LAX Central Utility Plant Replacement

Providing Enhanced Passenger Comfort & Reliability
The new state-of-the-art Central Utility Plant will make our terminals more comfortable for travelers, while saving energy and safeguarding the environment. However, meeting the heating and cooling demands as we modernize the airport will be no small feat. The intricacies of this project are like performing open-heart surgery on a patient while they are running a marathon.
Roger Johnson, Deputy Executive Director - Airport Development, Los Angeles World Airports
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles World Airports
Gruen Associates
Additional collaborations with Gruen Associates:
Contract Value: 
75,000 Square Feet
Year Completed: 
LEED Gold (targeted)

The Central Utility Plant (CUP) Replacement project provides a modern, state-of-the-art, computer-managed utility plant for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). A design-build project, the new facility improves the reliability of utility service and helps the client enhance passenger comfort at LAX.

Clark, in a joint venture agreement, constructed the new 75,000 square-foot, steel-framed replacement CUP with a 20,000-ton cooling capacity. The team managed the installation of the associated equipment, such as a stand-by boiler, primary and secondary chilled water pumps, cooling towers, electrical systems and switchgear.

The project also included:

  • a new maintenance shop and offices;
  • an above-grade thermal energy storage (TES) tank with capacity for 1.6 million gallons of water and 15,500 ton-hours of cooling;
  • replacement of approximately 18 miles of pipe and duct bank;
  • installation of several miles of new distribution piping;
  • and the upgrade of pump rooms and air handling equipment in 21 different locations.

The existing CUP serviced the airport throughout construction. Upon completion, the new CUP was brought on-line and the old CUP was decommissioned and demolished by Clark.


Systems and their components for the new CUP are designed and constructed to achieve LEED Gold certification.

ENR California Best Project of the Year – Best Project, Energy/Industrial