Sky Harbor Focuses on Saving Energy
Summer is here, and now more than ever, America’s Friendliest Airport® is working to save energy. Did you know that Phoenix Sky Harbor participates in the Arizona Public Service (APS) Peak Solutions Program? In fact, as part of this participation, PHX Sky Harbor received a check last November for $68,427 that went into the Airport’s general fund.
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 to 78 degrees and in the winter 70 to 74 degrees. During the summer when temperatures reach a grueling 110 degrees or more outside, all sensors and thermostats are raised two degrees from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. in order to conserve energy.
PHX Sky Harbor also 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 is the company that manages the voluntary program. They speak with customers and manage 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.
Additionally, the PHX Sky Train™ set to open in early 2013 has applied to participate in the APS rebate program. The PHX Sky Train will be an electrically-powered train system with multiple stations, and therefore, has extensive electrical needs. Many of the same efficient mechanical and electrical systems that have been included in the PHX Sky Train design in order to achieve LEED certification are part of the APS rebate program.
“While these investments in decreased power consumption may carry a small premium initially, the pay-back happens very quickly in the form of lower power bills,” said Special Projects Administrator Jay Dewitt. “The APS program also promotes sustainability.”
For more information on other Green Initiatives that PHX Sky Harbor has implemented to save money as well as conserve energy, visit our Green Initiatives section of the website.
First posted: 7/22/2011