A Big Payoff for Saving Energy
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s energy conservation methods are paying off. In November, PHX Sky Harbor was presented with a $68,427 check from Comverge for energy saving measures as part of APS’ Peak Solutions Program.
So how exactly does PHX Sky Harbor work to conserve energy? There are several ways that are part of PHX Sky Harbor’s year-round efforts. First, temperature sensors and thermostats are programmed to match the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) temperature guidelines for offices and Airport terminals. This means that temperatures in the summer range from 74-78 degrees and in the winter 70-74 degrees. In the summer when temperatures reach a grueling 110 or more outside, all sensors and thermostats are raised two degrees from 12-8 p.m. in order to conserve energy.
Additionally, PHX Sky Harbor uses reduced lighting when these energy saving methods are in place. This means that light levels are slightly reduced in the main terminals, the adjacent parking garages, the East Economy Parking Garages, and the Rental Car Center. Lighting in the garage perimeter areas, and some of the core areas, is reduced during the daytime hours as part of this program, and when possible, light reduction is also performed in some of the areas during the nighttime hours. It is important to note though that these reduced light levels conform to industry standards for minimum lighting. And, during times when there are very high temperatures, PHX Sky Harbor works with APS on more drastic light reduction programs, while still maintaining safe lighting levels in all areas.
So do these measures impact travelers at Sky Harbor? Not at all says Deputy Aviation Director for Facilities and Services, Becky Gawin.
“These programs are implemented only when APS notifies us of the critical need to shed electric loads,” Gawin said. “It is a voluntary program that was designed to assist APS on days that are particularly challenging to the suppliers of electricity. This action keeps the power company from having to purchase very expensive power from the power grid.”
PHX Sky Harbor like other large customers of APS were asked if they would like to voluntarily participate and lower energy consumption on peak demand days and get paid for participating.
“There was no risk to the Airport and no fines or penalties were given if we couldn’t shed the power,” Gawin said.
Comverge was the company that managed the voluntary program. They spoke with customers, got their commitment, and managed the communication on peak demand days. Notification is given two hours in advance and all of the measures must be made within two hours of the notification. During this time, the chilled water set point is raised two degrees in all of the central plants (in all terminals and the Rental Car Center) and the thermostats and temperature sensors are raised by two degrees in all of the terminals, Rental Car Center, and office buildings.
“Sky Harbor shed its load by raising the temperature in the terminals two degrees and turning off lights in some areas,” Gawin said. “And that resulted in a big payoff.”
For more information on other Green Initiatives that PHX Sky Harbor has implement to save money as well as conserve energy, visit our Green Initiative section of the website.
First posted: 11/17/2010