to follow.

The objective of this task was to demonstrate the potential for energy savings in U.S. airports by conducting a study of Terminals B and D at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport regarding Operations and Maintenance (O&M), commissioning of energy consuming systems, and energy conservation retrofit measures. This objective was accomplished by conducting airport surveys, engineering analysis and producing a model energy report and informational brochure that focuses on pro-typical operations, building commissioning, and energy conservation retrofits opportunities.

Status: Completed.  This task was published as ACRP Research Results Digest 2 and can be found at this URL https://www.trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id=8265.

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