18:42 PM

Central Utility Plant: The little-known project that will have a huge impact

You’ve heard the plans for the new SkyCenter development area. You’ve viewed renderings for the express curbsides. And you’ve seen what’s left of the old Red Side Rental Car Garage after the recent implosion.

But one of the most exciting Master Plan Phase 2 projects is one you probably haven’t heard all that much about: The state-of-the-art Central Utility Plant.

The 10,000-square-foot building is quietly becoming a centerpiece of the expansion, featuring greater efficiency and a striking architectural design.

“This facility will be a beautiful addition to the campus architecture and will improve our sustainable footprint while allowing us to provide exceptional service to our passengers and tenants,” said Paul Ridgeway, TPA’s Director of Maintenance.

First, the basics.

The Central Utility Plant will be home to the heating and air conditioning for the Main Terminal and the Main Terminal SkyConnect station. The current home, located in the Administration Building, is set to be demolished to make way for the new Red Side vertical circulation building and express curbsides.

The utility plant will be housed in a large, curved building just to the east of the FAA tower. As guests exit the red curbsides, they will be able to look inside the building’s large glass windows and see a maze of brightly colored pipes and mechanical equipment. The building will be wrapped in metal cladding the exterior will be lit at night with multicolored LED lighting to highlight the unique look.

“I think it’s great that we are showcasing elements of the facility that we used to do our best to conceal. The CUP will be a work of art, inside and out," said Nick D'Jimas, TPA's Senior Manager of Plant & Utilities. “Beyond that, it will improve our efficiency, reducing our water consumption, energy consumption and giving us better insights into how we use our energy and how we can improve that usage.”

The new utility plant will bring a variety of enhancements.

  • Maximum efficiency: TPA expects to reduce chiller plant energy consumption by 30 percent compared to today.
  • Less water: Designed to operate on reclaimed water, the system will save 8 million gallons of potable water per year.
  • Greater capacity: The overall capacity will increase from 3,600 tons to 4,800 tons, providing additional redundancy to meet peak demand.

Start of construction on the new facility is slated for early 2020. The structure will start going vertical in the spring of that year, and the building is expected to be completed by summer 2021.