Sacramento Airport Gets LEED-Silver, SMUD Installs 600,000 Smart Meters

Sacramento International Airport is now LEED-Silver certified, having finished a $1 billion terminal and 19-gate concourse.

The new Terminal B’s green features exceed California energy efficiency standards by 25% – it has a cool roof, expansive glass curtainwalls with solar shading, evaporative cooling for baggage areas, along with what’s become standard for green buildings: high efficiency HVAC and lighting, use of recycled materials, low-flow water devices, etc.

Careful attention was given to reuse and recycling materials during demolition and construction, including recycling wood and glass, copper piping and wiring, steel and concrete.

Dubbed "Big Build," the airport systems team and architects Corgan Associates and Fentress Architects (their second LEED Silver certified airport in California) worked closely with advisors from the local utility Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), an early leader in green practices. SMUD gave the airport a $150,000 rebate.

Terminal 2 at Oakland International Airport got LEED-Silver certification in 2010. It was the first US airport passenger terminal to receive the award.

The Rental Car Facility at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport also received LEED-Silver last month. In addition to the standard green efficiency features, 30% of construction materials are sourced regionally and have recycled content and 67% of wood is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.

LEED projects often recycle impressive amounts of construction waste these days – this project recycled 97%.

SMUD Completes Smart Meter Project

In related news, last month the utility finished installing smart meters for its more than 600,000 residential and business customers.

Started in late 2009, SMUD is one of a handful of US utilities to complete such a large deployment effort. The meters provide the foundation for a smart grid, which will enable 2-way digital communication with customers on energy use and choice of rates, identify outages faster as well as restore electricity through "self-healing" features.

Customers can now see their electricity use online and start and stop service remotely. Since meters are read automatically, fewer trucks are needed.

SMUD did an extensive pilot program before rolling the full one out to test the capability of the network and billing accuracy, which have been a source of complaints in other areas.

Because of that customer satisfaction levels are in the mid-90th percentile, according to ongoing surveys.

The US Department of Energy gave SMUD a $127.5 million Smart Grid Investment Grant to fund the meter installations and begin building the smart grid, which they’re in the process of doing.

SMUD says they envision a day when customers can reduce their energy use by pre-setting or remotely programming their preferences for thermostats, appliance use and electric vehicle charging. They will not only reduce their bills, but get a more reliable grid and more stable rates, especially during hot summer days when SMUD pays higher prices for purchased power.

The smart grid could save SMUD $8 million to $15 million a year in power supply costs, helping to avoid investments in new transmission projects or new generating plants.

SMUD is the sixth largest community-owned US utility and the first large California utility to source over 20% of its energy from renewable energy.

Last year, Google announced a partnership to acquire a portfolio of solar PV plants that serve SMUD, the first to be awarded as part of SMUD’s feed-in tariff program (FiT) introduced in January 2010. SMUD also contracted for 128 MW of wind.

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