PHX Ramps Up Energy Conservation Methods for Summer
With high temperatures rapidly approaching, many may be wondering what the Airport does to conserve energy and increase efficiency. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has several energy conservation programs in place year-round and ramps up its efforts during the grueling summer months.
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. Therefore, in the summer, the temperatures indoors range from 74-78 degrees. In the winter, Sky Harbor keeps indoor temperatures between 70 and 74.
During the summer when the outside temperature reaches 110 degrees or more, all thermostats and sensors are raised two degrees from 12-8 p.m. in order to conserve energy. In all public areas of the terminals and the Rental Car Center, there are temperature sensors, which ensure the indoor temperatures remain at 76 degrees in the summer and 72 degrees in the winter.
PHX Sky Harbor is not only concerned about saving energy in the terminals, but in all office spaces. In fact, Sky Harbor strives not to cool offices when no one is there and uses programmed thermostats to adjust temperatures up when a space is not occupied.
How does all of this impact passengers? It doesn’t. “We try to keep our passengers comfortable,” Jim Schroeder, Aviation Superintendent, said. In fact, passengers may or may not notice anything other than some dimmer lights when these methods are in place. These energy saving light reduction programs take place 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.
All reduced light levels conform to industry standards for minimum lighting. During times when there are extreme high temperatures, PHX Sky Harbor and Arizona Public Service work together on more drastic light reduction programs, while maintaining safe lighting levels in all areas. These programs are only implemented when APS notifies PHX Sky Harbor of the critical need to shed electric loads, and this action keeps the power company from having to purchase very expensive power from the power grid. 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.
PHX Sky Harbor also installed over 20 sun-tracking sky lights in Terminal 3 and the Facilities and Services building to provide a day lighting effect in certain areas. Artificial lighting, adjacent to these sky lights, is automatically controlled to make full benefit of the light available from the sun.
Other ways that PHX Sky Harbor Airport works to conserve energy is by purchasing Energy Star equipment which provides greater efficiency for air conditioners. The Airport also employs soft starts on moving walkways and escalators. This means escalators and moving walkways gradually turn on instead of quickly turning on and using more energy. Additionally, in areas with two escalators and moving walkways, one is turned off late at night. Lights and light fixtures have also been changed out for more energy efficient models. And lighting fixtures have been lowered in height in some cases resulting in less wattage usage.
New baggage conveyer belts were also installed in November 2008 which has helped to reduce friction, operating costs, noise emissions, and CO2 emissions. It has also resulted in a 30% reduction in energy consumption.
So what have all these energy conservation measures done for PHX Sky Harbor? For July-March Fiscal Year 2008-2009, there was a 7.2% energy savings. PHX Sky Harbor is currently on track to meet or exceed that for this fiscal year. Additionally, PHX Sky Harbor has received $229,000 in energy rebates from APS.
Overall, PHX Sky Harbor, America’s Friendliest Airport®, is working hard not only to provide passengers with an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience, but to reduce costs and conserve energy. For additional information, visit the Green Initiatives section of our website.
First posted: 6/7/2010