New Central Utility Plant takes cooling and heating at TPA into the future
You’ve heard of the Blue Express Curbsides and public art that has hit the Main Terminal this year – both components of Phase 2 of TPA’s Master Plan. But you may not know much about another recently completed project with a big impact: a 10,000-square-foot Central Utility Plant which has quietly become a centerpiece of the Phase 2 expansion, featuring greater efficiency and a striking architectural design.
The Central Utility Plant is home to the heating and air conditioning for the Main Terminal and the Main Terminal SkyConnect station. The previous home was located in the Administration Building and is set to be demolished to make way for the new Red Side vertical circulation building and express curbsides.
The utility plant is housed in a large, curved building just to the east of the FAA tower. As guests exit the red curbsides, they can look inside the building’s large glass windows and see a maze of brightly colored pipes and mechanical equipment. The building is wrapped in metal cladding the exterior will be lit at night with multicolored LED lighting to highlight the unique look.
The project took a little more than 2 and a half years to build and cost $46 million.
“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 brings a variety of enhancements:
- 30 percent more efficiency, removing the equivalent of about 620 vehicles off the road each year in carbon dioxide emissions.
- Saves 25 million gallons of water per year through the use of reclaimed water.
- Increased overall capacity by about 33 percent
- New heat recovery chiller that reduces demand on the boilers and overall natural gas consumption
The new plant was officially activated on Dec. 27 and will house all heating and air conditioning for the Main Terminal.