Fortunately for the airport, the loss of revenue came at the same time Long's department was upgrading its building-automation system (BAS).
"We were very lucky to get the upgrade when we did," Long says. "It gave us a better ability to manage the energy in the closed areas. If (the loss of business) would have been prior to 2002, I don't think we had the capability within the existing system we had back then to do what we're doing. It was a tremendous help to us and also a lucky break that we were able to do it when we did it."
The airport built a new terminal in 1992, and those involved in the planning and design stages specified a BAS that integrated the HVAC and fire-alarm systems into the front end of the system.
But the technology Long and his department specified for the original BAS in 1992 was an established, tried-and-true system that had been around for years. Long knew he eventually would have to upgrade the system to meet cost-cutting objectives and energy-efficiency demands. The upgrade took place in 2002, just when the airport was experiencing a downturn in flights and revenue.
"The new system is much more user-friendly," says Len Boehm, an HVAC supervisor. "With the way the economy is, there's a downturn in having enough people to work to do our jobs. It made it much easier for us to be proactive in our approach, instead of reactive. We now have real-time information. We can trend items. We can see exactly where problem areas are, and we can attack those items."
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