Honolulu International accommodates world travelers throughout all hours of the day, unlike most United States airports that are fairly quiet in the dead of night. Even though this airport is open 24 hours a day, gate and baggage claim areas are used just eight hours a day on average. Until recently, these areas were lit and air conditioned around the clock because the airport wanted to ensure a comfortable environment for its visitors.

Constructed in 1964, Honolulu International Airport (Honolulu, HI) serves 24 million passengers and 31 airlines at 34 gates yearly. It is a major destination for flights carrying travelers across continents, as well as visitors to all of the Hawaiian Islands.

Electricity costs in Hawaii are among the highest in the nation because the state relies on imported oil. Because of concern over spiraling energy and operating expenses, Honolulu International wanted to retrofit its hvac system and accomplish three things: provide a comfortable environment for all passengers arriving/departing throughout the day while lowering the airport’s energy and operating expenses; consolidate monitoring and control systems for fire alarms, exterior lighting, and landscape irrigation; and completely integrate flight information displays promptly without disruption to airport operations.

The airport turned to Johnson Controls to find a viable solution and is now one of the few airports in the world with occupant comfort systems tied to flight arrivals and departures.

The solution that Johnson Controls came up with was to integrate the airport’s central flight information display system into the Metasys® building automation system (bas).

Information is sent to the Metasys system 30 minutes prior to flight arrival, which automatically lights the space and cools the area to a comfortable temperature.

Thirty minutes after arrival, the bas automatically turns off the lighting and cooling equipment. For departing flights, the gate areas are lit and cooled one hour before departure and turned off 30 minutes after. Approximately 500 sensor points in the gate and baggage claim areas are involved. If a flight happens to arrive without being properly entered into the flight information display system, the system can be manually overridden to provide the necessary comfort for passengers and staff.

The integration was completed in just four and one-half months with no interruptions to operations.

Latest In A Long Line Of Successes

The flight information display project is just the latest success in the partnership between Johnson Controls and Honolulu International, which dates back to 1985, when air-handler controls were converted from pneumatic to digital. The system was later expanded to include lighting controls. The upgrade to the Metasys system in 1996 allowed integration of chillers and added timed digital controls to the landscape irrigation system and exterior lighting. The airport’s fire alarm system is also integrated, centralizing the activity of twelve alarm panels throughout the airport to a single graphic display indicating alarm status and service intervals. These projects not only save energy, but produce operational savings by automating previously manual tasks.

Mechanical engineer Herb Ishida verifies that the airport’s flight information display system is giving accurate signals to the Metasys system. This integrated solution allows lights and air conditioning systems to be activated in terminal baggage carousels and gate areas only when those areas are being used.

A $315,000 investment has saved Honolulu International Airport more than $1 million a year in electricity costs. Additional benefits include extended equipment life and reduced maintenance costs since the chillers and lighting systems serving gates and baggage claim areas are being used less frequently.

Johnson Controls also provided training to airport personnel on the systems. “The savings will lower our operating budget and enable us to undertake other worthwhile projects,” says Ishida. “Our goal is to run the airport more efficiently by keeping operating costs down. At the same time, we have to make improvements to satisfy airport customers.” ES