A 900-sq-ft parking lot separated the new control system from the rest of the airport facilities. Rather than tearing up the lot, however, Quark Communications integrated the two systems via the existing Ethernet connection at the plant.
The aviation technology and growing facilities of Lindbergh Field, San Diego International Airport, would surely amaze Charles Lindbergh. The airport, part of the Port of San Diego District, continues to expand and currently serves more than 14 million passengers with hundreds of daily flights year-round. Quark Communications Inc. (Cardiff, CA) recently deployed LonWorks networks from Echelon (San Jose, CA) to help the airport simplify hvac integration and to ensure a future of smooth expansion and cost savings.

The 1.5-million-sq-ft airport opened in 1934 and is comprised of three terminals and aircraft facilities. Most recently, the airport expanded Terminal Two by roughly 20%, to nearly 500,000 sq ft. "The airport was happy with their building system, but was looking to the future," explained Adam Guzik, president of Quark Communications Inc. "I think the airport was ready to explore newer technologies," he said. By deploying a LonWorks system, the airport could keep its existing Siemens (New York) system and realize substantial new benefits.

Bridging a 900-ft gap

Adapting to a legacy bas infrastructure wasn't the only challenge facing Quark Communications. The new system had to be linked with the rest of the airport facilities, which are 900 ft away, across the parking lot.

According to Guzik, there was no way of putting in new wiring due to the cost, distance, and the amount of traffic in the area. "However, we found that there was an existing computer network connecting with the remote central plant with fiber lines," said Guzik. Since the airport had chosen a LonWorks system, they could simply use the existing Ethernet connection at the plant. Just like that, the system was connected - no jackhammers, no construction signs, no traffic problems, and no new conduit.

On the hvac equipment level, Quark Communications installed several LonPoint(r) modules to monitor some of the points on an older AHU in a mechanical room in Terminal Two East. They also fitted the new Trane (LaCrosse, WI) AHUs and vav boxes in the new addition with Echelon's FTT - 10A free topology interface. With LonWorks networks and Quark's custom application, a single bas universe now serves the airport.

Access from anywhere

With the network installation completed in early 2001, the airport is already seeing big benefits like remote access to all buildings. "That was the biggest selling point for me," said John Kampe, maintenance supervisor, buildings section. "I'll be able to access the system from my office, about a mile and a half away from the airport. I can access it from anywhere in the port district if need be. Now, when I'm paged, I won't have to run over there constantly to fix something. It also makes it nice for my people who are on duty and on call."

If that wasn't enough, the system is also extremely easy to use, according to Guzik. "The airport is able to train their team on one network management software package. They are able to expand the LonWorks system with somebody else's hardware and keep the same training, the same tools, and the same network management applications."

Not only that, but, the cost savings are great. Already, LonWorks technology has made it possible to provide total bas control from the physical plant without the need for more wiring or the installation of software packages on client workstations.

In the long term, LonWorks is expected to reduce equipment costs as well as training time for personnel. Now, the airport is free to put bids out to several bas vendors instead of being locked into one. "As a public agency, that's an important thing," says Kampe. "It's hard to sole-source anything. We have to competitive bid, which is only right. We have to give everybody a fair chance at the money."

With the new system in place, new possibilities are emerging, such as integrating other building systems - hvac, fire, and security - into one front end. Kampe said that the port district's administration building is due for an upgrade and that LonWorks will be one of the contenders. Whatever the future at the airport, LonWorks technology is sure to be there. It's impressive, even if you're not Lindbergh.ES