Las Vegas Airport to Save about $5.4M in Annual Utility Costs

by | Aug 9, 2010

McCarran International Airport says energy efficiency is a priority as rate hikes approved by the Public Utilities Commissions have meant higher prices for commercial customers, reports Las Vegas Sun. As a result, the airport is tackling the Clark County Aviation Department’s electrical utility budget, which is $16.7 million systemwide in the 2009-10 fiscal year.

The airport plans to spend $26.9 million to make the building more energy efficient, which is projected to deliver a utility cost reduction of $5.4 million. Aviation Director Randall Walker told the newspaper at today’s rates, payback will be in five years.

The airport has a long-standing strategy to be more sustainable. As examples cited in the article, the main terminal has been using recycled carpets for years and features low-flow water fixtures in the restrooms, while the airport has a recycling program in place. The airport also removed grass around Terminal 1 for additional water savings.

The airport also has improved control over the air handlers that mix the inside and outside air within the terminals at existing buildings, reports Las Vegas Sun. Walker told the newspaper that new computers analyze which chillers are most or least efficient within the central utility plant to reduce energy costs.

The airport estimates its sustainability program will reduce carbon emissions by about 24,818 metric tons a year.

The airport’s new $2.4-billion Terminal 3, which will open in the summer of 2012, implements several energy-saving measures including low-energy use lights, glazing systems on windows and reflective surfaces on the roof to reduce heat that enters the buildings, and windows that are oriented to bring in more sunlight.

Terminal 3 also will feature a one-megawatt solar plant atop the garage and mounting clips on the terminal rooftop for future solar panels.

Other airports also are designing their new terminals to be sustainable from the start. As an example, the new Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport terminal uses 70 percent less water and 30 percent less energy than a traditional building.

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