The 75,000-sq-ft Central Utility Plant provides Los Angeles International Airport with a highly sustainable facility. The four-story, steel-framed structure meets LEED Gold standards and will save the airport an estimated $7 million in annual electrical and natural gas costs. It also provides power equivalent to what would be needed to supply 9,100 homes through electricity created by combustion turbine generators operating at peak capacity. Project officials say it is the first sustainable utility plant to be built at a U.S. airport.

Highlights of the design-build project include a 1.6-million-gallon, aboveground thermal-energy storage tank and an advanced maintenance building with shop areas and cooling towers. Crews installed an 8.4-MW cogeneration plant using combustion turbine generators along with standby gas boilers, pumps, centrifugal water chillers and other equipment. While assembling the hardware, the Clark/McCarthy team replaced about 18 miles of pipe and duct bank and placed several miles of new distribution piping throughout nearby airport terminals.

Working in and around one of the world’s busiest airports required contractors to work closely with the owner and carefully calculate the scheduling and sequencing of work activities to avoid interrupting airport operations. Service lines had to remain live at all times, requiring that commissioned plumbing, power and life safety systems operate from the new facility before demolition of the existing plant.

Central Utility Plant at Los Angeles International Airport

Los Angeles                                                  

Key Players
Los Angeles World Airports
Lead Design Firm/Engineer Arup Group
Contractor Clark/McCarthy, a Joint Venture
Architect Gruen Associates
Sustainability Consultant GREENFORM