It’s no secret that U.S. aviation
infrastructure needs improvement
to meet future demands, and
that means upgrading existing
facilities and building new ones.
Whether implementing regular replacements
driven by life cycle, or undertaking more extensive
renovations, it’s important to use modern technology
to make old terminals smarter.
Consider two recent projects where modern
technology lowered operating costs for systems
in aging terminals.
LAX: UNIFYING MULTIPLE SYSTEMS
In late 2008, Los Angeles International Airport
(LAX) developed requirements and specifications
for a central utility plant (CUP) replacement project,
integrating existing HVAC controls in terminals
became a requirement for the CUP’s new front end.
This was no easy task, as existing legacy controls
were a hybrid of pneumatic and direct digital control
(DDC) from several different manufacturers. The front
end was obsolete and no longer supported by the
manufacturer, while the fire life safety (FLS) system
had been integrated with the HVAC system and would
need to be isolated.
The vision for the unification included installing a
building automation system (BAS) fiber backbone
throughout each terminal building and the new CUP.
The team determined that any new system would
be open protocol, nonproprietary and based on
BACnet™, a data communication protocol for BAS and
control networks. New control panels with BACnet™
controllers and Ethernet switches were installed
at strategic locations throughout each terminal to
allow for future upgrades and integration, laying the
technical foundation for a new state-of-the-art
future for LAX.
Installing a new fiber-optic network in the Central
Terminal Area (CTA) connected each terminal back to
the new CUP, on an isolated network. A new facility
monitoring and control system (FMCS) —
fully redundant with computer-based controls —
now monitors and controls the new, more efficient
and eco-friendly equipment in the new CUP. This new
system allows operators and maintenance personnel
to remotely monitor and diagnose the BAS in each
of the terminals and several CTA buildings. Existing
“legacy” controls were integrated by converting
the proprietary protocols into BACnet™ at each
terminal, and uses the new fiber network to provide
connectivity to the FMCS in the new CUP. All new
HVAC and BAS installations in the terminals at LAX
are required to be BACnet™-compatible and to be
integrated into the FMCS.
The new CUP has seven chillers, two boilers, and a
combined heat and power (CHP) plant consisting of
two turbine generators and two heat recovery steam
generators (HRSGs), all controlled by a balance-of-plant PLC system. The FMCS is capable of
significant expansion and there are plans to
eventually integrate additional systems into to
FMCS at LAX. Among them: lighting controls,
conveyance equipment and tenant metering.
BY Jim Rosick, PE, LEED AP, and Ross Truitt, PE
MAKING OLD TERMINALS SMARTER,
FROM LAX TO STL
A new central utility plant boosted efficiency at Los Angeles International Airport.