LEDs Take Off at Airports


LEDs Take Off at Airports

Our nation’s nearly 3,000 airports in the Federal Aviation Administration system are some of the largest and most visible public users of energy. The enormous size and complexity of airport facilities provide an excellent opportunity for finding common solutions to complex problems, such as the negative environmental impact and increased operating expenses resulting from unnecessary energy use.
Airports are aggressively implementing “green” measures to save energy costs and to generate favorable impressions among travelers. One key to making day-to-day operations more energy efficient and sustainable is through the installation of exterior LED luminaires.
For example, the Columbia (SC) Metropolitan Airport (CAE) is much like a 2,600-acre city, with more than 50 agencies and businesses located on the airport property. Annually, the airport serves more than one million passengers and processes more than 168,000 tons of air cargo. With an operation of this magnitude, airport leadership and staff are on an ever-going mission to improve services and facilities while remaining good stewards of the environment.
The Richland-Lexington Airport District is undergoing a series of capital improvement projects at CAE designed to make the airport more energy efficient. Its program has been dubbed ECO project, with scheduled projects intended to enhance the airport’s commitment to the environment and its pledge to be economical by lowering energy costs and maximizing efficiency. (“ECO” stands for Enhanced Construction Opportunities.)
To that end, Francis Murray, CAE Manager of Planning and Development, determined that the metal-halide lighting fixtures installed in its three-level parking structure were not working toward the airport’s goals and that more efficient lighting technology was available.
Murray partnered with Bill Ropposch, Senior Electrical Engineer at Mead & Hunt, an architectural and engineering firm based in Madison, WI.
Together, they researched six manufacturers and 18 different lighting fixtures to find one that met specific requirements. Although in-field testing was not conducted, they did utilize computer-generated modeling to determine the best fixtures for CAE’s needs.
Murray’s list of specific requirements included the reuse of existing wiring and controls; maintaining the previous 12 foot-candles of illumination; and installing a fixture without glare that had a lens to provide up-light for better illumination on the garage’s flat white ceilings.
In a one-for-one replacement, 530 200W metal-halide fixtures were replaced with 530 108W LED luminaires. These are reducing the parking facility’s annual energy costs from $75,000 to $35,000, Murray said, with an estimated 48% reduction in energy consumption.
“The energy reduction and savings from the LED luminaires are outstanding,” Murray said. “Additionally, the light is much brighter and more uniform compared with the metal-halide fixtures.”
He also noted that before installation of the LED parking garage luminaires, the airport had a dedicated facilities person replacing and rehabbing the metal-halide fixtures daily. Murray now anticipates that the LED luminaires will be virtually maintenance-free, making a significant impact on the bottom line.
After SC Electric & Gas Company rebates of one-third the equipment cost, Columbia Metropolitan Airport expects to recoup its investment in these LED luminaires in three and a half years.

Contact Rich Stam, Southeast Regional Sales Manager at Kenall Manufacturing, at rstam@kenall.com.

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Rich Stam
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