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A sustainable future grows amid daily airport operations

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Written by: Alexa Stone
SLC Airport Future
Rendering provided by SLC

Last year was an exceptional year for Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC). The 23rd busiest airport in the United States saw approximately 370 daily scheduled commercial departures[1]. While supporting those flights,  SLC began construction on a new Central Utility Plant, Gateway Center, Parking Garage, Terminal, and the west side of the north and south concourses. Ground was broken on North Concourse-West.

Building The New SLC

In the midst of that construction, over 24 million passengers passed through SLC. Work on the $3.6 billion project began in 2014. The current phase, scheduled for 2020 completion, will yield 2 million square feet of terminal, gateway, and concourse facilities. A new Central Utility Plant (CUP) and enhanced baggage handling system will be added to the infrastructure[2].

Growing Resiliency

Their vision includes sustainability. SLC participates in Rocky Mountain Power’s Subscriber Solar program, reserving 858 blocks of a 20-megawatt solar plant to draw over 2 million kWh of clean energy. That would be about 4% of the airport’s total energy use.

The high efficiency, energy saving systems of The New SLC will upgrade 1960’s-era equipment. Progress toward the goal of reducing annual per-passenger energy use 10% by 2020 has already been documented. LED lighting upgrades in the SLC’s parking garage, roadways, and support facilities have saved 1.3 million kWh annually.

Designers now seek a “Roadmap to Net Zero”[3] in which the facility would generate as much power as it uses. Plans for the terminal complex include a solar array and charging stations for electric vehicles. Overall energy use is expected to be reduced by 30% and, consistent with Salt Lake City goals, the airport aspires to LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council[4].

The Airfield and Facilities Management Conference

SLC construction tour guideSLC plans shared

The Salt Lake City International Airport of today and tomorrow were featured at the recent Airfield and Facilities Management Conference. The event[5], organized by the Northwest Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) included a session on sustainability planning. Representing ecoPreserve at the conference as delegate, I was grateful for the updates on SLC’s plans and projects, and for the insights into construction safety and the ways autonomous vehicles may be used in airside operations.

The construction site tour[6] was another highlight. From ground level, we saw airport operations proceed while new terminals, parking and support facilities were being built. Engineers shared drawings of the new airport plan, rendered on a handheld device.

The conference provided three days of insights into aviation construction and facilities management and an airport’s sustainable future.

[1] Fast-facts about SLC
[2] SLC Sustainability
[3] Project highlights
[4] The New SLC
[5] Airfield and Facilities Management Conference (AFMC), August 5-7, 2018
[6] Airport tour at the AFMC