LAX Commissions New $438M Central Utilities Plant

201400Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) opened its new 75,000 square foot, $438 million Central Utilities Plant (CUP).

The new LAX CUP replaces the 50-year-old existing CUP with a more modern and efficient facility. Considered the first sustainable utility plant at any US Airport, the LAX CUP is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification and will be about 25 percent more energy efficient than the former facility.

The CUP consists of three main architectural elements: a four-story building that contains the plant and staff offices, an above-ground cylindrical 1.5 million gallon thermal energy storage tank that rises nearly four stories, and a maintenance facility with workshops on the ground floor and cooling towers above.

Behind the metal and glass facade of the new CUP is 20,000 tons of cooling capacity to supply all nine LAX terminals. The cooling capacity is delivered by a plant that includes electric-driven centrifugal chillers, heat recovery boilers, primary and secondary chilled water pumps, cooling towers and thermal energy storage. An 8.4 MW cogeneration plant consists of gas-turbine-driven generators to provide electricity and the “waste” heat will be reused for heating and to power additional steam-driven chillers. The CUP has been designed to support future phases of the LAX multi-billion dollar Capital Improvement Program.

Photo of the Northwest Facade of the Central Plant Building | Credit: Teena Videriksen/Arup

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