Central Utilities Plant

Arup has delivered full architecture, engineering and commissioning services for the new $438m Central Utilities Plant (CUP) at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in the US.

The company provided the services for the new 75,000ft² LAX CUP as the engineer-of-record and lead consultant to the Clark / McCarthy joint venture.

Said to be the first major design / build project undertaken by Los Angeles, the new facility has been built by replacing the 50-year-old existing CUP.

The new design provided by Arup has saved $20m in capital costs to the airport, and is expected to save $7m each year in operating costs.

Expected to achieve LEED Gold certification, the sustainable utility plant LAX CUP will be about 25% more energy efficient compared to the earlier one.

Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA) executive director Gina Marie Lindsey said: "We knew from the start we selected the right project team for this project. We were able to keep the airport operating with minimal interruption to our traffic flow and will save money on both capital and operating costs.

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"Arup and the rest of the design / build team were able to deliver an innovative and cost-effective solution under budget."

The new facility comprises three main architectural elements, which include a four-storey building with the plant and staff offices, an above-ground cylindrical four-storey, a 1.5 million gallon thermal energy storage tank, and a maintenance facility.

"Arup and the rest of the design / build team were able to deliver an innovative and cost-effective solution under budget."

The central utility plant is said to serve the recently renovated and expanded Tom Bradley International Terminal, the remaining eight terminals, the Theme Building, as well as the East Administration Building.

Arup used 20,000t of cooling capacity to serve all nine LAX terminals for the new facility.

A plant with electric-driven centrifugal chillers, heat recovery boilers, primary and secondary chilled water pumps, cooling towers and thermal energy storage delivered the cooling capacity.

The new facility has been designed to support future phases of the LAX Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

Arup’s architecture, engineering and commissioning services for the LAX CUP include architecture in partnership with Gruen Associates, structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering, civil engineering and facade engineering.

The company also delivered services such as acoustic consulting, commissioning, lighting design and security consulting, among others.

Image: The northwest facade of the Central Plant Building. Photo: courtesy of Teena Videriksen/Arup