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‘Comfort Settings’ rollout begins this month at MSP

The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) begins rolling out its "Comfort Settings" at MSP Airport this month to decrease the airport's carbon footprint, reduce energy use and save money. The hope is that no one will notice.

The temperatures at Terminals 1 and 2 will range between 72 and 76 degrees F in the summer and 70 and 74 degrees F in the winter. It's estimated the initiative will save $480,000 per year over the next 40 years for a cumulative savings of $19 million.

Comfort settings are established temperature ranges in which most people feel comfortable, based on standards developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers.

The rollout begins this month in Concourses A, B and C, and is scheduled to roll out in Concourses D, E, F and G in July before moving to Terminal 2 in October and finishing up in MSP outbuildings and parking ramps in November and December. (See rollout schedule and an overview of the project.)

"Most people won't notice the change because we're programming our smart Building Automation System to reduce cooling and heating at MSP when fewer people are in the terminal – usually at night," said Jamie Chatelle, chief engineer with the MAC's Energy Management Center. "The system is designed to allow temperatures to fluctuate within those comfortable ranges to save energy."

Up until recently, temperatures at MSP were held steady throughout the day and night. Reducing cooling and heating when fewer people are in the terminals will lessen the chance anyone will notice the change, although there were no complaints during a pilot of the comfort settings.

Pilot project
Last year, the MAC piloted these settings for six months in three locations on the MSP campus with the following results:

  • $4,700 in savings in the C13-15 gate areas of Terminal 1
  • $470 in savings in the Main Food Court in Terminal 1
  • No savings at the MAC General Offices because the old building temperature control equipment was not compatible with smart settings, resulting in more energy being used at night. (The MAC intends to replace the General Offices building control equipment as part of a 2025 Capital Improvement Project and then implement the comfort settings there.)

Sustainability goals
The comfort settings rollout is part of the MAC's ongoing sustainability effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2030. The MAC is currently 37 percent of the way toward reaching that goal.

"It's estimated that adopting these comfort settings will account for about 5 percent of the reductions – about 1,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent each year – for us to reach that 80 percent goal," said Emmy Waldhart, the MAC's sustainability manager. "We're making great progress, and I want to thank everyone in the airport community for their help in reaching our sustainability goals."