Denver International Airport Central Plant Upgrades
Best Project Airport/Transit
OWNER: Denver International Airport
LEAD DESIGN FIRM | MEP ENGINEER: Burns & McDonnell
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Hensel Phelps
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: SAN Engineering
ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: PK Electrical Inc.
Denver International Airport has grown from serving 33.1 million passengers a year to more than 69 million since its opening in 1995. As a result, it has outgrown many of its existing facilities, including the central utility plant (CUP), which is key to everything from baggage claim systems to food and concessions.
As the airport continues to undergo a large expansion, it was critical that the CUP improvements and upgrades take place concurrently to avoid disrupting airport operations. As the CUP upgrades kicked off, the team found corroded pipes that needed to be replaced as well as several other items affecting the overall design and budget. The team came together to implement changes to the design while remaining in alignment with the budget and scope.
To maintain CUP operations throughout construction, the team developed a phased and comprehensive schedule that accommodated seasonal load requirements and the limitations of existing equipment. Crews turned over the last two chillers to the airport three months ahead of the contract completion date. The new CUP features 20,000 tons of chilled water capacity, 214 MMBtu per hour of hot water capacity and an 8.97-million-sq-ft service area capability. The system supplies chilled and hot water to seven airport buildings while contributing significantly less to global warming. With the completion of the upgraded CUP, the airport now has the capacity to keep pace with other ongoing renovations and expansions, which include the addition of 39 new gates.
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