El Dorado International Airport

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Combining New and Old

Integrated Facility Management Systems Keep New Airport Terminal Passengers Comfortable and Safe

Located in Colombia’s bustling capital city of Bogota, El Dorado International Airport is one of the world’s 50 busiest airports and an important gateway for trade in Latin America. It is Colombia’s largest airport, serving nearly 22 million passengers and handling 650,000 tons of cargo annually.

Since the facility originally opened in the 1950s, the airport has undergone numerous renovations and expansions. Growth in all traffic types led in 2011 to the start of a two-phase U.S. $1 billion expansion to create 36 gates, commercial and duty-free shopping areas, immigration facilities, offices and airport support spaces. A new international terminal (T2) opened in October 2012. An extension of that terminal, due for completion in July 2014, will handle domestic flights. When the project is finished the new El Dorado International Airport will be Latin America’s largest and most modern air transit facility.

Controlling Building Systems

Serving as the building systems integrator, Johnson Controls has installed its Metasys® building operation system to integrate a variety of T2’s environmental control, fire, access and CCTV systems, along with platforms such as baggage management, moving walkways, elevators and escalators. Metasys uses its IT-based infrastructure, software and wireless capabilities to ensure that every building subsystem works together as a cohesive unit. By bringing independent systems together, building automation leads directly to better performance and more intelligent energy use.

“Johnson Controls has provided us with the expertise and advanced building management and life safety and security solutions we needed to design, operate and maintain the type of facility we want to represent our country,” she said. “All Colombians can be proud of what we have accomplished and will continue to do here at El Dorado International”, said Piedad Gomez, director of technology for OPAIN, the airport management consortium."

Piedad Gomez, director of technology for OPAIN, the airport management consortium, said the integration of so many disparate systems was designed to help improve the passenger experience and make El Dorado International a true world-class airport.

“For many international passengers, El Dorado will be their first exposure to not only Colombia, but also South America,” she said. “We want our visitors to appreciate the high level of technology that’s being employed for the benefit of their comfort, convenience and safety. This terminal is a symbol of our country’s growing importance in the global economy, especially in the Americas.”

Two separate teams handle the airport’s building automation and security functions. From its operations center, the building management team uses Metasys to monitor and control systems such as heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting and baggage handling. By integrating the systems into Metasys, the airport was able to not only achieve state-of-the-art operational capabilities, but also add more value by adopting a complete and intelligent automation system that allowed the entire terminal to achieve high levels of efficiency and operability. With Metasys, airport personnel can monitor facilities in real time, 24X7 through user-friendly interfaces. Also, Metasys provides added control, event and energy management, data exchange and archiving, scheduling and systems communication to help ensure cost savings — better positioning Johnson Controls as a strategic partner for the airport.

Energy Efficiency

Piedad Gomez said the Metasys system allows airport staff to take control of many important operational functions, leading to a more energy efficient operation. “We place a very high priority on energy conservation at El Dorado,” she said. “Our goal is to reduce our energy use by eight percent annually. We do that by scheduling the HVAC system and others to turn off during low operation times. The Metasys system allows us to do that automatically, while also providing the constant data updates and systems controls that our staff requires to minimize our energy use, maintain operations and keep our equipment operating in peak condition,” she said.

Throughout the first phase of the project and continuing into phase two, the Johnson Controls team has been highly committed to achieving the airport’s continual goal of increased energy efficiency. When the HVAC systems were installed during phase one, the team chose YK York®-brand chillers with variable frequency speed drive (VSD) for high-efficiency operation. Also, three 475-ton YK units were installed along with seven YLAA chillers. A variable orifice on the YK units allows them to work in ambient temperatures down to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, a condition that frequently applies in Bogota. These elements play an important role in conserving energy.

Johnson Controls was also able to show airport administrators the performance and environmental advantages of using a more environmental-friendly refrigerant as opposed to another type traditionally used in Colombia. And Johnson Controls guided the airport to a less expensive air purification method that still met high performance standards.

Passenger Safety and Security

Passenger safety is a top concern for El Dorado International administrators and Johnson Controls. That can be seen in the integration of the Metasys system and the airport’s fire alarms. If a fire alarm is received, the Metasys system will instruct the HVAC system to shut off fans and evacuate smoke from affected areas to facilitate evacuations. When the emergency is resolved, the systems automatically return to normal operation.
Throughout the terminal, there are five intelligent fire alarm (IFP) control panels, 989 smoke detectors, 282 temperature heat detectors and two intelligent fire integrator (IFI) workstations that provide control of multi-vendor systems through the display of terminal maps and event locators.
That same level of detail has been placed on passenger and employee security. A separate team of security professionals is stationed in its own command center, where a Johnson Controls’ P2000 security management system integrates the access control, with 5000 card and biometric readers, and the CCTV system that include 676 cameras.

Peidad Gomez said she wanted an integrated security system that could meet today’s needs at El Dorado, while have the flexibility to grow with the airport. “We are constantly working to keep our passengers and employees as safe as possible,” she said. “The integrated Johnson Controls systems help us to meet that important goal. We can now detect and react to situations much more quickly. Plus the security system has the ability to grow and evolve as our needs change. That was a very important factor for us.”

Technology Contracting

Throughout this project, Johnson Controls has implemented a technology-contracting model that mitigates high initial costs, ensures quality and promotes innovation, while assuring integration between different disciplines, subsystems and technologies in the airport. 

Under the technology contracting model, Johnson Controls:

  • Serves as the customer’s single point of contact
  • Balances first and lifecycle costs
  • Eliminates system and infrastructure duplication
  • Converges individual systems into a technology solution
  • Guides implementation to maximize efficiency and cost effectiveness

Johnson Controls began its relationship with El Dorado International in 2008 when it secured a contract to provide (HVAC) equipment in an airport building housing Aerocivil, the Colombian government agency overseeing the country’s aviation industry. Johnson Controls also has its building automation equipment installed in the VIP lounge of Avianca, the carrier airline of Colombia and the longest continuously operating airline in the Western Hemisphere. Avianca operates from another terminal at El Dorado. 

Johnson Controls combined with its strategic partner, SITA, the world’s leading specialist in air transport communications and information technology, to win the contract for both phases of T2. SITA, which had previously worked at El Dorado International, has provided 15 solutions in the new terminal including the infrastructure to run 68 airline check-in counters, 30 gate workstations and 40 self-service kiosks for passenger check-in; a Wi-Fi network; a public address system; and visual information display monitors. Some of those functions, such as the public clocks located throughout the terminal, are integrated through the Metasys system.

Since beginning its work at T2 in 2011, Johnson Controls has been awarded a planned service agreement to maintain the building automation, fire and security systems. That requires up to 10 Johnson Controls technicians being onsite at any time. Johnson Controls, a global leader in providing solutions for building efficiency, has provided the solutions and services required to make El Dorado International’s T2 comfortable, efficient and safe for the millions of passengers passing through El Dorado International each year.Piedad Gomez said Johnson Controls has been a true strategic partner in helping to create the type of terminal she and her operating group envisioned.

“Johnson Controls has provided us with the expertise and advanced building management and life safety and security solutions we needed to design, operate and maintain the type of facility we want to represent our country,” she said. “All Colombians can be proud of what we have accomplished and will continue to do here at El Dorado International.”

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